Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vintage Dealer Interview = Lavender Carriage House

Good evening everyone. I hope you've all had a great weekend. It was beautiful here in Atlanta, GA. I was able to get out and do a tiny bit of junkin which always makes this gal happy. While I was out picking I met another vintage dealer. I enjoyed chatting with Evelyn from Sarasota. It was interesting to see what is selling and not selling in her area. Speaking of vintage dealers...it has been too long since we shared one. Things got in the way. Life happened and well, you know. So today we are back at it and talking with Beth Nelson of Lavender Carriage House. Beth's booth is located at Queen of Hearts Antique Store in Alpharetta, GA. I LOVE this store. I wish I could visit more often. 



1. How long have you been a vintage dealer? 3 1/2 years

2. What type of setting are you in? An Antique and Interior Shop

3. How many booths do you have? One

4. What size booth/s do you have? 8x11

5. What do you sell? A Variety, notice I said Variety and that's so I can reach a broader group of customers. I sell painted furniture along with early 1900 pieces of original finish furniture. I do smalls and medium sized items. Those are the impulse items and I really rely on those for what I call my profit. The furniture pays rent and fees. Mirrors do well along with Vintage vanity items. I keep art on walls to catch eyes.

6. What do you find sells the most in your booth?  Figurines of dogs, perfume bottles, mirrors, pairs of almost anything as in lamps and chairs.

7. What do find sells the least in your booth? Larger pieces of furniture.

8. Why do you think your booth has been successful? I strive to keep variety and I really have to buy where I can triple my investment. I occasionally will accept a 2-2.5 times if its a really cool item, and it will draw in customers.

9. How often do you refresh your booth? Weekly. More often if furniture has sold,I never want to leave a hole. I aim to take on a minimum of 1 to 3 items each week to add new interest.

10.  What mistakes have you made and learned from as dealer? Paid to much for an item didn't do my homework on comparison.

11. What advice do you have for someone just starting out? Shop the area antique malls to get a flavor of what people are seeing. Buy what you like it's so much easier to put together vignettes and you Enjoy the work. Passion truly comes thru in your booth space. People are attracted to organized displays. You must be scanning  pinterest for ideas to use  to make your own. Our customers are looking so we better be.

12. What do you think the number one mistake is that unsuccessful dealers make?  Buy items they are not knowledgeable about, things that are not in condition they should be for age. Pay too much or neglect what it will cost to upcycle such as the knobs they can add up quick and take a dent in profit.

13. Do you do this for a living, part time or as a hobby?  In the beginning my goal was to have a hobby that pays for itself meaning cover rent and materials. It never occurred to me as a beginner I wouldnt. I can say in 3.5 yrs only one time I had to pay 40.00 of a 100.00 month rent., my very 1st month of my 1st (not so full booth) But that drove me that this was going to be successful and be able to have as having positive income, meaning I need to make some money at this too. All of course while having fun and meeting wonderful people.

14. Do you stick to a specific color scheme with your booth? No, I try to blend to make it interesting by grouping like colors families together. When I'm hunting I keep in mind what I have already. Its amazing but you will be drawn to be on lookout for current stock.

15. Do you utilize social media, and if so, which ones work best? My Antique Mall has a website that is very active and offers Friday Features we can submit item for highlight.Facebook.

16. What is an average month in sales for your booth? 500 to 650

17. How do you break down and come up with your prices? Goal is to triple sometimes you can do better, the smaller items I can usually do better.

18. Do you price your items with even, odd or somewhere in the middle? I avoid rounded dollars. Instead of 150.00 I'll do 149.00

19. Do you change your booth out to reflect the season and or holidays? Yes, some holiday seasons more than others. But always the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. This business is to have fun too and it always re energizes you to be more creative.

20. Do you swap out stale merchandise or do you reduce it for a fast sale? Both.

21. Do you think booth location is important?  Yes. I have never been in a rear or basement or upstairs. In 3 malls I've always been in middle not necessarily center aisle mall and I've been very pleased.

22. Do you use any kind of inventory software for your personal use? Spreadsheets.

23. Do you market your booth/s outside social media? If conversation leads to it I always mention what mall and location I'm in. 

25. Do you sell online too? If so which venue do you use -Ebay/Etsy/Other? No I do not sell online. No I do not sell online.

26. Would you like to own your own store someday? Yes, a goal is for when my sister gets to move to Georgia to have a small shop. Benefit is both our husbands are handy and we have full support. 

