Feb 4, 2015

Running a Booth at an Antique Mall: Month 1

Ok, I have to admit that as soon as I signed the lease at Lone Star Gifts I started to panic wondering if I made the right decision. I was scared to death that I had killed my business by doing so, but things have worked out. My sales for the month totaled more than my cost on the booth but once the 10% came out it dropped me down to being about $8 shy of breaking even. However I still maintain a few items in my Etsy store and sold a vendor apron as well as an accent table through Etsy which put me well over the "breaking even" point. Historically speaking January is a really slow month for me, but this January was better.

I missed my post for week 3 so I'll give you a recap of what I have done as far as upkeep of the booth for the last two weeks. The last half of January was pretty busy with a stock show and with illnesses so I pretty much kept to straightening up the booth on Tuesday's and Friday's. Last Friday when I went in I noticed that two of my display baskets had sold so I had to do a little rearranging. That also meant that some of my wall space was bare so I needed to add something to the space. Today I added some wall decor and some pink hot packs.

With Valentine's day approaching it's natural to wonder if I should be making items specific for the season. I did that once for Christmas and none of it sold so I opted to just add a few pink items instead of having something that is specific to the season.

More posts in this series:
The Beginning
Week 1
Week 2

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Feb 2, 2015

What defines good bones?

When shopping for furniture a lot of people will tell you to look for pieces with "good bones". So what exactly defines good bones?

That's kind of hard to define, but for me I am looking at the parts of a piece of furniture that make up the main supports. They have to be solid wood and can't be warped. As you get to know me you will discover that I believe anything made with OSB or MDF is fit only for the burn pile. I hate the stuff. In the dresser above the "bones" of the dresser are the front and back legs and the decorative pieces on the front between the drawers. I can replace the sides, back, and drawer guides if needed. Some are not willing to put in that kind of work and that's fine. I enjoy doing that kind of work which is probably why I spent more than I needed to on this piece.

The sides and back have to be replaced.

And the top is split and warped. I will probably have to make a new top, but I can use the old top to make breadboards.

Here are the bones of the front of the dresser. I took the dresser completely apart and re-routed the tongue and groove joints to fit the new back and sides. *This is not something you want to try doing if you are not familiar with a router.*

I'll be sharing more as this piece progresses ....
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Jan 29, 2015

Benjamin Soap Company

I recently received an order for one of my vendor aprons from Jae with Benjamin Soap Company.

She had just been accepted as a vendor at the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market and needed the apron by that weekend. I was able to get the apron to her with time to spare and she sent me a wonderful thank you gift.

This soap smells amazing and feels great on the hands. I typically buy my hand soap from Bath & Body Works, but I may be making a switch after using this stuff  especially once she releases her foaming hand soap.

Jae started making soap last fall with the idea of making a pure additive free soap for her daughter.

She also sent some lip balm which has come in quite handy. I typically use Burt's Bees Grapefruit Beeswax Lip Balm, but this stuff works just as well if not better and I'd much rather support a local gal.

She also offers lotion bars, candles, and wax melts.

Here's Jae sporting her new apron the first day of the farmer's market.

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Jan 26, 2015

French Country Botanical Living Room Styleboard

I was recently asked by Chairish if I would create a styleboard centered around one of the rugs that they sell. I've never created a styleboard before, but thought it would be fun so told them sure.

Chairish is an exclusive on-line market place for vintage and used furniture made up of sellers and buyers just like you and me. The best way I can describe it is a mix between One Kings Lane and Etsy. They handle the shipping for the seller so this is something I am going to look into further to see if it is a good fit for selling my furniture. I am not getting reimbursed in anyway for this project, it was just for fun.

So my task was to take a neutral room and add some color to it. Holly sent me a file with pictures of 10 different rugs to choose from and this is the rug I chose. I chose this rug because of the fading vintage feel to it. It just looks loved. You can check out the other rugs Chairish offers here.

Since the room in my home that is giving me the most trouble is my living room I decided to create a styleboard for a living room. I tried to keep everything very true to my French Country Modern Farmhouse style and I really love how it turned out.

Click on the links below to shop this styleboard.

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Jan 18, 2015

1800's Ironstone Dresser

I have another piece to show you, but of course I forgot to take before pictures.

The dresser was actually in really good shape and I really hesitated painting it, but the coloring on the sides was just too inconsistent so I went for it. It originally had a back-splash with two small semi-circle shelves that I removed and will be using to make a sign at a later date.

My choice of paint was Miss Mustard Seed's Ironstone Milk Paint. I wanted this piece to chip so the first coat of paint does not contain the bonding agent. It chipped a bit more than I wanted so I added the bonding agent for the second coat and achieved a really cool tone on tone look.

