This last weekend Geff and I packed up the van and did The Island Chicks Show. I love this show. I always get to see my first ever friend Joni Sattler, now Bulfinch. I get to be in what I consider my home, Skagit Valley and I love the women who put on this show. Even if I didn't make a cent, which I do, I would travel a long distance to do this show. That being said. This time we set up next to some "newbies". And it reminded me of all that goes into setting up and selling your wares. I wish I could of talked with them before they ever, ever set up. I see the same thing at 2nd Saturdayz. So if you are new to the junk, sell your wares game here are some pointers.
1. Your tent is not your friend the first dozen times you put it up or take it down. I do not care what the box says. They are hideous beasts that make no sense and the only intent of the manufactures is to pinch your fingers and make you look like a complete idiot. Once you get used to it you will be able to put it up in a windstorm with sideways pounding rain by yourself and not get wet, but that is a long way off, years, years away. Ask for help. It is OK we have all been there.
2. For the love of all that is pretty and good, do not use your plastic bins on the ground as a display. Nothing seems like it is worth anything when it is on the ground. I know old time junk dealers that still pile their stuff on the ground or floor. Really it just makes me cringe. And I hate those plastic bins, you are not at Fremont or a swapmeet. You have paid really good money to be in this market and displaying your product like you are having a garage sale is just wrong. Can you tell this is a major pet peeve of mine? And another thing, what is the problem with going to a home store and getting a couple of drop cloths for table covers? Or go to Goodwill and get a old table cloth or sheet......really it takes so little to make things look just a bit finished off.
3. Sometimes no one wants what you made. It happens to me all the time, they just do not want it. 5 years ago when I made my first spoon necklace and took them to Barn House, Farm Chicks, Fremont, no one wanted them. Only Susan Wheeler loved them, (love the Wheeler). Took them to the first Madd Hatter Market and they where a huge hit, thanks Glad and Cel, but now when ever I make and take them anywhere they sell out. So this is the thing, sometimes your hitting the wrong crowd at the wrong time. I just get a gut feeling about something and know that it is the right. And I make it until I convince others it is the right thing as well. I work the way I display it, I fool around with the price, the colors, the sayings. Whatever until folks see what I am seeing that I think makes it a cool piece.
4. Do not start taking your booth apart before the close of the show, 15 minutes before is ok, anything before that is just disrespectful of all the work that the promoters of the show have done. Really wait the 45 minutes, what is it going to hurt?
5. You are not the only one loading out. This is a classic new vendor mistake. Pack your stuff up, go get your car, load your car quickly and move. Do not park in the middle of the road and roam away, do not go get your car 1/2 an hour early and park in front of the venue and the pack your booth up. Pack your booth, get car, pack car and move. So much irritation can be avoided with this handy little rule.
6. This is a hard one, if you can't act nice, act interesting. Or interested. I really don't have to act interested, cuz mostly I am interested in the folks that come by my booth. I remember one time at Fremont someone coming by and it was a crappy cold day and I was set up next to the pot smoking bad music playing jerk offs and I was just grumpy as hell. And someone came in and said something and I replied with, "the dingo ate my baby", we both just cracked up. I find a Steinfeld line to be most helpful in any number of situations. Folks have left their cozy houses to be entertained, by product or by encounter. Some of my best customers come and find me at every show because they know that I will have something to contribute to their outing.
7. The junk business is hard. The work is hard manual work, don't do it if you don't love it. I had a absolutely perfect day this last Saturday. The sun was shinning, I was right next to the water, Geff and Buddy were there I was set up to nice folks, Susan Plunkett was about making me giggle, I got rid of a bunch of stuff and made good money. Spending the week prior cleaning pricing packing and then all day Friday packing the van, all after 4 weeks after a hysterectomy, then getting up at 3:30 in the morning to make a 111 mile drive, unpacking the van arranging lugging, pushing crap around, spending until 4pm on your feet under the sun, and then packing it all up again and driving home 111 miles, that may not sound like the perfect day to everyone. But it is to me. And that is what you have to look at when your thinking of going into the biz of selling like a Gypsy on the road. No one wants to hear about how hard you work, really no one. There are much harder jobs out there. Geff has a friend who is an accountant for her husbands plumbing business, Saturday she was in a office doing accounting stuff. Now that is a miserable hard job. I asked why she wasn't a junk dealer, he didn't know.....
I mostly love, love, love what I do. This is a honorable great way to make a living. But it is not for everybody. Only you know if it is right for you.