Fall 2015 Junk Ranch

I had all of Sunday and most of today to recover from our Junk Ranch weekend but I’m still just EXHAUSTED. It’s at times like this that I really feel all of my 46 years. As I was unloading the car yesterday, though, I was having all of these flashes of inspiration for my booths and for Daisies and Olives upcoming Holiday Open House in November — that’s what a really good junk show will do for you: inspire and energize you. And the Junk Ranch is a really, really, REALLY good junk show.

I have to keep reminding myself about how the Junk Ranch started out as a tiny little flea market in a church field with some 20-odd vendors — because on Saturday, when thousands upon thousands of shoppers flowed through the gates, when we were deluged for hours with folks buying our junk, when the line of cars went up the highway as far as our eyes could see — it seemed impossible that the small-town event that Amy and Julie poured their hearts and souls into had grown so large. It is certainly the largest event I’ve ever taken part in, and that includes the wonderful Vintage Bazaars that I used to do in Chicago. At one point on Saturday, as I was going to buy my lunch (purchasing from the food trucks is the highlight of my day, truth be told), I was just trying to imagine how difficult it is to pull of an event of this scope and magnitude — all of the food trucks. The live music. Over 100 different vendors. The parking. The crew that totes the big items to cars for folks. It is just inspirational to me that these two women had this vision and have made it into this gigantic, epic junk party.

All right. On with the pictures!

I was able to do this again without getting a babysitter, thanks to my amazing husband. He took the kids to school and picked them up on Thursday, so from 8-12 I was able to load up the car and take two big carloads out to the site. I got the tent up and all of the display pieces out there, leaving only the merchandise that I didn’t want to leave overnight (the prints do not do well when left out overnight because of the dew). On Friday, he took the kids to work with him (amazing, right? he was getting off of work at noon, but still, to sign on to have the destructive duo distracting you for four hours is above and beyond the call of duty). I got to the site about 9 and felt pretty darn good about how much time I had to set up (the gates didn’t open until 1) until I realized, at about 10:30, that I had left my huge vintage photo prints at home. So back I went, for a round trip that took about 40 minutes. Basically, I finished pricing my last item about two minutes before the gates opened and the crowds started rolling in.

Santa did not sell, so he will be moving into my booth for the Daisies and Olives Holiday Open House. Almost all of my Christmas signs sold, though! And I finally got rid of that globe, but for a vastly reduced price ($20). What the heck, people? Globes sell like hotcakes, but Shara and I both have had one exactly like this one and it was next to impossible to sell. Apparently, in the world of globes, bigger is most certainly not better.

I only sold one of the oversized photo prints (the globe print in the yellow frame) which was disheartening. I had high hopes for those. But I will try them in the booth and see how they do. It’s just more expensive to get them printed that size so the price point is higher than my other prints — but it’s still a bargain for art of that size.


So Friday was not a good day for my prints, framed or unframed. I think I sold, maybe, two. I was pretty discouraged. But then Saturday dawned and they were FLYING out of my booth! It was such a relief. I have wanted to display them like this since the first Junk Ranch — but the gusty wind has always  been an issue. Last show, in June, I figured out that if I used TWO strings of twine and clipped the prints at the top AND the bottom, they set up was sturdy enough to withstand the breeze. And it’s a GREAT way to get most of the designs really visible.

You can see the huge line we had before opening on Friday in the background.

It never fails: the night before a show, I become convinced that most of what I have is crap and it’s never going to sell. I was especially sure that these two giant cow signs were colossal failures and that I would have to pay someone to take them (which I would have HAD to do had they not sold because they were a carload by themselves). So I priced them super-low — the big round one was $42 and the oval one was $24. The gates opened on Friday morning and I see a blur out of the corner of my eye — two people, a man and a woman,  running over to the signs. They both wanted the two cow signs but the woman ran a little faster and snatched the price tags off of them; the man bought the meat and poultry sign. All in the first minute of the show! So there you go. Obviously, I still haven’t figured out what sells well and what doesn’t.

(Here’s a better shot of that sign with two little cutie pies standing next to it.)

So that’s it for my booth. As always, my best junking pal Shara and her Monkeybox full of goodies was right next door.

Shara kept her amazing collection of blow molds captive for the duration of the show. Until almost all of them sold, that is. We saw more blow molds blowing out to the parking lot. Very popular!

Her kitschy Christmas wreaths are glorious. This one sold!

Mmmmmmm….look at the deliciousness….

Wagon full o’ fun.

Look at this cute, cozy little set-up! I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute this would be for Christmas photos. Alas, the chair and tree sold and Shara decided to pull that cute little table since it would make such a cute display piece.

The only bad part about being a vendor at this show is I get precious little time to be a shopper — Shara almost never roams around and that makes me feel guilty about asking her to mind the store, since I can’t return the favor. I still leave my booth, more than I should, really, and I found some amazing vendors at which to spend my moola.

