Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Antique Store Booth Update: The Tale of Three Booths, Now One


This year I've made the decision to go back to running just one antique store booth. I loved my other two spaces and the opportunity to reach out to different consumers in various venues with my brand. I liked the flexibility and the ability to switch merchandise from store to store. It was time to make the hard decision and say goodbye to two spaces, here's why:

Too Much Shopping: I'm not willing to continue to buy, buy, buy enough merchandise to supply three spaces with the necessary amount of vintage to keep sales up.

Not Enough Profit: I thought I'd take a chance on two booths in lower-traffic stores, but my one space at Southern Crossing brings in far more traffic and profit. It makes sense to stick to the one that really produces.

Online Sales Trump All: I sell more via my blog and craigslist than any other option, and the only investment that takes is time. I had a successful first couple of months on Etsy bringing in several high ticket sales. This year I'll be focusing on my Etsy shop, eBay, Craigslist, and other creative venues.

I Don't Regret it: I learned lessons from being in each shop. I'm always going to innovate and try new ways to sell and make connections with other creatives and playful vintage lovers.

It's not an easy decision to move out of two booths, I really want to keep them. I've met wonderful people and even received an exciting opportunity from one of them that I'll write about in the future! But the stores are too great of an investment of time and energy and it's not working out, it's time to move on. I'm excited to pour that energy into my profitable booth, revamping the looks, making a new sign, and making it the best it can be!

How are your sales going online and in your booths? What are the pitfalls you're facing? Sometimes we have to quite to succeed.
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37 comments:

  1. Business is about being adaptable, and that isnt easy. Good for you for making that tough decision! It's great to hear you are doing well with your online sales. What is the hardest part for you as far as selling online?

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  2. The balancing act and time management is hardest for me right now. Each part of the process, photos, listing, cleaning, hunting, documenting, takes hours. It's worth it though, very creatively satisfying.

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  3. It's always a work in progress isn't it? Good for you for knowing when to make a change!

    My booth sales are going surprisingly well for January, especially after a very busy Nov/Dec -- so much so that I currently don't have enough inventory stashed to sell at any vintage shows this Spring. Once yard sale season gets going here, I hope to load up again. :-) Also had a good holiday season online but my etsy shop has been a bit neglected this month and I need to restock it. So far, so good. Yay!

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    1. Indeed it is, we just have to keep evolving and rolling with the punches. At least my drive to really hit it with sales, innovate, and improve is always there.

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  4. It's tough to let go, but it's good to listen to what you need. Good work :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing this! I learn more on thrifting from you and your blog then anywhere else!

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    1. Glad it helps, at least others can learn from my "mistakes" ;) But really, I learned a lot from both shops and I'll miss being in them, just couldn't keep up a blog, freelance work, kitchen job, online shops, and three booths.

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  6. I don't have a booth, but my Etsy and Artfire shops keep selling for me. With any online shop the more active I am in listing, renewing or rewriting scripts the more the search engine likes me and the more sales I bring in. I must say though that I am really thrilled when something sells that I have had for a least a year, sometimes I wonder and am surprised it didn't sell sooner, but delighted when it does and think to myself, 'I knew this was an awesome item and was waiting special for someone'

    I also started my own web site, a work in progress to be sure www.osovictoriavintage hope you don't mind me mentioning it here, it is just time consuming work and wanted to share my endeavors. Thanks

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  7. I've thought the same about items that take a long time to sell, sometimes we have to be patient and not budge on the price, the special person will find it one day. I forgot about Artfire! I need to look into that venue again. I checked out your shop, congratulations on launching it! I can tell a lot of work and love went into it! I don't mind you sharing it here at all :)

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  8. That was part of my reason for opening a 2nd booth, to compare rent and sales and see which one does better. So far, my first booth is proving to be the better spot, but the 2nd booth has it's pros, too. I'm going to try and wait until the end of summer before I make my decision on which booth to close. 2 booths are a lot of work and hard to keep filled! I can totally understand why you would close your other booths. We all need to be flexible in anything we do!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story Jenny, helps me feel better about my decision. It really is hard to keep them all full!

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  9. It is important not to try to do too much at once, as you can only handle so much. I started with my Etsy shop, had luck with Fab, and now I am thinking on selling bigger items like furniture. It is scary at times but necessary to grow one's own brand. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. You're right, the change is scary but we have to keep branching out to discover what will work. Sometimes it doesn't, but you always learn from trying. You were selling on fab.com? That's awesome! I need to look into that..

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  10. Through trial and error we learn what works for us.

    Things have been going quite well with my booth. Things improve as I learn from my fellow vendors. The on-line network is a very valuable source. Everyone of you is a God send.

    On-line sales are okay. Lot of work there, so more effort has been going into the booth as I try to catch up with all the extra inventory that has consumed my home.

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    1. I know how you feel with the inventory! I'm ready to drink a ton of caffeine the next couple of days and really bust ass listing it all online, so...much...stuff!

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  11. It's not an easy decision and one that I had to do as well. I had a booth in an antique mall for 3yrs and I never made a profit so it was more a hobby. I enjoyed working in the mall (as part of "renting" a booth we had to work the mall as well)more than working my booth. It is less work and actually more profitable to sell online and I can keep my inventory in one place and not take a "haul" to the antique mall. So, long story short, I totally relate!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story! You can enjoy something but in the end we have to put on energy toward the options that produce the most profit! Treasure House has some booth owners work there for free maybe for free space or discount on space, they're friends of the owner. They told me their sales are much better when they're there in person to pitch their merch.

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  12. I enjoyed all of your stories above, and agree the photos, listing, researching are time consuming. Good for you Van for being brave and making changes and inspiring others. Not too much caffeine now. Sincerely, lanasdream eBay.

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    1. I'll take it easy on the caffeine, I am crazy sensitive to it ;) Thanks for the encourage and kind words!

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  13. Hi Van,
    I have been re-reading your past blog posts on your antique booth selling ideas. I admired you for keeping three booths going as I had one booth ( not that successful) and I thought that was a huge amount of work :)

    Change is growth. Look forward to reading more about your progress.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Glad the old posts have been helpful. I need to re-read them for ideas and renewed enthusiasm too, ha!

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    2. And now I am eyeballing a new spot to rent.... I need to resist!

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  14. Good luck with the Etsy/eBay shops! I know you'll do great. Will continue to look forward to your Southern Crossing booth updates! I live vicariously through everybody online - all the markets are almost 2 hours away! Too far for booths!

    BTW, love you for not calling Spring Blossom Green Pyrex bowl "Crazy Daisy". Pet peeve of mine.

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    1. Glad I actually got it right, it is hard to tell with some patterns. :) Many more updates on the booth-front will be coming, my next step is making an amazing new sign.

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  15. I primarily sell on eBay, and really started to focus on growing my business and increasing my sales a few months back. The work has paid off, and now that I'm listing more consistently, I'm pulling in money on a more consistent basis.

    The "pitfalls" - more like learning experiences - have come from branching out into other categories, like jewelry, and having to learn the ropes of making good buying decisions and pricing my items correctly. Having your own business is an ever evolving process. You need to constantly tweak things and not stay stagnant. What works now won't necessarily work tomorrow. You have to be open to change. That's what I love about your blog; you share with us what's working and what needs changing and are not afraid to change what's not working.

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    1. I may have to get on eBay, that's where the money is according to many! It really is an always evolving process, you have to try new things, fail, learn from it, and get back up and try again. Thanks for reading along!

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