January 31, 2016
Good evening everyone. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend. It was beautiful here in Atlanta, GA. I was able to get out and do a tiny bit of junkin which always makes this gal happy. While I was out picking I met another vintage dealer. I enjoyed chatting with Evelyn from Sarasota. It was interesting to see what is selling and not selling in her area. Speaking of vintage dealers…it has been too long since we shared one. Things got in the way. Life happened and well, you know. So today we are back at it and talking with Beth Nelson of Lavender Carriage House. Beth’s booth is located at Queen of Hearts Antique Store in Alpharetta, GA. I LOVE this store. I wish I could visit more often.
1. How long have you been a vintage dealer? 3 1/2 years
2. What type of setting are you in? An Antique and Interior Shop
3. How many booths do you have? One
4. What size booth/s do you have? 8×11
5. What do you sell? A Variety, notice I said Variety and that’s so I can reach a broader group of customers. I sell painted furniture along with early 1900 pieces of original finish furniture. I do smalls and medium sized items. Those are the impulse items and I really rely on those for what I call my profit. The furniture pays rent and fees. Mirrors do well along with Vintage vanity items. I keep art on walls to catch eyes.
6. What do you find sells the most in your booth? Figurines of dogs, perfume bottles, mirrors, pairs of almost anything as in lamps and chairs.
7. What do find sells the least in your booth? Larger pieces of furniture.
8. Why do you think your booth has been successful? I strive to keep variety and I really have to buy where I can triple my investment. I occasionally will accept a 2-2.5 times if its a really cool item, and it will draw in customers.
9. How often do you refresh your booth? Weekly. More often if furniture has sold,I never want to leave a hole. I aim to take on a minimum of 1 to 3 items each week to add new interest.
10. What mistakes have you made and learned from as dealer? Paid to much for an item didn’t do my homework on comparison.
11. What advice do you have for someone just starting out? Shop the area antique malls to get a flavor of what people are seeing. Buy what you like it’s so much easier to put together vignettes and you Enjoy the work. Passion truly comes thru in your booth space. People are attracted to organized displays. You must be scanning pinterest for ideas to use to make your own. Our customers are looking so we better be.
12. What do you think the number one mistake is that unsuccessful dealers make? Buy items they are not knowledgeable about, things that are not in condition they should be for age. Pay too much or neglect what it will cost to upcycle such as the knobs they can add up quick and take a dent in profit.
13. Do you do this for a living, part time or as a hobby? In the beginning my goal was to have a hobby that pays for itself meaning cover rent and materials. It never occurred to me as a beginner I wouldnt. I can say in 3.5 yrs only one time I had to pay 40.00 of a 100.00 month rent., my very 1st month of my 1st (not so full booth) But that drove me that this was going to be successful and be able to have as having positive income, meaning I need to make some money at this too. All of course while having fun and meeting wonderful people.
14. Do you stick to a specific color scheme with your booth? No, I try to blend to make it interesting by grouping like colors families together. When I’m hunting I keep in mind what I have already. Its amazing but you will be drawn to be on lookout for current stock.
15. Do you utilize social media, and if so, which ones work best? My Antique Mall has a website that is very active and offers Features we can submit item for highlight.Facebook.
16. What is an average month in sales for your booth? 500 to 650
17. How do you break down and come up with your prices? Goal is to triple sometimes you can do better, the smaller items I can usually do better.
18. Do you price your items with even, odd or somewhere in the middle? I avoid rounded dollars. Instead of 150.00 I’ll do 149.00
19. Do you change your booth out to reflect the season and or holidays? Yes, some holiday seasons more than others. But always the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. This business is to have fun too and it always re energizes you to be more creative.
20. Do you swap out stale merchandise or do you reduce it for a fast sale? Both.
21. Do you think booth location is important? Yes. I have never been in a rear or basement or upstairs. In 3 malls I’ve always been in middle not necessarily center aisle mall and I’ve been very pleased.
22. Do you use any kind of inventory software for your personal use? Spreadsheets.
23. Do you market your booth/s outside social media? If conversation leads to it I always mention what mall and location I’m in.
25. Do you sell online too? If so which venue do you use -Ebay/Etsy/Other? No I do not sell online. No I do not sell online.
26. Would you like to own your own store someday? Yes, a goal is for when my sister gets to move to Georgia to have a small shop. Benefit is both our husbands are handy and we have full support.
27. Do you ever participate in barn sales or pop up sales? If so, how many a year? I’ve only participated in one pop up sale and I found people were wanting garage sale prices. So I’d rather put my effort into keeping my booth at tops!!!
28. Where do you find your vintage goods? Everywhere…. literally even when I go on vacation and different cities. In not picky.
I hope you all enjoyed Beth’s interview. Thank you, Beth for taking the time to share all this great info with all of us. Wishing you continued success with your booth for the future. Be sure to stop back by next Sunday for another great dealer interview.