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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vintage booth Vent

So, It has been about a year (and a couple of months) since I opened my Vintage Booth.  Initially,  things went very smoothly, with me easily making my rent and enough money to buy new things to sell.  Sure. I expected alot more, but my husband likes to remind me that the first year of a new venture is rarely profit making, so OK... By fall of my first year, about 6 months in, I was doing fantastically, and got a bigger booth, but then things began to fall apart. Right around election time, sales came to a screeching halt.

The staff told me:
~The election is distracting, it will pick up next month.
~The Halloween store is a distraction (temporarily next door), it will pick up next month
~Everyone is shopping for toys, it will pick up next month,
~It's winter, it will pick up next month.
~It always picks up in the Spring... next month.

Things are starting to get better, but I needed to see if this was the store (weird location in a dead-ish plaza) was the problem, or if this model itself is dying because people seem to be shying away from antiques and used furnishings, and etc.

So my friend and I who both have booths opened booths across town, a different town actually, and of course, everyone told me how much they make over there, but after signing up, for 6 months, and about 6 weeks in, we are having doubts.  Sure I sold stuff in this store that I hadn't sold in a full year in the last store. But, I finally got someone to tell me the truth that the vintage booth's traffic had declined over the last couple of years.  So since I am obligated to this very big vintage mall for a few months, I am testing it against my previous more intimate setting to compare and contrast.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Finally, and fortunately, a place that we tried to get into gave us a call.  A high-end boutique/design studio with booths that has to see what kind of work you do and approve you has green-lighted us and we are also taking a combined booth there... so that I why I now have 2 shared booth and 1 solo booth. But I feel real good about the third one I am about to open, as in the short times I was there talking to staff, I was in the way at the check-out counter.... I could not stand there are all.  At the other two places, one bigger, and one smaller, I could hang out for a while and chat. That is a great sign to me.

With that said, my biggest vent with my two current spaces, that the new space does not allow is this:

CLEARANCE SIGNS

They drive me crazy. I price my items very carefully and have a formula I use every time.  Basically, I pass on my savings to the customer... If I get something way, way below value, I just do my same math, and let the customer have it reasonably below value... I DO NOT try to figure out the max amount I can sell something for and then put up clearance signs when I am desperate.  As things got tighter at my original vintage booth store, I noticed that 15% then 25% and then 40% signs are a fixture in many booths.  This means that people are going directly to those discount booths and skipping mine!!  I feel like these signs should only be up for holidays and come back down, as the booths with the signs up all the time are not only short-changing themselves, but they are stealing attention away from the other booths... Currently the booth to the right of mine put up a 25% off sign, and the attention to my booth immediately went down. I put up a sign as well. I am going to be talking to both store owners/staff about this. It really is quite unfair, in my estimation.  I have had someone tell me to raise my prices and then put up the signs, but I have a real problem with being deceiving.  My items will always be priced fairly and games will not be played. The staff can call me if someone wants to make a reasonable offer on something... but in a vintage mall, if one person puts up a discount sign and it becomes contagious, it drives down everyone else's prices.  That drives me crazy!

Ok, there are other vents, 
~like moving your items into my space... 
~Crowding the walkway around my booth with your extras
~Sitting on a chair in my booth (other vendors)
~Placing your small items on my freshly painted dressers (in my space or in over-flow space allowed by the store)
~Having a booth that just looks crappy, devaluing the value of the other booths
Etc.  

So in short, I really enjoy this business, and am looking forward to my new space that avoids MOST of the issues that gets under my skin. I will probably keep one of my other spaces as well... the one that performs best, and will use it to sell items that don't do well in the upscale booth.  I am rooting for my original location solely based on relationship. I like the people. 

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