What Christmas items would you add to my booth?
Looking for more craft and furniture booth posts? Check these out:
- 5 Craft Booth Tips from a Beginner
- Craft Booth Tips: 10 Things I've Learned After My First Year
- Christmas Craft Booth 2013
Over a year ago, I started my first craft, furniture, and decor booth at Hodge Podge, an antique store in Monroe, GA. March of 2013, I posted about my "experience" -- 5 Craft Booth Tips from a Beginner. If you haven't read that post yet, start there first. I still use nearly every one of those tips after 1 year. Like I just mentioned, my booth is located inside of an antique store. I pay a monthly rent and they're open Tuesday-Sunday and I don't have to be there to sell items. So, the tips below are based on that set up. Most of them still apply to vending at flea markets, craft shows, special events, etc, but I just wanted to clarify.
I can say that every month I have made rent++, and for that, I am so grateful. I'm not making a million dollars, but I'm doing something that makes me super happy and gives me extra income. I would also like to add that I now work at Hodge Podge and our sister store, Markets of Monroe, so I have even more perspective of what other dealers do and what customers are looking for. Even so, there's always more to learn. I'm not an expert in any way, just sharing my experiences with my friends of blogland!
Here are a 10 more craft booth tips that I've learned after my first year:
1. Fill your space
When I revealed my original craft booth, I wasn't using my space wisely. I could fit way more items in there, but I just hadn't built up my inventory yet. I'm definitely not saying to make it look like an episode of hoarders, but fill your space! The more you have, the more you can sell. There are so many booth display ideas on Pinterest that will inspire you and help you fill the space!
2. Add shelving
Again, when I first started I had this adorable frame wall with lots of picture frames for sale. It seemed like a great idea until the frames started selling. My frame wall started looking like a scattered (or sometimes empty) hot mess. I found a remedy, though, don't worry -- shelves! You can buy a bookcase like I did at first, however, I would suggest buying shelves that hang on the wall. A bookshelf took up much needed floor space, so I bought these shelves from Home Depot (remember I revealed them in my Christmas Craft Booth post?). I think I spent a total of $20 on them. They take up the entire wall (which makes my booth appear full) and it's super easy to change items around. I hang bigger frames/items on the opposite wall.
Especially if your booth is located in a place that is outside or in a building that constantly keeps their doors open (like we do at Hodge Podge and Markets of Monroe), clean your booth every once in a while. Sure, some people like that extra layer of dust on their antiques (it adds character, right?), but some people can't look past it. Don't give people a reason not to buy your awesome piece. Clean it, shine it, polish it, make the piece look it's best.
4. Rearrange & take old items out
If you're going through a slow month or just don't have any new items to refresh your booth, rearrange everything. You'll be surprised how moving a few things around will give a new perspective. That dresser you thought would never sell could catch the eye of a customer and sell! If you've rearranged and still have had no luck selling a certain piece, consider taking that item out and replacing it with something new. It will give your space a fresh look. I've also seen other dealers take out a piece, paint it a different color, and when they bring it back, it sells!
5. Have a sale
Sometimes people need a sale to act on a piece of furniture they really love. Most of the time I stick to a simple 10% off sale on my entire booth. Even though that means the customer is really only saving $10 on a $100 piece, you'll be amazed at how a sale will move items out of your booth. If you want to focus on specific pieces rather than your entire booth, mark the tags with a certain color or image. You can have a "Sunflower Sale" and mark each item that is on sale with an adorable sunflower, or do "any tag marked with a green dot is 20% off."
6. Know your seasons
Is it too obvious to say to prepare for big holidays like Christmas? Sometimes, though, life gets crazy and you simply forget about what's next (or at least I do). Here's a little image I created to help me stay on track:
7. Know your audience
I was so in love with the bright pallets and shutters in the corner of my first booth (they were already there when I moved in). Once I started working at the store, though, I noticed people would look at my booth, and then continue walking. It was hurtful to see, but it made me realize that maybe my booth was a little too "loud" for my audience. I love bright colors, but my audience seemed to be put off by them. I took out the pallets and shutters and incorporated more neutral pieces with the colorful ones, and it made a huge difference. If you know the other dealers, vendors, or owners, ask them about your audience. Stay true to yourself and to your style, but remember you're also trying to make money.
8. Find your niche
I'm still trying to find my personal niche, but at this point, my booth is an eclectic mix of old and newer items -- which is pretty much my style, too, if you've seen my Grandma Chic Bedroom. This year, though, I want to find a certain product or "stamp" that says, "Revolutionaries." It's the same reason Marian from Miss Mustard Seed rocks at her booth at Lucketts every year. Everyone wants her pieces because she puts her unique stamp and personality on each one. Don't copy, be you.
9. Promote yourself in every way possible
My DIY craft booth sign (pictured above) is still kickin' it in the front of my booth, I still display my business cards (in a little teacup, now), and I still have my framed flyers that say, "Don't see what you're looking for? Have a piece that you would like for me to refinish? Please contact me-- I can help you look for that perfect piece or refinish the piece you have!" and "Want to see more crafts, furniture, and decor ideas? Check out www.revolutionariesblog.com or find us on Facebook!" In addition to the promotional items I have in store, I promote myself often on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Craigslist. I've sold pieces on Facebook before it even makes it in my booth (which is awesome) and I've sold lots of stuff on Craigslist as well. I like selling on Craigslist because people can go by the store any time they're open to see/buy a piece and it allows me to avoid that awkward am-I-going-to-die-today moment that I feel with some Craigslist interactions. People that come from Craigslist are also likely to buy other items from my booth or other dealer's booths while they're there, too.
10. Be picky about what you buy
I decided to add this because it was a big learning process for me. I would see a piece for $5 at a garage sale and immediately buy it. Once I got the piece home, it would be unsteady, or the drawers wouldn't work properly, or it had peeling layers of paint that would take me days to strip off. Not everything is worth the buy. My customers don't want an unsteady piece or a piece that has drawers that don't function. In the same way, make sure that what you buy is the style and look that you're going for. Like I said in #8, you're creating a brand and it should reflect you.
Before I end this incredible long post, I want to say this: if you're not quite ready for a big booth space, start small. This awesome tip comes from by friend Mary, who is a mom of 3 and felt like she needed to start small. She asked a local apple orchard store if she could sell her crocheted dish cloths in their store and they said yes! If you want to get your toes wet before diving in, go this route or ask a friend to share a booth space with you.