Monday, May 04, 2015

Not Every Show Will Be Your Kind Of Show

I have been in the Antique Show Biz for over 17 years and I've learned a lot along the way.  I also feel that I still have much to learn but this post I want to share my thoughts why every show may not always be your kind of show.

We all hope that when we set up at shows that they are all successful and maybe for each of you they are.  But I look at how much I've spent just to be there before I've made any money and considered it to be a successful show.  In the past few years I've had some really great shows and not so great shows.  Maybe that's my fault and the type of merchandise I bring or maybe there are just so many factors that I can't control, like things are now getting more expensive and harder to find among other things, weather, location, etc.

I do believe that not every show may always draw the type of customers that want to buy from me like they do in Warrenton or Fredericksburg Tx.  I buy vintage things, furniture and accessories and try not to paint any of it because I love the worn and original paint that the item has.  Now occasionally I come across a really great piece of furniture but I also know it won't sell in the condition it's in unless it's painted, but for me this is rare.

When I set out to set up at the Sweet T Vintage Market a few weeks ago, I really didn't know what to expect since it was my first time.  I did go in with the thought that this town might be hard to sell to, from what I had heard from other friends that had tried to sell to customers in this town.  Bryan/College Station is a mainly a college town and the customers here seemed to be mainly looking for jewelry, clothes, or painted furniture.  None of which I carry. 

I had prayed about this show and God had whispered "he would provide my needs."  But when so many things happened like dealing with the weather and rain, then the heat and humidity was bad along with fire ants, the tent leaked and I thought maybe I had somehow missed it.  He did however provide customers almost the last hour of the show which made me so thankful and I realized that he never fails us.

Due to these things, this doesn't discourage me it just makes me thankful for each time I do make a sale and to continue to listen to his still small voice.

I do want to offer suggestions to the owners of this market.  First let me say I know it's a lot of hard work to get a new show going and I know this was only your second show so I hope you'll listen to each vendor that may offer suggestions.  I'm not trying to be critical but this is a business for all of us and we work extremely hard at what we do.  We've all learned a lot along the way at what works for us and what doesn't.

1.  When you rent a tent, check to make sure it's from a reputable tent company, that there are not holes in the top so that if it rains it doesn't leak and ruin your vendors merchandise.

2.  Tents can be dark, especially if it's raining and dark outside.  Either provide lights or ask the tent company if they are going to provide lights or ask your vendors to bring lights.

3.  If you are going to block off all exits, as was done in this case, keep in mind that vendors need to be able to have easy access to their space not only for possibly unloading more merchandise that morning or to be able to unload heavy merchandise once it's sells.  I understand you want to prevent customers from sneaking in and not paying but there are other ways to prevent this like charging as they pull into the grounds or having someone check for wrist bands.

4.  Providing Porters is very helpful to vendors and customers and many shows that have porters have the vendor pay them for their assistance.

5.Check on your vendors during the show, ask them how it's going, do they need anything...this goes a long way.  Please listen to your vendors for any suggestions they may offer, we all can learn from each other in this business.

I do want to thank Tammy F. for checking on us and providing us with water.  And also for allowing her husband to help us load heavy merchandise.  I wish you both many great shows in the future.

It was a learning experience but I met some really great vendors and customers.  Hope to see you at one of my next shows.

Here was my booth at this show:

I'll be posting later this week about my show in Montgomery Texas.  Have a great week.


  1. So thoughtfully written. Bless your heart, sweet Theresa!! Can't wait to see you soon friend! xoxo Shannon

  2. Thank you Shannon, hopefully we'll catch up soon! Planning a trip real soon to come and see Ms. Beverly! Hope you'll be there too.

  3. It was definitely a disappointment! Junktion Alley's booth was under water both mornings. Of course, that added to our expense when we had to buy dry stall and wood chips to soak up some of the water just to get people to come into our booth. (Note: The organizers bought cedar mulch to put down... uhm, mulch retains moisture! It made a stinky muddy mess in some areas and I watched shoppers turn around and not shop because they didn't want to mess up their shoes.)
    I agree with all of the points you made and I, too, hope that the organizers will accept some of the well-meant advice to improve their show. They were supposed to send out surveys but I haven't received anything yet, over a month later. Tammy Farkas and her husband were very helpful to me when I had to 4 wheel back to get my trailer out of the muddy mess they had us park in. I also appreciated that she made the effort to come by and bring water and check on us on the second day! I am sure they were overwhelmed by all of the frustrated vendors they were trying to accommodate but some of that could have been prevented. One thing I am still puzzled about is why everything was blocked off they way it was. Especially the restroom situation. I have never heard of indoor vendors being locked out from the inside and having to go outside around the building to enter (especially since it was raining). I understand they didn't want people sneaking in for free but c'mon... that was crazy! And as a tent vendor we had to go through the pavilion and around to get to it because they blocked it off from our side with picnic tables.
    As I was packing to leave, (I am always the last one because I do it all by myself) they sat and watched me struggle in the dark while they drank beer and ate pizza at a picnic table less than a 100 feet away. Never offered one finger to help so they could all go home. I realize it isn't their job but another vendor and I stopped setting our own booths up to help them set theirs up during set up. She actually came over and ask us to help because she was struggling with making it look good. We gladly went and arranged it for her!
    I was astounded at the selfishness and rudeness I experienced at that show. It was just one "hot mess" after another. Lessons learned!! And trust me, vendors talk and compare show horrors and frustrations and I am sure the word is already out about this one. And sadly, it could have been so much better had they done just a few things differently... My list of improvements would also definitely have the tent at the top of the list, followed by a clear pathway for loading customers purchases. They had everything blocked off so you couldn't get in or out. I contribute that to greed because they were so afraid someone may come in without paying that customers and vendors had to be inconvenienced. Okay, getting down off of my box. Thanks for allowing me to chip in my two cents about a horrible experience at the Sweet T Vintage show. It was the worst I have ever experience and I have a lot of shows under my belt. :( On a good point...Glad YOU were there to visit and commiserate with though since we didn't have shoppers... ;)

  4. Great suggestions and constructive criticism help all of us with less experience who would prefer to learn from those who have paved the way and are gracious enough to Share their Wisdom and experiences. Dawn... The Bohemian


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