You all may have heard by now that I have embarked on a new adventure. It is an adventure that I have dreamed about. And I continue to dream about. But now I’m living my dream and learning along the way. I opened an antique booth!
I sure did. I jumped in, head first. And so far I am loving it! And I am achieving my goals. I set my standards pretty low so I’m glad to be getting there so soon. Here is what I know so far….. it is different than what I expected. But it makes me smile.
First things first, I didn’t plan on opening a booth when I did. I went to a new antique mall near my house just to check it out. And it was huge! And beautiful! And affordable!
Here’s the story of the mall……. the large warehouse that is now Main St. Antiques in Mooresville, sat vacant for 13 years until someone bought it, fixed it up and decided to turn it into an antique mall. The floors are stained concrete, the walls are brick, there are exposed pipes and beams. It’s everything you would expect an antique mall to be. And it’s a 10 minute drive from my house.
I had plenty of furniture in my garage. And I was just selling it on Craigslist as I fixed it up. But having a place to keep it all and have it browsed at leisure by pickers and decorators was always at the back of my mind. When I learned that a booth would cost me $72 a month with the first month free and no transaction fees, well, let’s just say that I immediately signed the lease.
Then I began scouring Craigslist. And I hit the jackpot! Pristine vintage Ethan Allen wing chairs for $40, a vintage dresser for $175, a trunk for $50, the list goes on and on. From that point, I stopped worrying about how I was going to fill the space and started worrying about money.
I will be very transparent here. I only want to cover my rent for the first couple months. Breaking even is all that matters. And so far I have done that. In my first month I have sold a little over $100.
But here is what I have discovered, if it is priced over $50 it will sit. And sit. So I have been thrifting often to replenish my supply of affordable knick knacks. Also, given that it is a new antique mall (only open for 6 months) it isn’t full of vendors yet and a lot of folks don’t even know it exists.
I also wanted to use this as a learning experience because I dream about having a store. A furniture and home decor store specializing in local products, to be exact. So I decided to pony up some cash and showcase some chairs by Table Rock Designs and ottomans by Curtis Upholstery. They are so fabulous and I know they will find a good home, but it will take a while because they are not cheap. They are well made and carry a hefty (for an antique mall) price tag.
This is giving me a little taste of what retail will be like. Even if you think pricing is fair, someone else may not. And what appeals to you doesn’t always appeal to others. So it’s a delicate balance. You always have to be aware of your profit margins. How much did you spend? What is your mark up? Can you cover rent and make a profit? Are you keeping up with demand? Do you even know what is in demand?
There are a lot of questions out there that I struggle to answer, but like I said, I’m learning. And I’m loving it!