Tuesday, April 1, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series Part 2

Our knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series is all about selling in "flea market style" events, including our own BAZAAR as well as other vintage and antique shows. Part One was our Top 5 suggestions for setting up a great looking booth. 

Part Two is all about setting up a great FUNCTIONING booth, which arguably is just as important as a great looking booth if not more so!

Last fall, Michelle Black and I set up a booth at the Irvine Antique Market and I was giving her a really hard time because she was in the back corner of the booth hand cutting out individual business cards and then writing her information on them. As for myself, I had forgotten to pack change and didn't have any small bills to change out for the first hour. All that to say that a booth that looks good doesn't mean it is a booth that functions well!

Vendor Series Part Two
How to Run a Booth Like a Pro

1. Price your Product

I can't tell you how often I go to flea markets and come across booth's where nothing is priced. It drives me completely  nuts and this is what happens:

a) the booth is too crowded, I can't figure out who is in charge so I simply give up and don't ask;
b) I find the booth owner to ask a price and get the "give me an offer" remark...and anyone who knows me and how I "pick" knows that my offer nine times out of ten is insulting-it's not intentional, it's just what I'm willing to offer. And, I don't like feeling like I am insulting a vendor and their product. You just never know so I just never (or almost never) offer;
c)  I find something I like and ask for a price which is ten times higher than I am willing to pay. My assumption is that everything will be beyond my price range so I won't even bother to ask about anything else. 

For some vendors, leaving items unmarked is part of their strategy. Personally, I find it a turn off and would rather know what the expectation is and negotatiate the price from there. So, take this piece of advice for what it's worth...

2. Bring Marketing Materials
If this is your first venture into the world of selling, you may not have any marketing materials to speak of. But, if you have something as simple as a business card, be sure to bring them to hand out to your new customers. You never know when distributing business cards may turn into a lead for future business! 

3. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods
Cash is King! People come to flea markets and expect to pay with cash so be sure to have plenty of change from the get go. But, the world of credit card processing has become accessible to virtually everyone, it's not unusual to use a credit card at a flea market. Get a square, or a paypal credit card processor. They are FREE. They can be used with Ipads and Smartphones and the fees are minimal compared to the convenience of providing that service. The last thing you want is to lose a big sale because someone doesn't have the cash on hand to make that big purchase. 

4. Bring a Friend
I hate to say it, but as fun as flea markets are to participate in, they are long and exhausting. It helps immensly to have a friend, relative or spouse to hang out with you during the event. Plus, it makes it all that much more fun. So if you can twist your best friends arm to come spend a day with you or even find a selling partner, the experience will be that much better! I personally wouldn't even consider selling at a flea market without having an extra person to help out, keep me company and watch the booth for those much needed potty breaks (and shopping breaks). 

5. Think About Customers Logistical Needs
If you are selling larger furniture items, your customers may have some logistical concerns. Be prepared for them to ask if you will offer delivery, have dollies or ropes to tie down furniture (these are all things I've asked vendors in the past)! Before you get to the BAZAAR on Saturday morning, think about whether you have the means to provide local delivery. And, bring a dollie and ropes just to make furniture moving and strapping easier. Afterall, isn't it worth sacrificing a $5 rope to sell a $250 dresser?

Eddie let us "borrow" a refrigerator strap most likely assuming he would never see it again. Three months later when I sold stuff in Irvine, I just so happened to have a booth right next to Eddie and remembered to bring the strap to return to him. 

6. Bring Much Needed Odds and Ends

a) Pens and pencils
b) Paper or tags to make "sold" tags 
c) tape or twine to attach "sold" tags
d) bags for customers who buy multiple items
e) snacks and drinks
f) a chair (that you aren't selling)...you're legs will get tired
g) pad of paper to take notes on how to improve your next booth ;)

There you have it...that's my short list based on my selling experiences. Most of the photographs I grabbed from my "Pricing and Packaging" pinboard on pinterest. 

I hope this info helps you to set up a booth that functions more smoothly than some of mine have in the past! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR and Sonnie Owens Jewelry

There is less than a week to go until our Spring BAZAAR and we are filtering through the many vendor applications. It is truly amazing how much talent and creativity is within arms reach of our own little store. Not to mention, that the notion of "shabby chic" and "vintage" is such a broad category that encompasses anything from re-purposed home furnishings to jewelry...and, we're going to have a little bit of everything represented!

One of our fabulous vendors is a very talented artist, Diane Owens, Owner of Sonnie Owens Jewelry and More. Diane hand crafts and repurposes vintage jewelry, creates succulent gardens in "vintage vessels," as well as designs steam punk style and shabby chic home decor.

Diane has been a hobbyist of sorts since elementary school and has always loved shopping flea markets and finding  treasures. "I love vintage 1900 to 1940's brooches which I turn into focal piece pendants for necklaces," says Diane. 

With so many different styles encompass "shabby chic" design, Diane veers toward the eclectic mix of French Country, shabby cottage and urban vintage styles, which are prevalent in her succulent gardens. 

Like so many home-based artisans, Diane's biggest challenge is allocating the time to create. "I work well under pressure," she states, "so setting up shows and appointments put the pressure on to get things done."

And, with just days until our BAZAAR, we know Diane is working diligently for those final touches to what we are sure is going to be a vibrant booth with some great products. 

Sonnie Owens Jewelry and More is offering a BAZAAR special! Just like their facebook page and your name will be put into a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate! Be sure to check out all of her treasures on April 5th at the BAZAAR and be sure to mention that you read about her on our blog feature!

