January 26th, 2016 we did a blog called: Why Does My Antique Booth Suck? Okay probably not the most tasteful of titles…but hey it got the point across. You can click on the link above if you like to read that post. It continues to be one of the most popular blogs we have done. So today we wanted to revisit this topic. Why am I not making any money? Why doesn’t anyone go into my booth? Why aren’t my items selling? Sound familiar? We hear these questions all the time. Maybe you are ready to throw in the towel. Not just yet though. We wouldn’t advise acting too hastily. First, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
Booth & Inventory
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your booth fresh is to make sure it is clean at all times. When you drop off merchandise, give your booth a quick scan. Is it free of trash? Does it need a quick sweeping or dusting? Maybe it doesn’t but a good housekeeping rule would be to do this once a week. I guess my Grandmother instilled in me from an early that you sweep daily whether it needs it or not. She said you never know when company is going to drop by for a visit.
Next, make sure your items aren’t littering the floor. Is the pathway clear and easily accessible for wheelchairs? I have passed up many booths because there were so many things cluttering the walkway I couldn’t maneuver without feeling like I was going to trip over something. Or everything was so jammed together I felt like if I moved the wrong way I would break something. I usually avoid this type of booth. If you haven’t worked your booth a couple of days it’s easy for things to get misplaced. Customers love putting your things on the floor or worse in another booth. So make time to walk around the store to see if you have any misplaced items. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. Chances are you will find one or more of your items.
Are your items easy to get to? If you have things hung really high up a customer might not be able to reach it. Not everyone is 5’7 1/2 like me. Just ask Dawn she is the shorty of the two of us. So please keep your short customers in mind. Not everyone will be willing to go ask for help. Just make customers can reach your items without a lot of difficulties.
Now Let’s Talk About Inventory
Some questions to ask yourself concerning inventory are: Do I have desirable merchandise? Do I have a variety? I think the more variety you have to offer the better your sales are going to be. But let’s not get all crazy with it. Your items have to be cohesive and blend into your booth as a whole. For example, if you have a man cave booth with all rusty tools, it is gonna look odd if you place all your best china in with the rusty tools.
Remember the smalls pay your rent. Try to have furniture, both vintage and painted if at all possible. Those larger ticket items will help boost your sales. If you are uncertain about your inventory you might want to spend some time at your store or booth and see what other dealers are selling. You could also talk to the store manager or owner and seek advice from them. Once you have established you have some good junk then try your best to work your booth at least once or twice a week. I understand not everyone can devote this kind of time to a booth. I know there have been times I could barely work mine twice a month. But I found the more I worked it, the more sales I made. Plus if you are working your booth when customers come through you are building relationships. You never know what they might be looking for otherwise. Let’s say a customer comes in your booth and you start talking with her and you discover they are looking for xy and z. Guess what you just happen to have those items at home. So you let the customer know you have them and you will bring them. Or tell them they can find and follow you on your social media accounts.
I always try to take inventory once a week. On those occasions I don’t have inventory, I still go in to clean and fluff and check for missing price tags. Little things like this seem to help. But regardless of whether my sales are soaring or plummeting I always rearrange my booth once a month. That way things always look fresh. You might not have anything new, but to the customer, you have a booth full of new things. So shake it up a bit, move things around. If my inventory is still sitting around three months later I usually mark it down or pull it out of the store and bring it back at a later date.
The first three things to consider when renting a booth are, of course, location, location, location. Hopefully, you have already done your homework before signing the lease. We always recommend stalking an antique store first and foremost. Is this antique store in a high traffic area? Is it in a large shopping center with an anchor store? Does it get a lot of traffic? Plan to visit the store on different days and at different times during the day. Is this store easy to find and or get to? Do they have a social media presence?
If you have done your research and think you are in a great location but have found your sales are still suffering ask your store manager if you are in a good location within the mall? Sometimes a back room, downstairs or upstairs is not the best place to be. So ask if there is a better location you can move to within your store. Talk to your seasoned dealers ask them if they think you are in a good location? See where they started out or ask them how many times they have moved around within the store. Tell the store owner or manager to put you on the waitlist for a better booth. The key is communication.
Displaying & Staging
Look at this gorgeous booth. This photo was submitted to us from Hearth and Gate. The booth is well lit. It is beautifully staged. It is made warm and welcoming with the cozy rug and pillows. This really gives the customer an idea of what these pieces could look like in their home. If you are loving the rug as much as I am you find a similar look here.
Displaying merchandise is so important. I can’t stress this one enough. I have been doing the antique booth scene for more than twenty years. At one time, I had my own store in Blue Ridge, GA. Well, actually if I am being completely honest that is how I got into the industry. I started out with a store before ever having a booth. As long as I have been doing this, I still struggle with creative displays. I feel like I have a good eye, but pulling it all together can sometimes be a daunting task. With that said, I have gotten better over the years and now I just feel like it is second nature. If you stick to the things you truly love your booth and would only have in your home, your booth will come naturally. Don’t try to be like your booth neighbor. Sure it’s okay to get inspiration from them, but if you see something is selling very well for them don’t be a copycat.
We love this gorgeous photo submitted by Michelle Nas from Pardon My French She utilized her air space by stacking to the ceiling. So just because you have a small booth doesn’t give you an excuse to not try. Just start stacking by placing smaller tables on larger pieces. But make sure it is pleasing to the eye and just not thrown together. This is very well displayed.
Here is another photo submitted by one of our readers. We love how The Vintage Goat and Garden has a beautifully cohesive booth with just three main colors. Can you guess what they are?
Set aside some time to walk around different stores and see which booths pull you in. Take a mental note or better yet, take a photo and study it. What do you like about it? Ask yourself how you could incorporate those ideas into your space. Take a photo. Sometimes looking at the big picture can help you identify your weak spots.
If you still find yourself struggling with this, seek out the guidance of a friend. Better yet ask a friend that is an Interior Designer. There are people out there who do this for a living. You might want want to hire someone that does this professionally. Maybe they could meet you at your booth one evening and for a small consulting fee…offer you staging advice. Look at it as an investment in your business.
Do you think your prices are reasonable? Walk around your store and look to see what your fellow dealers are selling similar items for. Check around other stores in town. Ask your store owner or manager for advice. You can have the most beautiful booth in the store, but if your prices are too high, you aren’t going to be making a lot of sales. Remember you can always start with a higher price first and lower your prices.
Speaking of prices…Do you have price tags on ALL your items? This is one of my pet peeves. I seem to have a knack for picking out items with no price tag. I no longer ask how much an item is, I just keep moving. It has to be something I’m really interested in before I take the time to go ask someone.
So ALWAYS make sure your items have been priced. You don’t want to possibly miss a sale for this reason. Sometimes tags fall off or they are removed. So always double-check when you can.
What is even more irritating is picking up an item and the thrift store price tag is still on the bottom. Ugh!! I raise my hand in shame. I, too have been guilty of this one.
If you are looking for some cute price tags be sure to visit our freebies section. We offer free printable price tags and more. Just click here. We also have the following blog posts about price tags.
If you prefer the look of white tags like these. You can find them by clicking here. You get 1000 for $15.65.
I think the black and white damask tags are adorable. Click here to view the source.
Remember having a booth is hard work but it can be so rewarding. You just have to have patience and determination. You are not going to get rich overnight. You need to do something for your booth daily whether is picking, painting, or social media shout outs.
*Please note this post does contain affiliate links. I do earn a small commission when you purchase items through my links, but at no additional cost to you.