The drawers were lined with a really nasty honeycomb vinyl that looked like it came from the 50's. When I removed the vinyl it left a very sticky residue so I decided to use this opportunity to line the drawers with wrapping paper. I found a beautiful paper made by Snow and Graham.

Shared with:
Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint
Finding Silver Pennies
Home Stories A to Z
Elizabeth & Co.
Snap Creativity
Upcycled Treasures
Miss Mustard Seed
French Country Cottage

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Running a Booth at an Antique Mall: Week 2

My post is a little late this week because things are quite crazy around here. Earlier this week three of use were down with the flu, then we celebrated my oldest boys turning 15 on Friday. We also have a stock show coming up this week and have been busy getting ready for that. This will be the first year we are showing anything other than rabbits ... who knew there would be a dress code. We aren't exactly your typical country family with boots, jeans, belts, and button up shirts so we had to make a trip to Goodwill to find show clothes. Still don't have the boots, but I'm not really going to worry about it.

So onto this week's recap of how things went with the booth. I visited the booth on Tuesday and on Friday. On Tuesday all I did was straighten things up. When I went on Friday I had 3 posters to add to my inventory so I used this opportunity to do a little rearranging. I still have my three large pieces of furniture so there wasn't much I could do about that, but I re-arranged the wall space a bit.

** I don't have any pictures of the booth. I left my phone at home as well as the memory card for my camera.**

To start I took everything off the walls and started with a clean slate. I moved the Dream Big banner so that it crossed the corner of the booth over the grey dresser.

I then added two hooks for the canvas wall banners hanging two banners on each hook. This will hopefully entice people to come in and look to see what is behind the first banner.

I felt that maybe people couldn't tell what the hot/cold packs were from just once glance so I hung a basket in the middle of the wall and placed the hot packs in it. I then hung a large chalkboard over the basket and wrote out instructions for how to use the hot packs.

Then I added a hook above the yellow dresser and hung the three posters from it. Again hoping that hanging all three together would entice someone to come in and take a closer look.

On my short wall on the right I hung a basket with a few items in it and then hung a chalkboard writing desk and one of the farmhouse chairs.

I've read that you need to change things up frequently to keep buyers interested. Our shop is right by a coffee shop so a lot of people like to swing in after they have had their coffee so a quick glance can tell them whether or not anything new was added. You want to be able to draw your buyers in and keep them looking. Hopefully I have been able to manage this by changing things up.

What sold:
A mid century metal paper tray and a collapsible wooden ruler.

*Note: I have been very nervous about the fact that things are moving slow over there so I looked back at my monthly sales for January for 2013 and 2014 and historically January is a slow month for sales. In order to justify the cost of the booth I really need to be able to sell one piece of furniture a month which usually isn't a problem. I do have craigslist ads for the pieces that are in the booth, plus I have other pieces that I am trying to sell on Craigslist and on Etsy. I wish there were a way to list the two big pieces that are at Lone Star Gifts on Etsy as well, but I haven't figured out how that would work. I would hate to promise it to someone on Etsy, to find that it sold at Lone Star, plus I need to look at Etsy's TOU.

To see previous posts from this series click the links below:
The Beginning
Week 1
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Jan 9, 2015

Running a Booth at an Antique Mall: Week 1

Today marks one week at my space at Lone Star Gifts and I am happy to say I had my first sell. It wasn't much but you've got to start somewhere. I went in on Tuesday to add a few items, take pictures, and browse the store. I was able to straighten up the booth a little and get the new items in place, but then plans with the kids changed so I had to leave quickly. On Thursday I went in to just browse the store. I found an ironstone pitcher and two crocks for myself, but I also found that compared to everyone else my prices were a little on the high end. When I checked out I asked the lady there to come look at my booth and give me her honest opinion about my pricing. She said that the prices were not unreasonable, but that for Dripping Springs they were probably a little high.

When pricing my items I based my prices on a median of what the same item would sell for on Etsy, but in doing so I based my prices on the wrong target audience. For someone who is seasoned at having a booth at an antique market you may groan and fuss over what I did next, but it's what I felt was necessary for the situation. I went home and looked at my costs and repriced the items that seemed to be priced too high. Then I drove back to the store to swap out the old tags. I feel better about my prices now and hope the change will encourage more product movement. I don't ever want to be greedy in my pricing and as long as I can double my cost, plus a little extra for time and store cut then I am happy.

Here's a synopsis of what I did for and in the booth this week.

What I added:
I added 4 handmade hot packs, two books I picked up from Goodwill, and a writing desk that I
painted and turned into a chalkboard desk.

How often I visited:
I checked on the booth twice and each time the booth needed some straightening. Having to put items back where they belong is a good thing because it means that things are being picked up and looked at.

What sold:
One of the books that I had picked up from Goodwill earlier this week.

To see previous posts on running a booth at an antique mall click below.
     The beginning.
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