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How To Be A Successful Vintage Booth Vendor #2: Mix of Sizes and Prices

Patriotic Decor
A Lovely Mix

I know some folks get into a booth both as a hobby and some as a business. If you are planning to take a booth as a hobby, you still need to keep your pricing in mind for yourself as well as your fellow vendors who are running a true business. It takes real work and research to learn how to be a successful vintage booth vendor.


Each booth within a store effects all the other booths within a store. It's a delicately balanced ecosystem. When you mark your items too low, you undercut your fellow vendors. When you mark your items too high, you won't sell. When you don't work your space often, it will reflect badly on the whole store and customers won't come back to shop. It is your responsibility to make sure you have your items priced correctly and to work your booth often to make it fresh and new.


To create visually pleasing vignettes and to have a financially successful booth vendor retail space, you need a mix of sizes and price points.


It's often said that small items pay the rent. Make sure you have enough small items that are easy for customers to grab and purchase. This generates revenue in between your larger sales. We recommend that your inventory be 65- 70% smalls (items under $20); 20-25% mediums ($21 to $100); and 10-15% large items ($100+).


In everything we create in a booth space, or even a vignette in a brick-and-mortar store, we are seeking balance. We are looking for a mixture of sizes, shapes and textures that interplay off one another and that are visually pleasing to the eye. I like to call this creating visual feasts. Customers are looking to you to show them how to display items in their own home.

Consumers often turn to retail stores for inspiration on decorating their homes because stores like Bliss provide a tangible and immersive experience. Walking through beautifully curated displays, seeing various products staged in real-life settings, and interacting with knowledgeable vendors can spark creativity and offer practical ideas for styling spaces.

Vintage stores often showcase the latest trends, unique decor pieces, and innovative design concepts, using upcycled treasures, giving consumers a firsthand look at what's possible and helping them envision their ideal home decor aesthetic. The visual appeal, hands-on experience, and trend-forward selections found in retail environments make them valuable sources of inspiration for those looking to elevate their living spaces.

You are in a partnership with the store owner


When you as vendors enter into a contract with a vintage market owner, you are entering into a business partnership. You are not merely renters. Our success and profitability hinges upon a vendor’s success and profitability. We are all in this together, so you must put your best foot forward.


Vintage markets are among the best small business incubators. They are a place where you can work hard and bring a financial blessing to your family. Be in it to win it. THAT is why you are here - to help. We, as the mall owner, have goals for growth and these are dependent on vendor growth to achieve those goals.


Example from Curate Hive Facebook Group:

"I visited a model store that blew my mind, this time in a good way. At 2pm on a Thursday afternoon, the shop was packed and 15 staff and vendors were working the floor. All five registers were open and there was a line to check out.


All but a hand full of booths were brilliantly staged.


Prices were mostly on the mark for retail, with obvious sensitivity for what sells in the local market. I’ve seen monthly markets operate this way, but never before at a shop open five days plus per week.


The owner of said shop is a mighty savvy business woman. She has put together a business model that is banging! She works with new vendors on staging, pricing, and many other fronts that we cover on this group. Bless her heart, she was visibly embarrassed by the condition of three of the items I picked. “You did notice how dirty these are? I want a happy customer.” I handed her my tax ID and she breathed a sigh of relief. “Ok, you get it. I did not want you to think the condition of those molds reflect us.” I continued to chat, telling her about this group and how I could see where she had incorporated many of our principals into her model. “Well, I try,” she said. “Some just do not get it and then wonder why their sales are so low. They usually blame me.”


We say it here time and time again. Treat your business like a business. Find a location that fits your business model and your style. Properly maintain your booth. Price at what the market will bear. Rotate product as needed.

Be a booth vendor that makes your owner and fellow vendors proud. One that makes money for both yourself and the shop."


African American female pricing items
Pricing Items

Cost Averaging

Whether you are buying vintage or wholesale, dollar cost averaging, or cost averaging, is one of several accounting methods that can be used. Cost averaging is an investment strategy that can be applied to purchasing. In short, this strategy aims to distribute the costs of items purchased together evenly.


When talking about cost averaging in general terms, we are talking about acquisition costs (cost to buy an item) only.


Example 1: you are buying wholesale products that are within a price range. On some of the products you know you can only 2 1/2 times your money, or maybe slightly less. You are also purchasing wholesale items that are on sale where your profit margin is much greater. Instead of accommodating for mark-up on each item individually, you can average the costs across all of the items purchased at once.


Example 2: you are at an estate sale and you’ve created a pile of goodies to buy. You know you will double your money on some of your items. Plus, you know these items will sell through quickly. On other items you know that you will have a much larger profit margin. You can’t survive in resale on doubling your money alone, but the numbers work if you evenly distribute acquisition costs.


Example 3: When we go to Round Top, we might get some great deals on some pieces and then pay higher prices for other pieces. We do a dollar cost averaging method for everything we buy in one trip. We usually end up paying more for items at the beginning of the trip and less towards the end when many people’s money is off the table. We won’t necessarily do 2.5 markup on every item. Sometimes it’s only a 1.5 mark up on larger expensive items and it might be a 10x mark-up on other items.


Do you already use dollar cost averaging in your purchasing?

Mish mash of items with garage sale sign
Garage Sale


Purchasing for profit

The foundation of your pricing SHOULD be profitability. This is a difficult topic for some vendors. I am here to help you build profitable businesses so that your business can be a blessing to your family.


To begin with, you need to buy wisely and ALWAYS with an eye for the profit potential. You need to first and foremost, stay within your style lane (We talked about this yesterday), and then choose product that will appeal to your demographic and your market and their price sensitivity.


If you are not making AT LEAST 2x to 3x on the items you are placing in your booth, then they should not be in there. Pricing is not "I'll just price it to sell" or "I'll just grab a price out of thin air". It is strategic and it's just plain good business.


No retailer buys a product without considering first if they can make money on it.


Profit is not just about 2x either. You didn't just pick it up off of the front yard and drop it in your booth. You hunted for it, shopped for it, hauled it, fixed it up, painted it, shipped it, cleaned it, merchandised it, merchandised it again, paid booth rent and commission fees, paid for business materials and price tags, etc.


When you get a check for $200 after paying booth fees, and you really sit down to do the math, I bet you aren't even making minimum wage. That is not profit. That is a hobby. You don't want to work for someone else for minimum wage, don't do it to yourself.


Anyone can sell anything if they price it low enough. The key is not to meet the low-ballers. The key is to make money. Have enough pride in yourself and your talent to shop wisely, merchandise with care, and price for profit. I could sell a 20k car for 10k tomorrow, that doesn't mean it's smart.


If you are doing this as a clear business entity with an eye towards maximum profit, there can be no willy-nilly, guessing games. Purchase with intelligence, write it down, keep good records, do your pricing research!


Wheew! That was a lot to cover! Please let me know if you have any questions!


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