Are you thinking about getting rid of some of your good junk? Here is an easy guide on “How to Sell Your Good Junk at a Vintage Market”.
If you are considering selling your good junk or thinking about starting a business reselling repainted furniture and repurposed items there are a couple of ways to do that. You could rent a shop of your own with all of the utilities, insurance, and liabilities that go with a brick and mortar business. Or you could rent a space at an antique mall. But a good way to do that is to rent a space at either a flea market or a Vintage Market. Some of the markets are better than others, of course.
I have done all three so this is a “been there done that” sort of post. It takes a lot of merchandise to stock a brick and mortar store and location is key. Lately, my preference is selling at a vintage market. Keep reading for some of my how-to’s.
Our junk hunting, garage sale, and estate sale treasures are all coming together for a weekend at Petticoats on the Prairie. Can this pile of rusty, chippy stuff be transformed into a cute booth space at this wonderful Vintage Market? We had piles and piles and we were so busy unloading and stacking that I didn’t get many photographs.
I have sold at art shows, wholesale markets, and vintage markets for 40 years. So, I have learned a few things to do and a whole lot of things not to do.
This is my fifth time to have a booth at Petticoats on the Prairie. I have just a few tips for you on How to Sell Your GOOD JUNK at a Vintage Market.
The first thing, of course, is you need to have good junk, not just any junk.
What do I mean by good junk? Rusty, chippy, dusty collectibles. Pay attention to trends in antique and vintage merchandise. Do you have what the buyers want?
- Furniture – repainted or original finish
- Little metal tool boxes – I sold all of mine this time
- Frames and shutters
- Mirrors and silver platters
- Suitcases and hat boxes
- Vintage toys and collectibles
- Birdcages and bicycles
- Vintage lace and linens
Be sure when you purchase for reselling, that you have room for a mark up so you can make a profit. You will need to cover your expenses.
Don’t take your garage sale rejects like grimy plastic storage containers that never have lids that match. But hey, if you have 1970’s and 80’s gold, green, or orange Tupperware in good condition, there are collectors that look for that retro look.
This year’s vintage sale is in the books and this was the team: Kathy (new to the junk business), yours truly, and Jackie, aka Hacki Shack (retiring from the junk business). You may have seen Jackie in some of my Junk Hunting posts or in How to Decorate with Junk.
This market happened the end of June right here in our hometown. We usually have to travel to get to Petticoats but not this time!!!
Next: Select the vintage market where you would like to have a booth.
Don’t wait until the last minute. You may not get a booth space or it might not be a good spot. There are lots of vintage markets and flea markets. Here is a link for Flea Markets in the USA.
Visit some flea markets to do a little research first. Ask market coordinators about:
- Booth rental prices
- Merchandise rules, what is allowed and what is not.
- The approval process – Do you need to submit photos of your booth set up, etc?
- Legal, liability, insurance and tax requirements
- Do they have booths available? Is there a waiting list?
My favorite way is to ask the vendors for their recommendations for other markets.
This is last year with me, Renee aka The Junkyard Queen, and Jackie. And the year before, it was me, Jackie and Julie. We are definitely Junkin’ Girlfriends. Our t-shirts say, “I HAVE ALL THE JUNK I NEED…said no junker ever!” You can find those by clicking on the shop link.
What a pile of…
… GOOD STUFF – TREASURES!!!
Third: To conduct sales at a vintage market or flea market you will probably need a sales tax number.
Most Vintage Markets require that you have a tax number. I got mine from the state comptroller. There was no charge for acquiring the sales tax number but if you collect sales tax then you are required to pay sales tax.
We price our items in even dollar amounts with the tax included. It is so much easier when the booth is packed with people to make change quickly. And let me just say, Petticoats packs them in. They advertise months in advance with big billboards on the highway, posters all over town, newspaper, radio, and their social media reach is huge.
Don’t you just love Jackie’s painted and distressed furniture? As her crew brought in the pieces and brought in the pieces and brought in the pieces (no, that’s not a typo) I thought how in the world are we going to fit everything in our booth. I always panic and she is always amazing. She has such a gift for decorating and displaying.
They all sold.
Fourth: Price your items accordingly.
- Are they antiques or vintage? There is a difference.
- How bad do you want to get rid of it?
- Leave yourself some bargaining room. Some may ask, “Is this your best price?”
- If you are not willing to negotiate then mark your item with the price and the word “FIRM”.
- If it is damaged like a torn or stained tablecloth or a piece of porcelain the has a chip, price it and add the words, “As is”. That indicates to the buyer that you know it is torn or chipped and they will also know that. It is so disappointing to get home with a beautiful treasure only to discover a tear or chip that you didn’t know was there. Now you don’t need to do that with the rusty, dusty, and chippy stuff.
- Price ahead of time as you are getting the items ready. Mark with your initials if you are sharing the booth space.
- DON’T use a permanent marker directly on the items. Use tags or labels. Jackie uses a deck of playing cards. She punched a hole in one corner and then used jute or twine to attach it to the piece. I use white string tags from the office supply that I have tea dyed.
Fifth: If you don’t have friends or partners sharing the space, then you might need to hire a helper.
You need to be able to leave your booth, to walk around, to go eat, or to go potty. It also helps when the booth is full and customers are waiting for answers or are ready to complete their purchase.
Petticoats on the Prairie is a Premiere Vintage Market and they have unloading helpers that work for tips.
Sixth: What all do you need to take for setting up your space?
- Toolbox – it doesn’t have to be a huge one. hammer, screwdriver, push pins, hooks, paper clips,
- Small step ladder or step stool
- Support or divider walls. That could be old doors or lattice.
- Tables, shelves, and a chair or two.
- Extension cords, if they have electricity available
- Lighting, clamp on lights or lamps
- A check-out area. We use a small table. This time we sold the chair I was using.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to step up and especially if the booths are not assigned.
Add lamps to warm up an area.
Jackie grouped our white items together.
I make a lot of small handmade items: jewelry, cross body bags, tassels, Scrappy Snappy Bags
and TAGS using vintage lace and ephemera.
Finally: Treat your vintage market booth like a little shop.
Be professional. Consider a credit card service like PayPal or Square. Almost half of our transactions are with a credit or debit card.
As items are sold and moved out, rearrange your booth. Refrain from negativity and complaining. If the market coordinators have a specified time to take down your display – wait until that time to begin taking down your booth. Be considerate and remember that the other vendors are just as ready to get back home as you are.
Last two years our booth was right by the front entrance, which is a great location. We had a space where we held the SOLD items for our customers. These were items that they purchased from us. When they finished shopping they came back to our booth to retrieve their wonderful, newly acquired treasures.
Don’t forget to promote your items on social media. Jackie created a lot of interest and sales by uploading photos and descriptions onto her Facebook business page.
It is fun junk hunting with your girlfriends. It is a little more work cleaning or repairing or repurposing or repainting those treasures. It is a lot of work to pack and load and travel and unload and set-up and load up again to travel home. BUT…
Marc Anthony said, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”
That’s true – almost!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3: 23-24
’til next time
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