Thinking of renting a booth in a retail space? Have a booth already, but it needs a little something more? You’ve come to the right place!
As most of you know, I have a booth in an antique mall where I sell the majority of the items I transform. If you are new here, welcome! I sell repurposed and vintage items that I have given new life to, usually with paint. I recently shared updated photos of my booth HERE, and each time I do, I get many questions from readers who want to take the plunge and open a booth of their own, or who are struggling with having success in their own booths. I am lucky that mine has done well, and I thought I would put together a few tips that I feel have helped me, and that others may find helpful as well.
To those of you considering renting a booth, I hope this answers questions for you as well. I will mention that these tips are for the type of items that I sell. I can’t speak for other types of merchandise. Here we go…
Keep your color palette simple.
I tend to stick to whites, off whites, soft blues and occasionally grays and it all flows together to give a cohesive feel to my space. These are colors that sell for me, but they are also colors I personally love. It feels uncluttered and easy to shop. And neutrals will just about always sell better for me.
Keep your style cohesive.
Find your style and stick with it. Don’t try and please everyone by having something for everyone. Most of the items in my booth would appeal to the same customer. Also I only bring in things I haven’t made over if they fit with my style, like the two black wire baskets I scored for cheap here:
They look perfectly at home here in my space.
I did craft markets for around fifteen years or so long before blogging, and one big one since I started blogging. If you stick with the same style, you will earn repeat business. Those that love your style, even if they don’t always find something they need, will keep coming back to see what’s new.
This tip goes for display pieces, price labels, etc. Everything in your space should be cohesive.
Balance the large with the small.
Here you can see that I have furniture, but I also have many smaller things to attract buyers to my booth if they aren’t in the market for furniture.
“Smalls” as those smaller pieces are called are vitally important to keeping your booth going. Not everyone can afford a large dresser and although I will make much more money on the time I invested in a dresser, typically it will take much longer to sell. That’s why it’s so important to add the smalls. If you paint mostly furniture and are considering renting a booth, you’ll want to keep this in mind.
Keep your space clean and uncluttered.
I know I mentioned needing the “smalls”, but don’t get carried away with adding a ton of tiny things sitting all over your surfaces. You don’t want to turn off a potential buyer who feels they have to dig a piece out from under a ton of small things to purchase it…too much trouble! If you have a bunch of tiny things, consider adding a shelving unit specifically for those items, or group them in baskets or on trays that are easy to move if need be.
Add height to your space.
I try to keep a tall piece or two in my booth at all times, just because it makes the booth look better.
If I don’t have any tall pieces at the time, I try to stack items (safely) to add height…
If everything is all at the same level, it’s boring.
Here is a time when I was missing the height factor over to the left there and it just didn’t look as good:
I ended up eventually moving a display bookcase there. If you sell smaller things, you too can create your height with your display shelving.
Also, no “island” in that photo…doesn’t draw shoppers in at all. Which brings me to my next tip…
Don’t keep everything pushed against the wall.
You may have no choice depending on the space you have, but if you have the chance to create an “island” of items in the center of your booth, do it.
If people can see everything you have just by walking past, they may just keep walking. Creating the “island” makes shoppers wonder what else is behind there. At least this seems to work for me, both as a vendor and a shopper.
When I started, my pieces were flying out of my booth, so I knew I needed to raise my prices a bit. And I did. Some feel that if you price things low, you will sell more and in the end, likely make more money, but will you be able to keep up? The answer is probably not. I see people who are selling side tables for $60. How can you recoup your time, effort, and investment at that price?
Your pieces are one-of-a-kind treasures that they won’t be able to find anywhere else.
At the same time, I see booths with crazy high prices on their items. You do want your items to sell, right? I mean that is kind of the point. You need to find a balance of getting a good return on your pieces, with offering them at a fair price. This will come with experience.
