10 Tips to Selling BIG at Your Next Vintage & Made Fair
Happy Monday, all! It’s a gorgeous 85 degree day here in Kalona and I am taking advantage of that by moving my office outside for the afternoon. We had a wonderful time this past weekend at our first Vintage Fair at The Barn in Wellman, IA! I want to begin by giving a huge shout out and thank you to everyone who stopped by our little booth to say hi or make a purchase. We were so honored and blessed by the number of familiar and new faces who stopped in..so THANK YOU! We couldn’t have done it without all of your encouragement and support. 🙂 Being that this was our first time selling at this type of event, we were really unsure as of what to expect as far as customers, pricing, bartering, product amount, ect, so I today I wanted to take the time to recap our experience and share with you ten tips I learned that will hopefully help you with your own booth! 🙂
- Staging Matters – Choose a color scheme/theme that fits with the items you are planning to sell. We were selling handmade and picked furniture and decor items, so we tried to generally keep our pops of color within the green/blue/metallic family. This gave our booth the cohesive and home-y feel that we were after. My husband and I also built three faux shiplap walls to display signs as well as give the visual appearance of an actual room. Not only did this make our products stand out, but it also gave the customers ideas on how to use and display our product in their own home.
2. Have a variety of items – Realize that every customer who browses your booth is on the hunt for something different. By giving your customers the option of both big and small purchases, you will be able to cater to all of their needs and wants. Having a variety of textiles in your booth will also add interest and detail that will intrigue and draw customers in.
3. “Medium” sized items tend to bring in the most profit. Out of all the items that we sold, our profit margins tended to be largest on items that were larger than a basketball, but smaller than a table. I believe this is because they are relatively easy to find on the cheap at fleas and garage sales, and then they can be flipped for a large profit at events like this one.
4. Have Business Cards. I made the mistake of thinking that no one would ask for my business card. Don’t do the same. I probably wrote out close to 20 make-shift business cards on unused price tags just to give out to customers who asked for one. Save yourself some hassle and appear more professional by taking the time to create and order professional business cards beforehand. This will be especially valuable if you are trying to start an online blog or business! Hello easy advertising!
5. Do it with a friend or two. I am fortunate enough to be good friends with two very talented ladies, Whitney and Missy. Whitney is awesome and sewing and calligraphy, and Missy is great at woodwork and creating signs. Jon and I enjoy building furniture. Together we were able to use the strengths of one another in order to offer a well-rounded variety of products and services to our customers.
6. Have the ability to take credit/debit cards – Approximately 50% of our sales were made through debit and credit card purchases. We used the Square app on my phone, and it worked great! There is a 3% processing fee on purchases, but it is still totally worth it for the opportunity to give customers a chance to put larger purchases on their credit or debit cards if they didn’t come with enough cash.
7. Large items may be harder to sell, so don’t put all of your stock in them. Jon and I brought one dining table and two large industrial carts to sell. We received many compliments on them, but most people wanted them in a different size. This makes sense because you have to have the exact space for these types of items, and that also means that there will be a really narrow margin of customers that will actually be able to buy them right then and there. Thankfully we were able to sell the table and one of the carts, but for a while I didn’t think we were going to sell either of them. I would still recommend having large items in your booth for staging purposes, but don’t count on them selling. 🙂
8. Track your investment in each item. Not only will this be handy when you go to calculate what you actually owe in taxes, but it will also be necessary as you you barter with customers. you don’t want to be loosing money on the items that you sell!
9. Be prepared to barter. This was probably the aspect I was most nervous about. My husband would tell you that I am a terrible deal maker…and he is right. 🙂 The key to bartering is pricing your items high enough that you have room to barter, make the customer feel like they got a good deal and you can still be bringing in some profit.
10. Make excellent customer service a priority. Nobody likes to shop in a booth were people are glaring, staring, or generally unpleasant. Make it a point to greet customers as they enter and be available for questions that they may have. We had bags and tissue paper on hand in which to wrap their purchases. We also had a plate of free muffins sitting outside of our booth to show others that we cared about more than taking their money. 😉 Be kind and friendly! Customers are there for the experience just as much if not more than your product!
Well that about wraps it up! I hope you feel more educated and prepared for your next sales event. If you are a first timer, don’t be scared or overwhelmed. I know it can be intimidating, but you’ve got this! I promise that going the extra mile will be worth it in the end! And for all of you seasoned vintage fair veterans out there, what tips have you learned over the years? Let me know on Facebook, Instagram or in the comments below! I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet and would love to have your feedback. 😉 In the meantime, Happy Craftin’ Friends!