Thursday, January 2, 2014

Window Displays

 
Have I told you how much I enjoy doing a window?  I moved into The Hall Tree on the Centerville square in August and I convinced the owner, Emily, to let me have one of her windows.  (She has 4!!)  I thought that being a teacher, three little ones at home, etc... that it might be a little much to do it by myself.  I asked the other vendor there if she would alternate with me.  She said yes!!
 

For my first window I wanted to make sure that people knew I had moved in, so I wanted to include my name.  I have a bunch of projector screens from an auction, so I used one to make a sign.

 
Then I just added some junk until I was happy.  Here is the September window.  My very first.

 
Then, it was Pood's Picks turn.  I don't have a picture to show you, but it is on Facebook!  My page-Junk Parlor and hers-Pood's Picks.
 
November, my turn.  I had picked a load of mannequins and wanted to use one.  The Hall Tree is a woman's clothing boutique so I thought it'd be fun to dress her up.  I LOVE music sheets.  I hand stitched music sheets to a hoop skirt and added some vintage jewelry.  I also had scored a ton of frames and I wanted to put her front and center; the frame accomplished this.  I added in a little more music sheets and tried to balance out the display with some junk.
 
 
 
 
December - Pood's Picks  I had this vintage Santa from my grandma, that wasn't for sale, but I thought it'd look great in our Christmas window.  Susanne had already planned on putting in a mantel and stockings and so it was a perfect opportunity to use Santa.
 

 
January - The Junk Parlor  I really couldn't decide what I wanted to do.  I have these busts I wanted to use, but at the same time I didn't know how they would look on a white background.  (I just had a great idea on how to use them in my March window-now I just have to remember!!)  Anyway I had just brought in a ton of suitcases from the barn to clean, price, and take to the store.  I decided to incorporate them and traveling.  I had this Iowa map and I thought it would be fun to do a chalkboard quote.  I searched awhile on the Internet for a good one.  There were lots, but this one I liked the best.  "Go on adventures with me."
 

 
I can't wait to do more!!!!
 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Instagram

Well, I did it, I made an Instagram account.  Now I can't figure everything out, but I LOVE editing my pictures!!  Sometimes it is hard to pick which one to choose, but I LOVE the effects!










 
I'm having problems getting these pictures to my Facebook page.  I've followed the help directions a million times, but it's not working!!!  I will keep trying.  Until then, how do you get people to follow you on Instagram?  #help
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's going on?

 
Well, I have set up at a few small shows...
 

 
I have expanded at The Hall Tree in Centerville, Iowa...






 
 
 
I have grabbed some cool picks...
 



 
 I have LOVED doing window displays at The Hall Tree.  This one was done by Poods Picks, but with my Santa.



 And, after being at The Brass Armadillo for about 9 months I have decided to move out.  January 11 will be my move out date...2 hours away when this is my part-time job is just too far away!
  




 
And, I have been trying some new things in marketing..


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Taking it easy today.  Kash got up early this morning complaining of being sick.  That he is!  I don't want to get to far from him or I'll be cleaning up after him!  So, chillin' today which I don't do much of.  I always feel like there is something to be done and sitting down is wasting time.  So, I am productively being lazy today; if there is such a thing.

For the 4th of July I set up a booth at The Exline Country Store in Exline, Iowa.  They are trying to get a bigger flea market set up and get more people to come to their little town for the festivities.  The word on the street was that there were twice as many vendors and twice as many people, so I'd say something is working.  I didn't sell very much, but got to chat with some customers and other vendors.  It's amazing how everyone has their own story about what they like and what works for them.  I got some great tips from a neighbor booth Poods Picks.  I'd seen them at an auction or two and I'd seen them posting items for sale on Facebook, but we had never had any interaction.  I actually went to school with the husband, David's youngest sister.  But back when we played together, these guys were "old."  (For pictures of my booth at Exline www.facebook.com/junkparlor)

I'd say they have had success because they are good pickers, they BOTH like to junk, they make good use of Facebook and they work out of their home.  And, they are nice.  I think all of these things help make a successful business.  So, go check them out on Facebook - DavidandSusanne Hutt(Poods Picks).