27. Do you ever participate in barn sales or pop up sales? If so, how many a year? I've only participated in one pop up sale and I found people were wanting garage sale prices. So I'd rather put my effort into keeping my booth at tops!!!

28. Where do you find your vintage goods? Everywhere.... literally even when I go on vacation and different cities.  In not picky.




I hope you all enjoyed Beth's interview. Thank you, Beth for taking the time to share all this great info with all of us. Wishing you continued success with your booth for the future. Be sure to stop back by next Sunday for another great dealer interview. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

New Life for Old Dresser Drawers

I am kicking myself right now. I know of at least two dressers I have tossed out because they weren't worth fixing up. I should have saved those old drawers. Check out all these inspiring ways to use them as displays. I think these would look fantastic in a booth. In case you missed the album I shared last for for old drawers you can click here to see it.



Image Via: TMTOMH

I love this next idea for outdoor shows or barn sales. You could build a faux wall with windows and add the drawers for window boxes. I could see putting old china plates in here or other vintage wares.  

Image via: Kammy's Corner


Image via: Rustic Pig Designs

Via: HGTV


Image via: Shades of Grey

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wholesale Resources

I started a FB post on this topic last April. Some of our vendors were kind enough to share some their favorite companies. To read that FB post click here  Then I lost the post so we started a 2nd one on 08/10/15. You can click here to read the 2nd one. Thankfully I located the first one and have merged them together and added additional companies as well. Please note this is an incomplete list and will be updated as new resources become available. 


BAGS, BOXES & TISSUE PAPER

Paper Mart (Orange, CA)

Uline Packaging (Pleasant Prairie, WI)

Oriental Trading (Omaha, NE)

The Packaging Source  (Kernersville, NC)


CANDLES & SOAPS

Antique Candle Works

Oregon Soap Company (Portland, OR)

Soaptopia (Los Angeles, CA)

Southern Firefly Candle Company (Brentwood, TN)

Swan Creek Candle Co.

Sweet Wick Candle Company


CLOTHING, JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES

Attagirl Creations

Blu Pepper (Los Angeles, CA) 

Dang Chicks (Atlanta, GA)

Good Stuff Apparel

Judith March (Panama City Beach, FL)

Natural Life (Ponte Verda, FL)

Rose Gal Clothing

Sosie Designs (CA)

The Jewelry Junkie (Mansfield, TX)


FLORALS & GREENERY 


Purple Haze Lavendar

Reeves Wholesale Floral Products (Woodstock, GA)

Sullivans


HOME DECOR & GIFTS

225 Unlimited, Inc.  (Atlanta, GA)

A&B Home (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

Atlanta Gift Mart  (Atlanta, GA)

Carson Home Accents 

Creative Co Op (Memphis, TN)


CTW Home Collection 


CWI Gifts (Groveport, OH)

Demdaco 


Desperate.com

Farmhouse Wares  (Whately, MA)

Fishes Eddy (New York, NY)

Home Trendz, LLC (Marietta, GA)

Import Collections (Atlanta, GA)

International Wholesale Gifts & Collectibles

Koehler Home Decor (Portland, OR)


Natural Life (Jacksonville, FL)

Ohio Wholesale (Seville, OH)

Pine Creek (Orlando, FL)

Peacock Park Designs (Fenton, MI)


Primitives by Kathy (Lancaster, PA)

Ragon House (Bolivar, OH)

Raz Imports (Arlington, TX)


Red and White Kitchen  


River of Goods

Two's Company  (Elmsford, NY)



KNOBS & HARDWARE

Rustic Brands (Acworth, GA)

Midway Sales  (Antique reproduction and garden items such as planters, arbors)
531 Co Rd 457, 
Heflin, AL 36264

256-748-4488

Rhyne & Son, Inc. (Ringgold, GA)

The Texas General Store  


PRIMITIVES

Kim's Primitives

KP Home Collection 

Mulberry Home (Blue Ball, PA)

Primitives Wholesale Market

STORE FIXTURES

Store Supply

Stamps Store Fixtures


MISC INFO & TIPS

*Etsy is a great resource for handmade items and many of the sellers offer wholesale. 

*While I'm not a big fan of Hobby Lobby, they do offer a large selection of knobs and every other week the hardware is 50% off. 

*Dollar Tree Direct is a division of Dollar Tree that was created to serve the needs of small businesses and organizations, just like yours, who want to purchase Dollar Tree products in larger quantities.





Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why Does My Antique Booth Suck?


