I can hardly believe that a week has passed since the Barn Sale! The weekends leading up to the show blended into a blur of preparations filled with shopping, making lists of things to do, things to make, things to take, and things over which to panic. I have too much, I don't have enough, my space is too small, my space is too big, this won't all fit in the trailer, will I sell any of it, do I have enough smalls, what should I take from the mall booth, why did I sign up for this again, hey mom can you bring ________, how much cash do I need, should I take a day off of work, will it be freezing cold or sweltering hot, and, most of all, what am I going to wear?
Yes, of all those concerns, I fixated most on my attire. I had planned for a funky fall look since it had been a bit cooler, but the weather took a sharp turn back to hot and humid for the show. Like high 80's. Great flip flop weather...but there is just something odd about wearing sandals while trying to sell Christmas ornaments and other decor. And my years of experience sitting in sheep barns, coupled with what little practicality I have, told me it was not sensible to wear flip flops in a show barn. Since you are now on the edge of your seat to know what I wore, I went with boots and ...shorts! I hope it looked better than it sounds.
But I started Friday morning with my tennis shoes and work clothes. There was a lot of work to be done - the equivalent of packing and moving a small apartment into a trailer. And I had just the perfect people to here to help me get the job done - my wonderful mom and dad! They drove all the way to TX from IL to help me at the show. This was no leisurely trip for them; they drove 17 hours straight to get here on Thursday, and then they help me pack a trailer full of heavy furniture and endless bags of little things, drive to Gonzales, unload and set up in the Texas heat, sell, and then pack it all back up to unload it one final time. As if that weren't enough, they used Sunday morning to take the chain saw to some of our trees in the backyard, and then they were back on the road home. Talk about an exhausting four days! I cannot thank them enough, and there is no way I would have been prepared for this show without them. So thank you, Mom and Dad!
I am so glad I changed my UHaul reservation to the largest trailer.
Here are my hard-working parents moving furniture while I document the experience.
Equally as important, yes? Or not...I got to work after this picture.
I've never seen our garage so empty. It took us less than an hour to fit the entire 'set' in the trailer, van, and back of my SUV. That's right, two vehicles full and a UHaul.
My mom is talented at so many things, but she could write a book on how to pack, be it a suitcase or a cargo trailer. Everything had its place and nothing was sliding around in the back.
This is how my space began (with about 20 boxes and bags filled with stuff off to the side).
Just like the Uhaul, I upgraded my booth size at the last minute (from a 10 x 10 to a 10 x 15) and I am so glad that I did!
I was on the southwest side of the building so the light flooded in on Friday evening for the early shoppers.
Lots from this picture sold: chicken nester, milk crate, two shutters, ball jars, red scale, crochet snowmen, and, my favorite, the sled. I sold two sleds over the two day sale!
Here are another dozen shots of my space:
This turkey platter was a hit. Glad someone will use it to entertain this Thanksgiving!
It wasn't going to get much use in my house.
This sexy lady sold at the mall just yesterday! I will miss her but I'm happy for her in her new home.
A beautiful Texas sunset on Friday evening.
See that ladder there in the middle? My dad put that there and it looked great! Good eye, Dad!
Andrew made it down for the show after work on Friday.
Here's my dad, who even got his own nametag! He is used to being in barns - filled with livestock.
Love the view of the hay field on the side of the barn!
The sky opened up and poured at about 4pm, just as the show ended on Saturday. While loading, the rains subsided and this rainbow surfaced! A perfect ending to a great show.
I learned a lot in my inaugural show. The biggest lesson, one that I anticipated, is that a show is a TON of work! So to all you who travel and set up at shows frequently, wow! There is so much preparation from shopping to staging and packing to pricing. I wasn't sure what to expect but I did my best to get ready. Here are some things that worked well for me:
-I staged my booth in the garage the weekend before to see how much would fit and what looked good where. Huge timesaver when setting up since I knew where each piece was going.
-During staging, I was able to create some color blocking; reds and holiday were near the white shelf, greens and golds by the green table, neutrals by the chair up front, and blues/yellows by the dresser.
-I had some gorgeous dried flowers from Marburger to place around the space to soften up the harsh lines of furniture and bring in even more color. The candles helped warm the area as well.
-I like accenting with natural elements - coffee beans and dried peas are my favorite.
-My signage helped announce my space - huge thanks to my wonderful mom and friend Aden for giving me such great signs.
-Wrap area: my mom brought a really cool old wooden ironing board (many asked about it, but it was not for sale!) where we could wrap items off to the side.
-Bags, tags, and tissue: I collected tissue paper and brown paper bags with handles for a month and my mom brought bags as well. In fact, she even blew up my business cards and labeled the bags she brought!
These were great for our shoppers not only for the goods they bought from us, but also to carry the items they got from other vendors.
-I made just the right selection of words on my spoon pendant necklaces. I stressed so much about these! They were good sellers.
It turns out I was more prepared than I thought. All that shopping really does give one good insight as to what you need. And I need to credit the experience I gained from working with Karen at the Country Living Fair. She was full of suggestions and reassurance that it would all come together - and it did!
So the big question I get is, "How did it go?! Did you make some money?" Having never done a show before, I had no idea what to expect with sales and profit. I did come up with a rather arbitrary figure that I had hoped to make, but Andrew kept reminding me that it was my first show and it would be ok even if I didn't get there. Well, I am so very happy to report that, despite not selling ONE piece of furniture, I met and surpassed my $ goal! I sold tons of smalls and those really do add up. In fact, they are what keep this business afloat. So while I was disappointed about having to haul back all the heavy stuff, I was very satisfied with the sales, the customer feedback, and the fun of the show. Customers were so generous with the compliments and that alone made me feel that all this work was worth it. I met some amazingly talented and sweet vendors, and I truly had FUN. I can't wait for next year!
Special thanks to Suzanne and Tracy, the girls from Rusted Gingham, for not only taking on Barn Chic Antiques at the Barn Sale, but also for working tirelessly to make this show so successful and enjoyable. I thought it was a lot of work to prepare to be a vendor, but they have been working for an entire year! These ladies have really 'branded' this show as a premiere vintage sale in Texas, and they found 70 great vendors to feature - this barn was loaded with good stuff (more on that in my next post)! And they report that over 2,000 shoppers ventured out to see what was the biggest and best yet Barn Sale...until next year that is!
A big welcome to any shoppers who are now readers too! Thanks for making my first show a great one.
Have a chic week,