So, this brings me back to my title.  Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.  All capitalized because I feel like I have lots of BIG decisions to make.  One of which is what to do.  Should I rent a store and have my own home base?  Should I buy a building and recruit other vendors?  Should I fix up part of my workshop and stage it like a store?  Should I travel to a show every weekend and sell from a booth?  Should I sell on facebook, etsy, ebay and focus on going online?  The problem is I DO NOT KNOW!!!  There are pros and cons to every choice.

Any input or advice?  Please comment, I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Learning from Junk Jubilee

If you follow me on "Facebook" then you know I learned A LOT from Junk Jubilee.  Junk Jubilee is a huge venue at the Iowa State Fairgrounds where vendors of all sorts set up their booths.  These vendors had to submit pictures of their items in order to be allowed to sell at Junk Jubilee.  This was my first show EVER!  It was crazy huge and stressful and awesome. 

So in preparation for my first show I collected a lot of junk.  As I painted and prepped pieces, those nicer pieces then had to go to The Columns so I could keep my booth full.  That meant that I took a little more junky stuff.  The stuff that I was going to fix up/clean up.  I filled my dads stock trailer, the cab of his truck and two mini vans full!  My dad helped me unload and then he left and I was left with a pile.  I had laid out my large pieces in my Morton building at home, but the space we were given was not quite as big as the dimensions we were given.  A couple feet can make a BIG difference in a layout.  So I had to go on the fly.  I got it done and other than Broad Street Market's ginormous cupola or another guys like 50' ladder I think I had my stuff stacked the tallest!  Check www.facebook.com/junkparlor for some pictures.  I did have to take a few things to the van to add later as things sold, but pretty much I squeezed it all in. 

I was very happy with how things sold except for my big pieces.  I was told going into this by more than one vendor that people will buy big things.  So, I brought my big things and then I took home my big things.  :)  I did not sell a single big thing.  So that brings us to my lessons learned as a first time vendor.

1.  Have something eye catching.  Even if you know it is crazy and won't sell.  Or something ugly or crazy or whatever.  You need something to make people stop at your booth and look.  I lucked out in this department and had 5 awesome pieces of 6' long architectural salvage.  I even had them on the floor and they still caught everyones eye.  They did not sell for me that weekend, but they did draw people in to look at what I had to offer.  Lesson.  Have an eye catcher.

2.  Signage.  I knew going into the show I was going to run out of business cards.  I had just got them and was going to use them as price tags.  I realized I was running out, but it was too late to get new cards in time.  I had my name on one chalkboard sign - it sold.  So next time I will have my name on something that is not for sale and on multiple somethings.  I will check my business card inventory early enough that I can order more if needed.  Lesson.  Let people know who you are.

3.  Checkout services.  So, I was lucky enough to have someone recommend that I get a square card reader.  I did and it worked wonderfully.  But, in all my reserching on line and brainpicking of other vendors, no one mentioned a checkout counter, but guess what everyone had!?  Whether it was a small table, bookshelf, file cabinet, everyone had something.  What did I have?  The floor.  You cannot wrap and bag smalls in air.  It is also a nice spot to hide things you need, but don't want everyone to see.  Next time I will have a checkout counter.  Lesson.  Bring a checkout counter.

4.  Don't kill yourself.  I didn't bring my absolute heaviest piece, but the next three or four heaviest pieces.  Remember how I said my big stuff didn't sell?  Next time I will bring big pieces, but lighter big pieces.  Lesson.  Save your back and pack lightly.