Harley and Maude’s  is a custom jewelry designer who was set up in the little ranch house this time around — her set-up was SO CUTE and this picture DOES NOT do it justice — it was dim in there and I was in a hurry to get back to my booth so I didn’t get a good shot. But she makes the absolutely cutest stuff and I actually ended buying a Christmas present for a family member who shall remain nameless.

Romi’s  is run by the two nicest guys — their booth is in Thru the House in downtown Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They had four booth plots (I think) and their space was set up exactly like a store — it was hard to believe you were outside in a field when you walked under their tent. They had a great mix of antique, vintage, and new.

Ohhhh, that bench. Those prints…

I meant to go back and buy this puppy from them but time got away from me. He was only $6!

I got in a hurry and neglected to get the names of these fine vendors with marvelous stuff, but enjoy the eye candy…

And of course I made it home with some goodies. Here’s my stash.

That AMAZING word card is from Monkeybox, the print is from Sweet Pickins (and used to belong to Amy, founder of The Junk Ranch, so as you can see, I have mighty fine taste!), and the chalkware horse was purchased before the show opened from Rustic Soul Vintage Goods. It was one of those things — you see it, and you know it MUST belong to you. Don’t know if you can see the price, but it was only $20 (and it’s really big!) — when I turned the price tag over I was fully prepared for it to read $50 or more but Ashley is a fantastically reasonable vendor.

This show just continue to grow every cycle. It’s just HUGE. And not just quantity — the vendors are truly quality vendors. I feel lucky to be a part of it.

Next: attention to the booths must be paid. Daisies and Olives was extremely busy during the weekend (it’s only a few miles away from the Junk Ranch site) and I know I need to go and straighten and take stock. And Christmas is coming! Lots to do!

But I’m going to have to wait until my feet stop hurting. 🙂

Hope your fall is going well, friends!

(Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @prettyquirkyblog !

October 5, 2015 - 8:15 pm

Shannon Your space looks great! Can’t wait to see the booth!

October 6, 2015 - 7:25 am

Erica I know I’ve said it before but this show is on my bucket list!! I followed along on IG last weekend and was drooling over all of the amazingness that is The Junk Ranch. Then seeing your pics? Yep, it’s a no brainer that I will be headed your way someday!


October 6, 2015 - 9:44 am

Leilani I would have loved to have been at this show. I’d be broke for sure- worse than I already am that is!!!! Glad you had a great time. I love that little puppy too.

October 6, 2015 - 11:37 am

Shara I always think my booth looks junky, but your pictures make it look nice – so thank you! We had a good weekend, didn’t we? But, here it is Tuesday and I AM STILL SO TIRED. I guess it is the let down of it all and working so hard for months getting ready? I don’t know. But I could sleep for days. Aren’t we lucky to have been with the JR since inception and to be friends with Amy and Julie??????

PS If I wanted to leave and shop, I would I swear. I like being there and selling and seeing people look at our stuff. One of these days I will wander to the back field though.

October 6, 2015 - 3:57 pm

Melissa’s Antiques I just found your blog through Shara’s blog! I am now your newest follower and admirer! Loving a lot of your stuff 🙂

October 6, 2015 - 8:15 pm

Eddie Mitchell Epsom salts in a warm water soak. Best thing for sore feet, ever. I always look forward to the JR report from you and Shara. I am glad that you have such a great system worked out. It looks like it went very well for both of you. And the kiddos are just cutie pies!

PS I want that “Talk Nerdy to Me” design on a T-shirt.

October 6, 2015 - 8:19 pm

Eddie Mitchell Epsom salts in a warm water soak. Best thing for sore feet, ever. I always look forward to the JR reports from you and Shara. I’m glad it’s been such a great experience for you all. Also, the kids are total cuties!

PS I want that “Talk nerdy to me” design on a t-shirt!

October 6, 2015 - 9:01 pm

Kathy Hi Lara, I am visiting from Shara’s blog and loved seeing all your photos of the show. I am your latest follower. Keep it coming!

October 7, 2015 - 12:10 am

Marci Lara your booth is fabulous and I missed not getting to shop it. You cracked me up when you said right before the show you were worried if your stuff was crap and nobody would buy it. I think that about my stuff all the time but come on, mine is not awesome like yours. Holy cow (pun intended) those cow signs were fantastic and it is NO surprise they sold right away! Well I missed the JR so I’m just gonna have to shop you and Sharas booth next time I come down! Next best thing. Thanks for the great recap!

October 8, 2015 - 8:23 pm

Pam @ House of Hawthornes I need to jump in my car and drive out there for one of these shows!!! It looks fantastic! I feel sorry for the big Santa. No idea why no one snapped him up. Maybe next show, Santa!

October 10, 2015 - 7:14 pm

Dianne I wish I lived close as these photos are wonderful. I would need a semi to get all the stuff I would buy home. LOL! Shara and your booths are indeed full of eye candy!


October 12, 2015 - 9:13 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, Dianne! I often think about investing in a semi…maybe when I win the lottery?

October 12, 2015 - 9:14 pm

Lara Jo Oh, Pam, I wish you would. We SO need to do a junk meet-up one of these days and all meet somewhere central. Not sure why Santa was so lonely, either, but he will go into my booth at Holiday Open House time and hopefully he will find a happy home then.

