Searching for Inspiration

Hi, Friends! January and February have been a bit crazy around here, and I haven’t rustled up a lot of vintage news for you lately. I got so desperate for some vintage shopping a couple of weekends ago, I drove two-and-a-half hours to Springfield, MO, where they were hosting one of those “world’s largest garage sales” at their fairgrounds. We do this in Fayetteville, too, and it’s pretty awesome — it’s HUGE, and there are many booths that genuinely have garage sale prices. Not so in Springfield — I would say about 95% of the booths were flea market vendors with the associated high prices. The thrift stores in town were badly picked over (probably because of the traffic generated by the big garage sale in town) and when I tried to explore a huge flea market in town, I got a call from Justin telling me he was on the way to the ER with Jack, who had fallen and bonked his head in the driveway. I know when I’m beaten — I packed up and headed home to join them at the hospital (I DID stop at Big R’s BBQ in Joplin — our favorite BBQ joint in the world — for dinner for Justin and me so I am far from mother of the year). Jack’s head was fine, thank goodness, but the day as a whole was a bust.

Without any fun finds to share with you, I thought I would do a Link Love post with an emphasis on tips on running a booth — I don’t know about the rest of you with flea market booths, but January through March are incredibly trying times for me, as sales flag, my finds are diminished, and my creativity seems as dormant as the Spring flowers. A little inspiration might be just what we all need right now.

I follow Booth Crush on Facebook , where they frequently post lots of flea market booth eye candy. Their blog posts are reliably informative as well, like this good one that rounds up ideas on packaging smalls for your booth.

I’ve linked this post before from Vintage Show Off before (Denise is no longer posting there, but the archives are a treasure trove of flea market booth advice), but it’s worth posting again — some eye-opening, sober reality about how much we’re REALLY making with this gig (here’s a hint: not a whole lot).

The Polka Dot Closet has a series called “What Sells and What Doesn’t”, where vendors from various parts of the country post pictures of their booths along with what does well in their neck of the woods. Looks like there are only seven entries, and the last one was in 2013 (Hey, Polka Dot Closet! Bring back this feature! It’s really interesting!) but there’s lots of good info and some pictures of display ideas you can use for inspiration.

Shades of Blue offers a pretty good run-down on what makes her antique show experiences successful. Some gorgeous photos in that post.

This is a great (if somewhat off-topic) article about using your local flea market as a business incubator — this is what I see folks like Shara doing with her hand-made creations that she tries out both in her booth and at the Junk Ranch. Great reading for someone who has ideas for a small business but isn’t sure about how to get started.

I’ve been reading about Tracey’s adventures in flea market booths for years (though I haven’t followed along lately — once I had the kids my blog reading unfortunately went waaaaay down). She’s got a gorgeous eye for display — you can peruse the archives for lots of tips and tricks.

Sue offers a tart and honest narrative on the ins and outs of the flea market booth business.

You probably already read her blog, but in case you don’t (what’s WRONG with you?) Shara at Monkeybox posts excellent summaries of her booth and market set-ups and successes.

And of course, trusty Pinterest has tons and tons and tons and tons of gorgeous boards dedicated to flea market booth inspiration.

Hope you find something bright to inspire these last dark days of winter. Spring is on its way, and along with it: garage sales! Hang on, friends, we can make it!

February 17, 2016 - 6:08 pm

Sarah The thrifts there are never good really.

February 17, 2016 - 8:17 pm

Dianne Thank you for the information. This was so timely for me as I am going to be starting my third booth and I want it to be a little different than my others!

Hope you have a great week!

xo Dianne

February 17, 2016 - 11:28 pm

Shara I know you and I set higher expectations for ourselves in our individual booths, but then we make good money at the one where we just add stuff willy nilly. I guess we are lucky to have two kinds of booths – your booth is so cute – mine is just shelves full of crap. Cute crap maybe, but not adorable like yours. It’s nice to have the other booth for our stuff that we might have donated in the past. Thanks for all the blog love as always. I feel like I am losing my creativity and not doing a very good job at the booths. Couple that in with two failed shows – and Phbthhhhhhh. Okay, I am off to look at your links. Let’s hang out someday! 🙂

April 11, 2016 - 7:43 pm

Lara Jo Shara, BITE YOUR TONGUE your booth is the CUTEST of the CUTES. It is one of my all-time favorite booths, and I’ve seen a looooooooooooooooot of booths. And as far as the FFY booth — you have such a knack for picking up the things that appeal to that customer base — that’s why you sell so much there! You’re a master, girl!

April 11, 2016 - 7:44 pm

Lara Jo Dianne!!!! Three booths!!!!! Oh my goodness, HOW do you DO THAT? I have two, one of which I share with someone else, and it just about kills me. I’m totally impressed! Good luck with your new one!

May 9, 2016 - 3:16 pm

Gay Correll Okay, I just have to tell you…I have just “happened” onto your site and have enjoyed looking at older posts, and in one of them you posed the idea of framing pages from older children’s books and whether or not it would be successful. I have noticed ones that you have already framed (actually one that caught my eye is one that I have also framed). They are adorable whichever way you look at them! Personally, I think mommas would be nuts NOT to use these sweet illustrations in their kids’ rooms. I have scads (and I think scads might mean hundreds) of pages that I have saved from books that have been “well read,” as well as vintage frames. I’ve framed and given pictures as gifts for showers as well as for friends who appreciate them, and our grandkids have them in their rooms. So, I think you’ve got a great idea.

May 9, 2016 - 9:20 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Gay! Thanks for stopping by! Which one do you have framed that I do? I still frame book pages on the regular — I just can’t stand not to have some way to display the adorable art that I find in these old books. Thanks again for stopping by, and I hope you come back often!

May 11, 2016 - 9:57 am

Gay Correll It is the sweet picture of little girls (maybe just one, can’t remember)from a book of prayers, I think. You also cut out an angel from that book and framed it. They’re just such sweet little figures. Sometimes I frame pictures that are less than perfect, too, just for the charm of the thought of a little kid writing their name or a single word on the page. I will visit often–sure enjoy what you do. Take care!