5.  Talk.  Talk to other vendors, pick their brains.  I was lucky to be close to Traci, The Shabby Next, whom I'd met through Facebook.  Then, I met everyone else close to me who I'd liked on Facebook, but didn't know.  I did a lot of brain picking.  The main difference between myself and them?  I was only doing this part-time to my real job and this was their real job!  Learn from who you want to be - talk.  Talk to your customers.  It is borderline, I had already read that on numerous blogs.  But, a lot of people talked about something I had and a memory it stirred up.  Or said they'd rather deal with me because I'm a teacher.  Or said, you are from Centerville?  Do you know...  Lesson.  Be nice and talk.

I'm sure there were many more lessons learned, but these were the main ones.  It's been two months now!  Yikes, the summer is almost over already.  I'm going to put my lessons learned to the test on July 4th in Exline, Iowa.  I've also signed up to do the What Cheer Flea Market in What Cheer, Iowa on August 1, 2, 3 and then in Des Moines at the Historic Valley Junction Antique Jamboree on September 9.  Stop by and say hi!

Neglecting and Facebook

Wow!  It has been awhile since I posted.  Often times when I don't post for awhile I haven't completely neglected the blogging world - I read my favorite blogs, just don't write my own posts.  This time though, I haven't even been following my favorite blogs.  Why?  I could say time, but really I'd say it is because of FACEBOOK.  I recently discovered Facebook.  I've had an account and I've scoped out my friends, but I've discovered Facebook as a business.

I set up a Facebook account (www.facebook.com/junkparlor) and go in spurts of being slightly psycho about my numbers.  How many "likes" can I get?  What can I do to get more "likes?"  When I post, how many comment?  How many share?  How many "talk" about me.  It really is funny because WHY DOES IT MATTER!  Most of these people are not going to drive to Centerville Iowa and buy something anyway.  And while other big boys can sell things via Facebook, I cannot.  At least not yet.  I will figure out how to make that happen eventually.  I am determined and competitive by nature.  I will win, I mean be successful.  Right now someone asks how much something is and that is it.

I know that I am not the only one who has an emotional roller coaster with Facebook.  At Junk Jubilee, my neighboring vendor and I talked about it frequently, particularly a lady who sells in her neck of the woods in the Chicago area who always has tons of comments, likes, and requests for price and purchase via Facebook.  It drives Jocelyn crazy because she has the same items, does the same things, and gets no comments or likes.  I see other business owners comment about it too.  I think a lot of it boils down to hitches in Facebook.  People don't see all of your posts because they haven't checked a certain box that they didn't even know existed.  And some people have more time to sit on Facebook at network.  I try to only when I am eating.  ;)  I'm a clean eater (aka eat every 3 hours) so I'm always eating!

Maybe I should spend more time blogging and less time Facebooking?  Or even better, I should spend more time working on my projects and less time at the computer.  Or even better, I should spend less time doing all of this and more time with my kiddos.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Junk Jubilee this weekend!!



 
As I get ready for my first show as a vendor I find myself super nervous/anxious!  I just want it to be here already so I can get some experience and know what to do better or differently for next time!  I am taking more junky stuff than I take to The Columns to sell.  I just don't see being able to take a bunch of painted, pretty junk to Junk Jubilee, for many reasons:  no workshop(in progress), no enclosed trailer(using dads stock trailer), no time(already have a full time job and 3 kids).  And I do not want to remove all of my stuff from The Columns and leave it empty!

A new facebook friend, Traci from the Shabby nest, recommended the square over a paypal card reader.  I had never even heard of square...but now I have one and we will see if I can figure out how to use it!  Traci has helped answer a lot of questions, like right now I need to ask her how much cash I should bring for this weekend!  You should go visit her blog and "like" her on facebook!

Here are a couple new pieces I have added to The Columns:


 
 
 
 
Other exciting news...I now have a booth at Brass Armadillo in Des Moines.  I took a van full up on Sunday so that it wouldn't be sitting empty, but the plan is to take some stuff up for Brass when I go to Junk Jubilee and then what I don't sell at Junk Jubilee I can just ship over to Brass!  This is what it looked like when I left on Sunday.  The display on the top shelf, is just display and not on sale.  Is that a good idea???  In a couple weeks I will make sure the booth is AWESOME and more my style.  ;)