October 12, 2015 - 9:15 pm

Lara Jo Marci! I was so sad we didn’t see you but totally understand. Maybe next time? Thanks for the compliments on the cow signs — now I want to make some more. 🙂 Hope to see you soon!

October 12, 2015 - 9:15 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Kathy, thanks for stopping by and following — I really appreciate it! I will try to post more often to make it worth your while. 🙂

October 12, 2015 - 9:17 pm

Lara Jo Hey, thanks, Eddie! My feet are just now starting to recover. I’m not as young as I used to be. I have often thought about trying out the t-shirt game but lack the nerve to jump into something so foreign — figuring out where to get them printed, etc. But I see so many cute t-shirts around, it totally makes me want to give it a try!

October 12, 2015 - 9:19 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Melissa, thanks so much for stopping by and thanks for the compliment — I love new visitors!

October 12, 2015 - 9:20 pm

Lara Jo Your booth DOES NOT LOOK JUNKY EVER EVER EVER. And here it is the FOLLOWING Monday and I’m STILL so tired. I am OLD.

October 12, 2015 - 9:21 pm

Lara Jo Leilani, maybe you will get a chance to come some time! I swear, we need a junker’s meet up so that, like, 25 of us can meet in real life and duke it out at a junk sale! We can fight each other over all the cool stuff!

October 12, 2015 - 9:22 pm

Lara Jo I hope you get a chance to come sometime, Erica! I truly think it’s a sale worth driving a bit for. And I wouldn’t say that about just any sale because I know what a pain it can be to travel far!

October 12, 2015 - 9:22 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, sweet Shannon. I hope you get to see it in person at some point! Miss you!

November 3, 2015 - 9:39 am

Max Conner Everyone has run into people in their lives who are over confident. Usually naive and sometimes a bit jerky. Most people hope they never are seen as over confident. They protect themselves by not venturing out of their comfort zones. You, Lara Jo, are a champion of those who are capable and don’t know they can. I’m proud to know you! Great article.

November 4, 2015 - 12:19 am

Lynn Bland Please add me to your information email with a schedule as to where you will be. and question: are you located permanently somewhere? If so, I would like to know where.

November 13, 2015 - 4:02 pm

Lara Jo Awww, Bless your heart, Max! thank you for your kind words. I love being your booth neighbor!

November 21, 2015 - 10:30 am

Lara Jo Hey, Lynn! Unfortunately, I don’t have an e-mail schedule, but I can tell you that I have booths in Daisies and Olives (my primary booth, where my furniture, bigger items, and prints go) and Fayetteville’s Funky Yard Sale (where my prints and any items I pick up that seem to be more college-age oriented go). I also sell at the Junk Ranch, which has two shows a year — the next one is scheduled for the second weekend in June, I think (but check the website to be sure). Hope that helps, and thanks so much for the interest!

January 3, 2016 - 12:04 pm

Debra Hanigan Thank you so much for sharing. Often people have no clue what it takes to be a shopkeeper or vendor of many states’ shows- -no clue. First you have to (well hope to have an insight)travel to find quality, vintage items to then buy; load them; travel back to wherever; unload them (and I have storage buildings with great finds; just need a larger facility for annual sales); then pay for the booth or fair or venue space (and there are times when I have paid/well the company I represented actually paid for the most expensive ones with Junior Leagues- -over $2,000 for a weekend show or State Fairs- -over $4,000 for the run of a fair); then load it all with what you think will sell/and I have not figured this out either because like your photo art. . .one day will not sell a single item and the next = boom/it all sells; as a seasoned/older vendor in my 60’s without the assistance of helpers or husband or brothers, it is all taxing, but so worth the visiting (for the most part) of buyers or tirekickers; standing all day after setting up for the show; standing all the next days; closing books and figuring taxes; loading the truck of what doesn’t sell; travelling back to Oklahoma to unload at the storage building (which I pay $300 a month for). So there in a small synopsis of what occurs, perhaps you can share this with some of those naysayers who want to negotiate a price change. As I have told some of the great quality vendors I have done thousands of shows with. . .my time is no less important or valuable here in small town America as it is in the City! My handiwork, your jewelry design, the efforts to get those art pieces in handpainted frames, or make certain the rust doesn’t rub onto the inside of your truck = time. Time is priceless, and there is a price someone will pay for your item- -now or later.

Sorry this is so very long, but I have shared this over and over and always get excited over what others have to come back and say. Good luck with all your endeavors, and I hope to see you again~

January 7, 2016 - 11:33 am

Lara Jo Thank you for sharing, Debra! I think people don’t realize often that we vendors do not get rich off of this business — we’re in it because we’re passionate (and some of us are obsessed) about old stuff. Thanks for your comprehensive, detailed list of the costs behind things like this. I don’t have to travel for this show, so I’m really lucky — but a lot of the vendors at the Junk Ranch are from outside the area, so this definitely applies to them. Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to write such an informative comment.