Yep! You read the title correctly. This blog post is all about assessing your booth. Have you found yourself asking:

Is it my merchandise? 
Is it my mall/store location? 
Is it my staging?
Is it my pricing? 

One of the most asked questions I get is: Why am I not making any money? This question is usually followed by: When should I throw in the towel? I shared the first question on our Facebook page earlier this year. Our dealers provided us with some very insightful feedback which I will share below.

But before I get started, I just want to say I have had booths in smaller boutique - like settings and in big antique malls. There have been times in both situations where I have done great or I didn't make rent at all. During the times I barely covered or didn't make rent, I had a mental checklist I went over in my head. Here are some of the questions I would ask myself:




BOOTH & INVENTORY: 

Is your booth clean? Is it warm and inviting? Is the pathway clear and easily accessible for wheelchairs? I have passed up many booths because there were so many things cluttering the walkway I couldn't maneuver without feeling like I was going to trip over something. Or everything was so jammed together I felt like if I moved the wrong way I would break something. I usually avoid those type booths. 

Some questions to ask yourself concerning inventory are: Do I have desirable merchandise? Do I have a variety? I think the more variety you have to offer the better your sales are going to be. I always try to have furniture, both vintage and painted, as well as smalls. 

If you are uncertain about your inventory you might want to spend some time at your store or booth and see what other dealers are selling. You could also talk to the store manager or owner and seek advice from them. Once you have established you have some good junk then try your best to work your booth at least once or twice a week. I understand not everyone can devote this kind of time to a booth. I know there have been times I could barely work mine twice a month. But I found the more I worked it, the more sales I made.

I always try to take new inventory in once a week. On those occasions I don't have new inventory, I still go in to clean and fluff and check for missing price tags. Little things like this seem to help. But regardless of whether my sales are soaring or plummeting I always rearrange my booth once a month. That way things always look fresh. You might not have anything new, but to the customer you have a booth full of new things. So shake it up a bit, move things around. If my inventory is still sitting around three months later I usually mark it down or pull it out of the store and bring it back at a later date. 

STORE/MALL LOCATION: 


The first three things to consider when renting a booth are of course, location, location, location. Hopefully you have already done your homework before signing the lease. But if you find your sales suffering after a few months you might want to examine the location of your booth within the store. There again, talk to the owner or manager. Sometimes a backroom, downstairs or upstairs is not the best place to be. So ask if there is a better location you can move to. 


DISPLAYING/STAGING: 

Displaying merchandise is so important. I can't stress this one enough. I have been doing the antique booth scene for more 20 years. At one time, I had my own store in Blue Ridge, GA. As long as I have been doing this, I still struggle with creative displays. I feel like I have a good eye, but pulling it all together can sometimes  be a daunting task. With that said, I have gotten better over the years.  

Set aside some time to walk around different stores and see which booths pull you in. Take mental note or better yet, take a photo and study it. What do you like about it? Ask yourself how you could incorporate those ideas into your space. Do the same with your booth. Take a photo. Sometimes looking at the big picture can help you identify your weak spots. 

If you still find yourself struggling with this, seek out the guidance of a friend. There are people out there who do this for a living. You might want want to hire one or get their advice. 

PRICING:

One of the last questions to ask yourself is: Are my prices reasonable? Walk around your store and look to see what your fellow dealers are selling similar items for. Check around other stores in town. Ask your store owner or manager for advice. You can have the most beautiful booth in the store, but if your prices are too high, then chances are  you are shooting yourself in the foot. 

Speaking of prices...Do you have price tags on all your items? This is one of my pet peeves. I seem to have a knack for picking out items with no price tag. I no longer ask how much an item is, I just keep moving. It has to be something I'm really interested in before I take the time to go ask someone. 

So ALWAYS make sure your items have been priced. You don't want to possibly miss a sale for this reason. Sometimes tags fall off or they are removed. So always double check when you can. 

What is even more irritating is picking up an item and the thrift store crayon price is still on the bottom. Ugh!! I raise my hand in shame. I, too have been guilty of this one. 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. I am certainly no expert in this industry, but the things I have mentioned here have helped me and I hope they can help you as well. I'm going to share some quotes from some of our dealers below. We had a lot of feedback on this topic, so I can't share everyone's comment, but if you scroll down to Jan. 7, 2016 on our FB page you can read what everyone had to  say. 

