The Junk Parlor

Antique Show/Vintage Market – The Junk Parlor at Junk Jubilee in Des Moines, Iowa

Phew!  Setting up at a vintage market is hard work.  Maybe that’s why I’m down to doing one a year!

Click picture for a video tour

I just got back from selling at Junk Jubilee in Des Moines, Iowa.  This show is held twice a year, but the past couple years I have only setup in the spring.  Having my own shop means I don’t “need” to do as many shows.  I like doing Junk Jubilee for a few reasons…

  • It’s close to home
  • It’s good advertising for my shop
  • I’m in an environment where everyone loves junk
  • I get to learn from other vendors
  • It’s a good fit for my calander

When I first started setting up at shows I did A LOT of homework.  I read every blog post I could find!  I didn’t want to do a show just to do one, I wanted to be successful.  Reading and incorporating other dealers advice definitely helped prepare me for those first shows, but you also learn a lot as you go.

What are some things I’ve learned?

  • Be prepared
    • Pack everything, screws, drill, extra battery, tape, string, shims, etc.  Have a FULL toolbox
    • Don’t forget receipt books, your square reader, a pen, MONEY
    • If you don’t sketch things out, at least have a mental picture of where things are going in your booth
  • Display your merchandise in an appealing way…think statement piece, something that will make your booth stand out and draw customers in.  You also need to create a visual barrier between your items and the booths around you.  Doors, walls, curtains, tents, or even stacking furniture.
  • Checkout area placement…you do not want your checkout facing into the booth.  If you have a line, that line takes up your booth and new customers can’t see your merchandise!  Use your checkout to market yourself and your business, have your logo visible and be facing the aisle.  People are uncomfortable if you are staring at them while they shop, so don’t camp out in the back of your booth.
  • Market yourself!  Smile, say hello, be nice!  I try to hand customers a brochure about my shop.  You can often tell the customers who like your items, so let them know they can see more or your stuff.
  • Rearrange your booth and bring extra merchandise/hold merchandise back the first day so that your booth looks new and different to all of those shoppers that come multiple days.

If you are shopping a vintage market I would say most dealers are firm on their prices.  I know there is all this advice on how to get the best deal, but for a lot of dealers this is their full time job.  This is how they make a living.  If you don’t like the price, then don’t buy that item.  One way that I think about it is to compare shopping at an antique store or booth to shopping Hobby Lobby or Target…who makes more money…mom & pop shops or the big chains?  Do you negotiate price at the big chains?  Just something to think about.

An event that I coordinate that is coming up is the Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt.  Check it out!


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Hi, I’m Brooke. Welcome to The Junk Parlor.

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