5 Things I Learned in my First 3 Months Owning An Antique Booth

Running an antique booth in normal times is hard, much less deciding to take ownership of one for the first time during a pandemic.

So, why did i decide to take the leap? The price and the timing was actually right; Take that 2020!

When i first created my reselling business, I planned a few long term goals, one of which was opening a brick and mortar store. I still dream of a little house on a piece of land, where my local community can visit and shop the cutest clothes and foraged treasures that would fill their homes and closets with character.  A place that smells like coffee and lavender and makes visitors feel like family.

Renting a booth lets me test this concept on a smaller scale. And in my short time as a booth owner, I have learned so many things that helps me hone my brand and grow in my business. Here are my top 5 things, so far:

Buy What You Love

Not what you think will sell.

You can never accurately predict what other people will like, much less buy. My booth is the most successful (and I have the most fun) when I shop for items that I would buy for my own closet or display in my home. Stay true to you and your brand, and your customer base will find you.

Think Ahead 

How long do you plan to have your booth? If its for just a few months, like for just the holiday season, shop for what’s in season or the current styles. If you plan on keeping your space for longer, try to shop for things a few months ahead of time.

Holiday Blanket Ladder Styling

I started my booth in October and found that customers where already ready to buy decor for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and done shopping for Halloween! Look to your favorite retail store to see what they are promoting and selling, and follow suit.

Move It Around

Now that you’ve found the perfect items for your booth and likely spent an hour or two setting it all up, move it again. Let go of perfectionism (I know its hard!) and commit to visiting and moving things around in your space on a weekly basis. Especially if you aren’t selling things at your desired rate.

One of the appeals of an antique market is that its never the same each time you visit. Make your booth appear different and constantly successful by changing things around as much as possible, even if nothing new has been added.

Market Yourself

Your antique mall or booth owners might have a social media account or marketing plan of their own and so should you! Try free advertising spaces like Facebook or Instagram to promote your items, and if you are posting on Marketplace or selling apps, just be sure to include the booth location and open times for safe pickup.

Keep Track of your Numbers

You should know exactly what is in your booth at all times. Make a spreadsheet of items you display, including how much it cost, the listing price, and the date you put it in the booth. My owners keep track of everything that sells on a daily basis and sends vendors an alert at the close of every business day with an itemized list. It is very helpful to know when a large item sells, so I can plan a visit to rearrange, and helps me keep track of my profit margins.

Since starting an online boutique last year, I have missed the camaraderie of an office environment. Building relationships with other booth vendors has filled this void for me, and interacting with customers has just been down right fun!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the new friendships and learning opportunities that owning a booth has given me! If you are looking to branch out and diversify your income or business, I highly recommend taking the plunge.

You can visit my antique booth (#22) at Melville Trading Company in Mebane, North Carolina on Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sundays until Christmas from 12-4pm. Get sneak peeks and follow along on my thrifting adventures on Instagram @ThriftinthePines.

Happy Thrifting!