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California Doing a Market: Tips and Advice

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California Doing a Market: Tips and Advice

Everyone Rhett and I are out of town for the week. We are in good ol' Indiana visiting one of my best friends and her daughter (Rhett's "girl friend").

I love me a little vacay. :)

Anyway, I've got 2 amazing, helpful, inspiring guest posts that you want to miss and a reveal of one of my ugly duckies I picked up last week and a few Pintrest-ing ideas.

But today I want to introduce you to Erica from 3 O'Clock Winds. She is the QUEEN of doing vintage markets in her area and she has helped me learn a few tips about the subject.

So read and learn!

Thank you again Erica for sharing your sage advice!


Hello Julia and everyone at 551 East Furniture Design!

I'm Erica, one half of the duo that makes up Three O'Clock Winds. Julia introduced you to us about a month ago when she was nice enough to fill in for me here and let us all know how to keep your furniture ideas fresh.

Me over-heating at the last market

Julia has been so wonderful in helping me with any questions I have to help grow my blog and I was thrilled when I received the email that she wanted me to guest post for her. Plus she gave me an awesome prompt so the ideas were flowing! 

Julia wanted to know about markets and thought you might like some insider tips as well in case the thought of having a booth has passed through your head. She asked if I could write about how to find the right ones, how to prep, how to price, and any lessons learned. I hadn't even thought that people might like to know these things so when I read that, all I could think was... FUN!

A lot goes into the prep work for having a booth at a market. We are still very new to this, but here are some things that we have learned thus far along the way.

1. Finding your 'niche' market

Research, research, research. I spend so much time figuring out what markets will suit us well, how many people have come to their past shows, and looking through vendor pictures to find out if we would "fit" well. Facebook has been a great resource for this as well as other more local vendor blogs. One page on Facebook that has really helped us is Flea Markets Northwest. The title is pretty obvious, but they place markets on their calendar regularly and we have been able to find who to email about vendor spaces through them. I'm not sure what kind of pages might be in other areas, but it's worth checking out.

The Sweetspot sign in the back was a yummy cupcake vendor behind us.

Another great way is just as easy as word of mouth. The first show that I started seriously thinking about vending at was Roses & Rust in Anderson, CA and I heard about it a small show last year in Fallon, NV while chit chatting with a vendor there. At the time, I didn't have any inventory and getting a resale license hadn't even crossed my mind, but I loved her booth and knew that I would love having my own. So I googled Roses & Rust, found the email address and contact number and started making calls. Once I got accepted, I knew that was my chance to do what I loved and from then on all of my effort was put into finding more. It's an addiction!

2. Time to prep!

Once you're accepted into a show, it's time to start planning. We're last minute girls around here and have been known to work until midnight the night before and get up at 3 am the morning of a show to finish up last minute projects, but there is a lot of prep that goes into it.

The first thing that needs to be done is to figure out the direction in which you want your space to look. It needs to look inviting and like the customer is walking into a little boutique. At the Roses & Rust show our big pieces of furniture where a french settee and a couple dressers, so we wanted the space to look like you were walking into a living room.

That's Nana on baby duty in the background!

Going through the rest of our inventory, we noticed that we had a lot of small kitchen items so for the next show we wanted to go with more of a kitchen theme.

The key to sanity with this is organization. I am the queen of list making and for the Gathering presents Vintage Country Flea Market I had 4 lists going through the week prior. Yes 4. Front and back. It's important to keep track of everything that's already completed, things that need finishing, and what needs to be done from day to day so that it is all ready to go by show time.

When set up time comes we focus on placement of our bigger items first, then filling in the blank items with our smalls. There also needs to be a good flow space to walk around and be able to look at everything.

Nana was on baby duty again!

3. Show time!

The day of the show can be a bit hectic in the beginning. We try and make sure the truck is packed tight the night before, but there is always some last minute thing that needs to be thrown in so we can head out the door bright dark and early. Once we arrive, it's all about making our space picture perfect and getting everything priced. When I say getting everything priced, I mean E-VERY-THING. A few times I have made small props that I thought would just be decorations and people were interested in buying them. We now make sure everything either has a price or an NFS (not for sale) sticker.

Next? Relax!!! As soon as the start time rolls around, it is time to relax. If you are still buzzing around your booth trying to get last minute things done then people will not want to come in and look around for fear that they will get in your way. Of course, this is the complete opposite of what you want to happen! People need to feel welcomed in your space and need to chance to be able to browse around at their leisure.

Having a friendly and inviting attitude and demeanor are also hugely important. I've met so many interesting and creative people at these shows. Strike up a conversation! You never know who might become a great friend, plus it encourages people to want to buy from you! Nothing better than that :)

Yes those are tired eyes. Don't judge :)

All in all, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I'm so glad I decided to make the jump from corporate america to vintage markets. Thank you again, Julia, for inviting me over today and thanks to everyone else for being interested in what I do! Julia, I hope you're having a great vacation! 

If you're interested in finding out more about us and where we're going, then make sure to follow us at Three O'Clock Winds!

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