This month, inspired to do a little more, and possibly make a little extra pocket change, I rented a little booth space at an Antique mall. It was an interesting process, which, like many things, turned out to be far easier said than done.
I started by simply taking an initial inventory of items, both large and small, that I wanted to get rid of. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been undertaking what I have lovingly been calling “The Great Purge”. It started this winter when I read a copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and has been steadily ongoing ever since.
Being that I had quite a few pieces that I was ready to part with, I began by staging them. I stacked books, bud vases with peonies, little figures, or dishes that I intended to sell, all staged in a way that would be indicative of my personal style. In my research, I had quickly discovered that the antiques business is pretty competitive and that most of the booth rental spaces in this area have waiting lists that are months, even a year long. Many of them had lengthy, somewhat obnoxious “online only” application requirements that involved submitting personal information along with an ample supply of photos of your goods or of your current booth somewhere else.
My background is in sales, I worked in retail for many years, working my way up through management of several stores, eventually into visual merchandising. Which was the happiest I had ever been in my career. I eventually worked into inside sales and corporate sales which was much more lucrative (but far less personally rewarding or fulfilling). That being the case, although I was uncertain of this new venture, I am always confident in my ability to properly stage a home and all the decor in it.
I began applying to this store and that… and waiting, thumbs twiddling anxiously, only to go several weeks with only one auto-generated response. I am far too impatient for THAT silliness and consider myself a “take action” sort of girl, so I decided to get busy getting involved and getting to know the owners of these stores personally. I went to the locations around my town that I was most interested in and spoke directly with the owners. Some were incredibly helpful, offering insight and advice, others were a bit…exclusionary. Eventually, after calling several times, I was able to speak to one of the owners of my favorite antique store, “The Greenbriar”. He was incredibly friendly and polite and I told him of my desire to rent a small booth and my experiences down this path thus far. I told him of my background in Visual Merchandising and my desire to eventually stage houses in this area and in interior decorating and, just like that, he wanted to meet me. It turns out he also had a background in Visual Merchandising.
The next day, with toddler in tow, I went in to meet him with my iPad loaded with every pic of my carefully staged items and that was it. We just clicked, like old friends. I saw the space he had available, one he’d set aside for someone with design experience, and with butterflies in my stomach I told him I’d take it!
When I signed up, I was under the impression that I would have several weeks to get ready, to decorate, prep, organize, tag, and carefully design the interior of my booth. However, I received a phone call asking me if I wanted to try to get set up in time for their Mother’s Day event since it was their second busiest shopping day of the year. I decided on the spot to try, knowing that, allowing me only 8 days or so to prepare, I wouldn’t get it looking exactly as I had envisioned in time for the event, but not wanting to miss out.
It has been very much a trial by fire so far, I hadn’t selected a name for it so I just used “Pestle & Wick” since it required zero thought, and my sweet husband and I were at the store until 10:30 with my toddler by our sides. I learned that the stickers I had selected to price my smalls (that’s antique biz lingo, ya’ll!) simply didn’t work, they were cute butcher paper hearts but they were far too easy to remove and fell off of smooth surfaces like dishes. I learned that there are some pieces that I’m irrationally attached to, like my beautiful antique blue painted farmhouse table. I ALSO learned that you never know how much your husband loves you until he willingly drives with you out into who-knows-wheres-ville and watches the kiddos so you can pick an elderly couples old, super scary abandoned motel (yes, that actually happened).
It isn’t exactly as I imagined it might be, at least not quite yet, but each week I make little improvements to it and it’s coming along. I intend to post updates as it evolves. Please comment below to tell me what you think. Please follow me so you can stay up to date and follow me on my journey! If you have your OWN story about antiquing, picking, thrifting, or just retail in general, please share them. I can’t wait to hear what you all think!
I can tell you that my booth ALREADY looks differently than in these photos, but that post is for another day!
Be the good, ya’ll!