If you are interested in becoming a vendor at one or all of our Spring BAZAAR's, send an e-mail or download a registration form today! There's still time for April's event!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

knot too shabby BAZAAR Vendor Series Part One

With less than two weeks to go, we are quickly approaching our first Bazaar this Spring! Vendors are scurrying around getting projects ready to sell. Even we are thinking about displays, sale items and paint demos for the event.

With more vendors signed up for this year's Bazaar, we are getting an in flux of more questions! So, I thought I would do a "vendor series" with tips, tricks and advice to make the most of your vendor space!

Vendor Series Part One
Decorating and Displays

Putting together a booth can sometimes be one of the most intimidating projects. We collaborated and put together a list of the top 5 tips we can give for setting up a great booth! 

1. Incorporate TEXTURES

There's nothing like a variety of textures and/or textiles to make a booth feel warm and welcoming. That may include making your hum drum EZ-up tent charming with curtains, signage and my personal favorite, plants! I naturally want to spend more time looking at a booth that feels warm and inviting and the more time I spend in that booth, the more likely I am to spend money.



BUT (and it's a big But), keep it open. Don't block the opening of your booth because you want people to be drawn in. I made the mistake of setting up a long table right in the very front of my tent at one of the flea markets I sell at. I wanted my best sellers to be right in the front and accessible. Instead, no one ventured past the table to look at everything that was "behind" it. I did a quick re-arrange and it solved the problem. So, keep the perimeter of your booth full but leave the entrance area open so that customers naturally venture in.

3. Draw the eyes UP

This concept goes along with using all of the available space. Don't be afraid to stack, stack and stack. Pair colors and items so that your stacked pieces are well coordinated and the display leaves you longing for a little bit of something to take home.

4. Group like OBJECTS

Chances are that if you are selling at a flea market, you don't have a lot of duplicate pieces or objects. That doesn't mean your display can't have a natural flow. If you keep like objects grouped together, customers have a better sense of how to use them in their own home. Perhaps it is mixing and matching cylinder shaped items or coordinating like colors. It could be grouping things by era. If you struggle with this piece, do some shopping. Check out how Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Pier One, etc. set up their displays. Find the common theme and replicate it. Even better, visit an antique mall and pin point the booths that you like and shamefully copy. :/ It's ok...we all do it!

5. Bookend your PRICE RANGE

I like the imagery of bookends. You have two bookends on either side holding in place a lot of books. When you are pricing items, think of one bookend as more expensive, the other bookend less expensive and all the books as the middle of the road price. If all you carry in your booth are multi-hundred dollar items, you are less likely to sell much. On the flip side, if you have one or two sales, it makes for a great day. But, if you don't...well...that's a lot of work for just a couple of sales. If you have too many cheap items...$1 items...you are going to have to sell an awful lot of things to pay for the time and cost of participating. The most profitable vendors at our last BAZAAR had a great variety of small, medium and high priced items. The high priced pieces showed the quality of their work while they managed to have some great low priced takeaways. But, it was the mid-range priced items that gave them the most bang for their buck. 

So, with under two weeks until the event, start planning how your booth is going to look. Don't show up on Saturday morning with no idea! And, check out our Decorating and Displays pinboard on pinterest. I'm inspired by what others have done and all of the pictures I shared in this post are the displays of other talented artists and vendors. You can check out the original sources on pinterest

Next in the series we will be the PRICING GAME and HOW TO SET UP A WELL FUNCTIONING BOOTH.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Milk Paint Display

Coming up with creative ways to display product can be daunting. We seem to manage to put together nice displays with what we find here and there.

Like this gigantic antique display cabinet..

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Or this piano that we use as a display demonstrating the difference between Chalk Paint® and Milk Paint.

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We used books for a color display of all the Chalk Paint® colors (Clear wax on the cover and dark wax on the back).

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The wall of crates display that underwent days of dark waxing and dirty fingernails as a result of making them look authentically old. 

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And, more recently a display and storage unit for our many styles of knobs.

I used to maintain the philosophy that everything is for sale. Time and time again our "displays" would sell and we would have to scramble to find new pieces to display product. It was stressful. 

With some defined display pieces finally in place, we changed our policy and have a few fixed pieces of furniture that are used solely for displays (such as the ones listed above).

Included in our line of display pieces is our vintage refrigerator. 

What better place to store a selection of Milk Paint than in vintage milk bottles inside of a vintage refrigerator? 

One of the local metal scrappers stopped by the shop one day and asked if we wanted this refrigerator (minus the awesome paint job) complete with about three inches of disgusting grime.

I thought Michelle Black was going to freak out over this piece. We completely lost our game face and what was offered for free somehow ended up costing $40. Go figure.

We used Lucketts Green to paint the framework and you can see the variation of the original finish where all of the chipping is. 

I cleared out one of my go-to antique stores of every old milk bottle they had to keep the different colors of milk paint in the bottles...in the fridge.

I used enamel casserole dishes for the waxes and color cards.

When I first started using this fridge as a display, all of the products fit nicely inside. The Miss Mustard Seed's line has grown so much in the past year, I no longer can fit all the colors, waxes and hemp oil inside. With the addition of mini whisks, white wax, bulk sized containers, wax pucks, etc...I've had to expand the display onto tables or shelving units...whatever I have on hand. 

Nothing sets apart one shop from another better than how they are able to display their products. It's my favorite thing about visiting other retailers. I love to see refreshing ideas, creative and re-purposed pieces to show off product lines. It keeps me inspired and motivated to constantly change and refresh! I have a new display in mind for custom color creations! You'll have to wait to see how that comes together within the next couple of months. I promise at the very least, it will be completely and overwhelmingly colorful!
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