More than five years ago I attended Vintage Market Days in St. Louis for the first time and fell in love with the event and the power of so many creative women coming together and showcasing their design talents for three days straight. I was addicted to everything about the event and I knew one day I would be part of it.
Fast forward six years later with two kids and two small business that I run, I was finally in a place to be part of the 2018 Spring Vintage Market Days Event.
But, before we get into the days of the market let me tell you about the months of preparing to attend. There is a lot of preparations that go into the event if you want to see some form of success!
In addition to signing up and paying for my 10′ x 20′ space, I also needed a few key things to showcase my work:
- A 10 ‘x 20’ tent, white with white sides and weights of more than 40 pounds on each leg to weigh it down, a rope, tape and a bunch of praying for good weather!
- Enough pieces to showcase my work and sell for three days. I had only been in business for a few months, but I had been creating furniture for 10 yrs.
- Lastly, I needed to have a way to share my work after Market and build off all the networking I did during the event (business cards printed and a website up and running).
So, let’s start with the tent. I’m a bit of a researcher and always have been, but I also love a good deal more than anything. I love a product that is made well for the money you spend on it. After researching for a few weeks on Amazon, Target and Walmart I found a tent on a Pinterest thread that said it was a super easy, five minute popup tent that came with sides and was white. Perfect! The website was very easy to navigate through and had good reviews so I decided to purchase straight from the company.
This company, while I received the product on time, didn’t include our sides. I contacted them and was met with lies and the run around, and to this day have never received any tent sides. The tent broke in two places while putting it up and shook with each small gust of wind and was overly expensive. If I could call and get money back I would, but the company’s customer service is actually worse then the product they sold me! I talked to four people from the company and no one was helpful or cared that they screwed us over.
After talking with other vendors I would either go with Walmart’s tent which I saw was an affordable, sturdy tent or one on Amazon. You can also rent one, but it can cost as much or more than purchasing.
- When preparing to sell products remember to think small, but have an even amount of large ticket items too. Not everyone is coming to buy, but you may pique their interest with a cute sign, flowers or an interesting picture. These little items add up and help your revenue, but large items are your bank. Remember if you don’t sell them you have to bring them back so prepare for that to happen. Especially if you end your event by yourself and you don’t want to have to carry or load very heavy pieces. For our first go, we had a mix of both large and small, but I wish we would have had more of our small tables, lamps and decor to keep the space moving and full of shoppers.
- Before the event I was so lucky to have a great team of fierce women, at Fierce Creative, designing a website that we could launch before the Market that would allow shoppers see what we have left in our inventory. It also allows me to continue showcasing new products for the future, because after Market you really feel like What Next?! Having a website ready directly after the Market has helped with the direction I’m hoping to move towards. Plus instead of a business card, the ladies at Fierce made me a postcard that shows our work, more about us, our phone number and our website. Shoppers could leave with information to contact us right on the spot. You will find that maybe you don’t have something that someone wants right now, but they really like what you do and they want to buy from you later- so have something there for them in the meantime.
Let’s get back to the event days!
We set up on Wednesday which was an extremely windy day. That’s why the weights are so important! It’s better to overdo it then not bring enough. We decided we would get everything placed and come back the next day before the event opened on Thursday evening and finish setting up because the wind was going to let up, which was perfect.
Opening night was such a crazy experience. You’re not sure what to do, but it was so much fun to see all the work that so many talented vendors showcased. The first night likely will not be your biggest night of profit so don’t get down!
Friday morning came and it was our first full day open and another exciting day to measure the full experience.
I felt we did better business then on Thursday evening, but still not what I was expecting. But, again, hold on because the last day of the event, Saturday, was also the cheapest door entry for shoppers at just $5. It was busy from the second we opened and stayed packed until we closed! We were so thrilled that we had practically sold out of all products.
All in all we can’t wait to do it again! 🙂
What would I change?! Let’s see, I definitely would get my tent from somewhere else! But besides that, I would have brought more small products and I would put new pieces out every day just to add some extra excitement to our space for the people that attended all three days.