|The Farm Chicks Show (in the earlier days) - via Country Living|
|Luckett's 2012 - Part One|
- Food/Water - Pack snacks, lunch, and plenty of water bottles for the day. Most venues will have food stands and places to get refreshment, but many times the lines are very long, not to mention the price of the food isn't always the most economical. If getting that funnel cake is part of the show/fair experience, then plan on buying it when it's not the prime meal hours to save time. I'll pack the non-refrigerated food the night before and have a small cooler ready to go the items that need to be chilled.
- Personal Necessities - I usually ditch my purse in favor of a small tote where I can store my wallet, lip balm, phone, pen, small notepad, small tube of sunscreen, and whatever else I may need. You just want to make sure that you keep your carrying load as light as possible! The tote can double up as a shopping bag for some of those small items that you many not want to put in a shopping cart, which leads me to the next item...
- Flea Market Shopping Cart - You've probably seen those two-wheeled, small shopping carts around the flea markets. If you shop antique shows regularly, I recommend buying one as they are great for hauling your finds around! Prices vary on these, but my mom and I only paid $5 each for our carts. I also throw a few large, empty totes or reusable shopping bags in the cart to carry even more goods.
The Farm Chicks Show
- Cash, Credit Card, Checkbook - Another reason I recommend getting everything ready the night before is you'll need to make sure that you have plenty of cash for the show. Cash is king when purchasing at any type of market! Stop at your bank or ATM the day before so you don't have to worry about it on the way to the show or while you're there. Many of these types of venues are in a rural location and do not have ATM's. Also, the ATM's that are available usually have those pesky transaction fees, plus having to stop and get cash takes precious time away from finding those bargains. Many vendors are now accepting credit/debit cards because of the availability of devices like the Square and Paypal card readers, but don't count on every vendor having one. Bring that checkbook along as well. Some vendors might not accept checks, but many do and it's nice to have the option if you are getting low on cash. One more thing about money...either set a strict budget for yourself or bring more than you estimate spending because year after year I saw shoppers buy way more stuff than they anticipated!
- Measuring Tape, Screwdriver, etc - If you are looking for furniture for a specific location for your home or client's, bring along a small measuring tape and list of measurements needed to ensure that you're not going to get something that doesn't fit the space! Antique shows/fairs are not like retail stores with return policies. Most of the time, you're stuck with your purchases. Also, pack a screwdriver just in case you need to disassemble something in order to transport it easier (i.e. removing a table-top from it's base).
Luckett's 2012 - Part 2
- Truck/Trailer, Packing, and Strapping - If you anticipate buying any furniture or large items, be aware that you'll need a way to get them home. If you're already driving a truck, SUV, or van, pack some blankets, padding to wrap your purchases with. Having a large mirror break or beautiful piece of furniture scratched on the way home is the last thing you want to happen! Don't forget the bungee cords or straps for holding your load down as well. Since moving to NC, I don't have access to a trailer anymore, so when I'm attending shows, I do a quick look-up of local U-haul rental facilities near the show in case the back of the truck isn't sufficient.
|via Vintage Indie|
|Miss Mustard Seed's Booth - Luckett's 2012|
- Move Quickly - If you're looking for something in particular or you're a dealer looking for a bargain, you'll need to move quickly and scan the booths for what you're looking for. For example, if you have your heart set on a crystal chandelier or just the right dresser for your daughter's room, you might want to consider skipping many booths and covering more ground. After you find what you're looking for, then you can go back and shop in detail. You'll have a greater chance scoring what you really need this way, plus it's never fun to finally find that elusive thing-that-you've-been-looking-for-forever only to have a big, fat "SOLD" sticker on it because you just didn't get to that booth in time! This leads me to the next piece of advice...
- Don't Hesitate - If you find something you love, need, and know that it will come back to haunt you if you don't buy it...don't hesitate! I've gone through this so many times with my mom. Although, I learned years ago not to hesitate (don't even ask about a giant milk bottle dairy sign for $20 that got away), she still has the tendency not buy something that she really wants only to come back and it sold. I thinks she's finally starting to listen to me now though :)
|Sophia's booth- The Farm Chicks 2010|
4) Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate - With the wild popularity of these shows in the recent years, I think's it's fairly common knowledge to ask vendors for a better price or to ask what is their "best price". Most of the time, there is always a bit of wiggle room for negotiating, but please don't be insulting about it. I've been on both sides of the negotiating table and even though I love a great bargain, I have respect for the hard work that many vendors put into their wares. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to find, haul, re-furbish, haul again, and set-up a booth. Antique shows/fairs that showcase painted furniture and some unique hand-made items are a bit different than your standard flea market and I personally negotiate differently, depending on the venue. Get to know what general asking prices are for comparable items and if something is a fair deal, don't push it...just my two cents :)
|Ekster Antiques Booth- Luckett's 2012|
Another tip for getting a great deal is to ask the vendor for a discount if you are purchasing multiple items from them. It's a win-win situation...the vendor sells several things and you get a bargain. Also, if the vendor is accepting credit/debit cards and you pay with cash, don't hesitate to ask for a cash discount since transaction fees on the use of the cards usually run 2-3%.
|Sophia's Booth - Luckett's 2012|
5) Don't Forget What You've Purchased! - This might sound strange, but you'd be surprised at what you can leave behind at various booths. The little metal shopping carts and tote bags can only hold so much and if you buy furniture or anything large, you'll have to go back and pick up your purchases when you're ready to head home. I always had an empty wall next to my booth at The Farm Chicks Show and there was an empty space next to my booth at Luckett's last year that many shoppers used to pile their purchases...just don't forget they are there :) Many vendors will mark "SOLD" on your items and leave them in their booth until you can pick them up. At a large show, it's easy to forget what you've left everywhere, so pack a small notepad and write down the item and location (booth number) of the purchases. Taking a quick picture with your phone of the item and booth is a great solution too!
6) Shop on the Last Day - If the long lines and die-hard shopping isn't your style, and you just want to leisurely shop the show/fair, shop on the last day of the event. Usually this will be on a Sunday, but since moving to the South, I've noticed many Friday-Saturday events. The last half of the first day is also a good time to get some shopping in, but you can score some great bargains on the last day because most vendors want to minimize what they are hauling home. As a vendor, the last day of the shows were always fun because it gave me more an opportunity to chat with customers and get to know some of the vendors too.
|Chartreuse & Co. Booth - Luckett's 2012|
So are you ready to shop that local antique show or vintage fair in your area? They are a really fun way to spend the day and find some treasures! For more information on The Luckett's Spring Market that is scheduled for May 18 & 19th in Leesburg, VA, you can visit their website HERE. I also posted tons of pictures from last year's show on my Facebook page HERE and HERE.
For those of you on the West Coast, The Farm Chicks Show is absolutely amazing! You won't regret going... My friends here in NC are probably sick of me talking about how incredible it is, but it really is all that and more. It's being held June 1-2 in Spokane, WA and there is more information HERE.
See ya' on the junkin' trail :)