top ten tips for a successful vintage market booth

powell and co vintage market

Hello friends! I’ve missed you!

If you have been following along on Instagram then you probably already know why I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately. Last week, Powell & Co. participated in the Gypsy Junkers Fall Pasture Sale. It’s a really cool event that’s a kind of a mix between a craft fair and a vintage market. It was such a wonderful experience. The weather was perfect, the logistics of the sale were planned perfectly, and everyone was so nice. Few things make me happier than meeting fellow vintage, antique, and handmade enthusiasts, and they were plentiful this weekend!

powell and co vintage market booth
powell and co vintage market booth

I’ve done quite a few of these markets now and I learn something new every time. Tonight, I want to share my top ten tips for a successful vintage market booth.

vintage market booth

1. Research to see if the market/sale is advertised well.

You know what really sucks? Going through all the trouble of getting ready and setting up at a market or sale that there are no customers at. So, let’s avoid that. One really easy way to see if the sale will have a crowd is to look at the event on Facebook. If it isn’t on Facebook, that might be a red flag. If it is on Facebook, you can see how many people are attending or are interested in the event. The higher those numbers are, the more likely you are to have higher traffic. Consider other factors such as the location (is it easily accessible or visible?) and the history of the event (is it a well-known tradition or a random one-off event?).

2. Price things as you acquire them.

It is SO overwhelming to have to price everything once you’re set up or the night before. Save your sanity and price everything as you acquire or create it. For me, I like to price and tag my items after I have photographed them (since I mainly sell online) and that way, the price is already on there and ready to go when I set up for a vintage market.

3. Arrange to have help.

Whether it’s a sweet friend, a spouse, or the high school kid from down the street, setting up is so much easier with help. Have you ever tried to set up a tailgate tent by yourself? I have. It’s a really, really bad time. Be sure to call in reinforcements for before and after the vintage market. Additionally, be sure to sincerely thank them!

4. Share your before, during, and after via social media.

I share a lot about my life and business on Instagram. Last weekend, I shared photos of my booth and inventory on my stories. I had several people reach out to me to buy my items -people who weren’t even coming to the vintage market! I also tagged the location so that people who were attending the sale could see my offerings as well. It helps market the event as well as your items + gives you great content to share.

5. Pay attention to the weather.

All the markets I’ve participated in have been outside. It’s great because it keeps costs down versus an indoor venue, but it can present challenges for vendors. For example, Hurricane Michael came through town right before set up day at the Pasture Sale! Rain, wind, heat, cold .. they all present challenges that you have to prepare for. Spring outdoor markets can also be tough if you’re an allergy sufferer. Keep all of those factors in mind when you are making arrangements and packing for the event.

6. Get a Square card reader.

This is so important. You HAVE to be able to accept cards this day in age. You don’t want to lose customers just because you can’t take card. It is so easy to set up a Square account and they even send you a free card reader. The fees are minimal and easy to understand and it’s very secure. There is no reason not to!

7. Be willing to negotiate price.

People like to feel like they are getting a good deal. I often negotiate prices with customers on larger ticket items. I price them with this in mind so that I am not selling myself short. Don’t panic when someone is trying to haggle with you. Know how much wiggle room you have and do not go below that point. Be confident in your response. I very rarely have a customer not buy an item after we have negotiated it.

8. Offer a mix.

Think about it, not everyone will be able to drop hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture or even have a way of getting a large piece home. Having smaller items available increases your profitability + makes your booth look more balanced. Booths that only sell furniture or only sell smalls can sometimes feel bare or unpolished. Find a balance that works for you.

9. Group ‘em.

Group your similar items or collections together. It creates a statement in your display. And, as an added bonus, anyone that might be interested in that kind of item will be able to find it all easily.

vintage market booth display

10. Be a nice human.

This should go without saying, but you should talk to EVERYONE that takes times to look at your booth. Not everyone will want to have a full conversation, but I’ve found that most people appreciate the acknowledgement. I usually ask them how they are, make a comment on the weather, or tell them the backstory of an item they are interested in. I have met so many lovely people this way and it leaves a positive impression of my business. A win-win in my book, for sure!

I’ve learned so many of these lessons the hard way, so I hope this post can help someone not make the same mistakes I have in the past. Do you have any great booth tips? Let me know in the comments below and I will add them to the post!