The Vintage Farmstead We are fairly new to the business of antique booth owning. I learned from an auction house that 3 things are important. : Product, Price, and Personality. Another dealer who has been in the Antique Mall that we are in,( who has been there and sustainable for the past 10 years now), said he moves things around once a week to get sales. And I have noticed that when I am working on our booth, adding and re-merchandising, folks walk in to talk with me and have actually taken items right out of my hand to purchase! Items that have been there for 3 months already. Normally I try and walk away from my space if people are coming by to look. I don't want to be in their way or hover. Yet, some shoppers like to chat with me and then end up buying things as we talk! ( the personality part that goes along with it all, I suppose). I do get tired of my things that have been hanging around too long. So I take them out or really rearrange to freshen up. I love doing displays and merchandising and I love to get ideas on decorating from other vendors! And being new to the biz, I work a few days a month for one of the vintage shops that I have another space in. Helps me to meet my rent, get to know who the customers are and to develop relationships with. I really love it all. 


Cindy S Center: I am the manager of a very large antique store ( 22 thousand square feet ) the dealers that don't sell well have high prices.. People don't care what your booth looks like, and the will dig through dealers booths.. I find it is ALWAYS the pricing ..
Just my opinion of course ..

Julianne Blandford: I agree with most of what everyone else has said. Another suggestion - If your shop/ mall allows vendors to work the desk, I would recommend doing it at least once per month. It's a good way to see what customers are buying from other vendors and it gives you a chance to interact with the customers.

Cindy BaileyI have found that location within the mall will help.. But what helps me the most is to have a clean, organized, not too much stuff in the booth, and rotate the inventory. I have never had to pay rent, but if you don't have at least one or two higher priced sales, it is hard to make rent. so I have at least two items with higher prices, then the small stuff I put around those items, or on a shelving unit. If an item does not sell in a month, I lower the price, if not selling in two months, take it out and replace it. then you can put it back in a couple of months later and it will sell.! but I have found also that if I put something of a bright color, usually red, near the back or top - it catches their eye, and then they really start looking.

Beth Nelson: As hard as it is I look at my profits in 3 month blocks to average. I do go in,weekly. To fluff and take in something new even,if it's just one thing.I try to keep just ahead of stores for holidays and including Valentine's day. Our store does an annual Spring fest so I make sure it's done the week before. It's hard to get feedback unless you have a close friend, to see how they're doing month to month. If there's a high turnover with dealers that's a good clue as how activity has been.

Morgantown Market: First, I suggest a 10% sale to see if its a pricing issue. Then we look at lists of the goods that sold out of the booth in the past, has your focus changed? Third, time for a redo. After all that, we can determine if its the mall/location. Remember the secret of selling from multiple locations is treating each booth like its your only one. The more time you spend the better your sales.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Free Chalkboard Printable

It has been a while since I shared a free printable with all of you. I thought I would kick off the new year with one of my favorite bible verses. This is from Psalm 46:10. Scroll down the page to the very bottom to download this image. Be sure to leave and comment and let me know if you would like to see more free printables like this in the future.



Click on image to enlarge. Enjoy!


Free Printables

Free Chalkboard Printable (Be Still & Know)

Free Printable Price Tags

Grain Sack Style Printable

The Item You Saw Today And Want To Think About Tonight...

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Cheapest Backdrop You will Ever Make!

I know it has been far too long since I lasted posted here. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to become more active on this blog. So I thought I would kick off 2016 with a super, inexpensive backdrop tutorial. Let's face it, when we sell online the pretty photos are the ones that get noticed first. The internet has become a visual medium. I waste so much time looking a beautiful photos on t Pinterest and Instagram. So I have decided to step up my product photography game. I get the craziest ideas when I'm trying to go to sleep at night. Last night, as I'm about to drift off I came up this idea. Although, I'm sure someone out there somewhere has already thought of this.

This tutorial is super easy and it only cost me $2.00. I picked up two items from my local Dollar Tree. I purchased a mounted poster board and a roll of Toile contact paper. That's it. You just peel off the backing on the contact paper and apply it to your poster board. But let me give you a tip. Have someone hold the contact paper on each end of the roll --as you apply the corners down first. Then take a dough roller and slowly smooth out the rest of the paper as you are applying it to the poster board.


Here is the poster board after I applied the contact paper. 






Here is the finished product. You could use any kind of contact paper you wanted for this. You could also use wall paper, scrap booking paper etc. I think I am gonna try to make some more of these using some old fabric scraps I have. What I like about these are they are light weight and easy to store behind a piece of furniture when not being used. I hope I have inspired someone to give this a try. Please feel free to share your photos if do decide to make one. You can always email them to me at boothcrush@gmail.com  Comment below if you would like to see more background examples.