Here is a basic idea of what I sell some of my items for. Note that all of these depend on many factors such as uniqueness, time involved, overhead, and original costs to name a few:
End tables/night stands: $115-$150
China hutches: $395-$450
Chalkboards: small $25-$30 medium $36-$40 large $55+
I wish there was a magic formula for pricing, but when you’re saving tired pieces of years gone by, there are so many factors to consider, so there just isn’t. If a particular piece has been sitting too long, consider marking it down.
Also visit booths that sell items similar to yours for comparison.
Take advantage of the vertical space.
I found these shutter doors at a yard sale and spray painted them. Luckily my space backs up against a wall and I was able to screw these directly into the wall. I made “s” hooks from large paperclips by just opening them up, to hang my items right over the slats in the doors. Heavier items are hung on screws. There are many options for vertical displays though so find a way to take advantage of it! Even use the ceiling to hang things from if that’s an option.
Move things around. Then move them around again.
You are having a lull in sales, but feel like you have the inventory so what gives? Happens all the time, I promise. Move your booth around. I do this all the time. I flip flop things and remove every thing from the shutter backboard and rearrange. It looks new and fresh, and different things get a chance to shine and be seen.
I don’t mean that as harsh as it sounds. I mean if a piece just isn’t selling, rather than taking a loss, don’t be afraid to take it home and give it a do-over. Remember this green caddy that I redid for March Madness?
See the very green before HERE. It sat in my booth for over six months, but sold the week I put it back. I should have known…it didn’t fit with my breezy coastal color palette at all! (I broke rule #1!) I’m not giving up on my oval French coffee table just yet, though! If you read my last booth post, you know what I’m talking about.)
Okay I know I only promised 10 tips, but here are a couple more quick ones…
I tend to very easily sell things that also serve a purpose.
Trays probably sell the quickest. Chalkboards do well also, as well as any kind of small cabinet. It seems as though if a potential buyer can imagine how items can serve a purpose in their own spaces, they are more likely to buy them.
If something typically comes in pairs, sell them in pairs.
$5 Thrift Store Lamps (They were very patriotic before.)
Another quick tip that I have finally learned with lamps, end tables, night tables, chairs… If they typically come in or are used as a pair, they will typically sell better if you have a pair. I have sat on one too many end tables, chairs, etc where I had only one (and still am), but pairs never last long.
Advertise your booth.
This is a great idea that I have yet to employ myself, but thought it was worth mentioning. List your individual items for sale on Craig’s List, with the address listed of where the items can be seen. Facebook groups for selling your items are also a good place to advertise your pieces.
So…still considering renting a booth?
If you are going to rent a space, be mindful of what it takes to recoup your investment. Know that making a profit will depend on your commitment to your space. If you will be making things for your space, be prepared for the time and effort it will take to keep it stocked. I did take a break at the Holidays so I could enjoy the season, but I knew my sales would suffer as a result. If you want to be successful, you need to be willing to put forth the effort.
Find out the lease terms in the spaces available to you. For my booth, I am on a month to month basis, so I only need to give 30 days notice prior to vacating. If this is the case for you, try it for a couple of months and see how it goes.
I visit my booth a couple of times a week. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked in to a disheveled booth after a busy weekend. This was a few weeks ago:
Some of the girls there are great at filling in the empty spaces and tidying up for me when something sells, but some…not so much. It will be important for you to have a booth that isn’t too far away for that reason.
I love having a booth. Seeing all the pretty things come and go is my favorite. Because I blog about most of my transformations, I see it as the booth feeds my blog, and my blog feeds my booth. It’s a win-win for me, but honestly I just love to create and having this space to sell my treasures helps me fulfill that passion.
I hope that you have found my experience helpful. If you have anything to add or if there’s anything I missed, feel free to share or ask in the comments below!
Thanks for stopping by!
I’ll be back on Thursday sharing a quick outdoor project I created from these leftovers:
See ya then!
UPDATE: See what I created with them now HERE!
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