On Thursday, my dad (who came in town to help us sell) and I loaded up our truck. Jacob was driving in town that afternoon and we met to set up. Around 2pm or so, we were in the fairgrounds unloading our trucks. Set up was pretty easy. There was some threat of rain so we didn’t want to put out too much and run the risk of getting everything soaked. We knew with the threat of rain, it wouldn’t take a long time to get the booths ready for action. As we were setting up, as is customary, many other dealers were already going through our boxes seeing what we may have that they would want to purchase. You see, a lot of action is taking place before the show among all of the dealers. It’s almost its own economy. Matter of fact, we talked to one of the dealers who we’ve seen many times. He sets up a really small booth every month just to get in early every day (including Thursday). He uses this time to hunt for deals and items that he thinks he will have an easy time reselling. He gets free parking every day (typically $5 a day). Most days he isn’t even manning his booth. He has a phone number on a table so if anyone is interested in an item, they can call him and he’ll be there in a minute or so. For him, these flea market weekends are all about finding mispriced items from other dealers. To him, his booth fee (probably around $50 for the weekend) is completely worth all of the perks…even if he doesn’t sale a thing. I can say I’ve never done this….but it’s not a bad idea. After looking around a little bit too, we headed to the house. That evening, we worked on a sign to hang over our booth that Jacob had made. We’ve had many comments about our business cards and sign….well they were all created by Jacob. We’re very proud of them.
Friday morning the show was from 8am to 5pm. To beat the rush hour traffic, we left the house at 6am. After arriving, we finished setting everything up. We were ready to go by 8. Unfortunately, there was one issue…I was sick at my stomach all morning. I felt really nauseous. I didn’t know if it was food poisoning, vertigo, a virus, allergies, or what. I know this….it sure wasn’t a fun morning. Friday morning, Jacob and I were making lots of sales, but I don’t remember much. Every little bit I had to head to the bathroom. I was sure I was going to throw up but never did….until….. (Due to the graphic nature of the following, this portion of the blog may not be suitable for all readers…you can just jump to the next paragraph). I exploded! It was the most violent bout of throwing up that I’ve had in a long time. I really wanted to die for a while. We are talking the movie “Sandlot” where after eating chew for the first time, all of the boys are on a spinning ride and none of them can hold it in any longer. Thank goodness no one was in the bathroom at the time to hear the exorcism of Satan’s child from my body. Even while all of this was going on Jacob kept the booth running.
Back to the action in the booth….I felt quite a bit better after my little “bout”. Sales were still brisk. After a time though, I started to feel bad again. I was thinking “here we go again”. Luckily, Mysti (my wife), my son, mom, and dad showed up. Dad was there to assist in the booth. Mysti and mom were there to do some shopping (there go my profits). My son was there because he had to be. Like most 13 year olds, he’d rather be on X-Box or playing sports. Unfortunately, after just a little bit, I had to have my wife, mom, and son take me home. The rest of my day was spent in bed or on the couch. So I don’t know much more about the sale, other than Jacob and I did alright for our first day together. I’m going to let Jacob tell you about Saturday and Sunday in his next blog. I’m going to leave you with a few observations from this weekend.
1. If a potential buyer tells you that “I’ll be back in a little bit to buy that” it probably won’t happen. After countless times of being told that, only one person came back to actually purchase the item they were interested in. Unfortunately I had already sold it. This brings me to the 2nd point.
2. As Mike Wolfe says, the time to purchase something you want is when you see it. If you see something you’ve never seen before, chances of finding it again are slim. Don’t regret not purchasing something that in your gut you know you should have. I did that one time when I first started out. I had the opportunity to purchase an old Pepsi machine for what I thought seemed like a cheap price, but the owner didn’t know if it worked or not so I passed. I ended up thinking about it for a while. 30 minutes later I drove back to buy it. Too late….it was gone. I got home that day and found out that if the machine didn’t work, I would have still made about $400. If it worked….well it would go up exponentially from there. I should have followed my gut.
3. The early bird USUALLY (not always) gets the worm. Some of the best stuff sells on Friday morning. Most of your serious collectors and dealers are out shopping on Friday morning to get the best of the best….however; it’s at the steepest prices. As the weekend goes on, prices will drop, but so will the selection. There are exceptions. A dealer found a great hand hammered copper pot from the 1800’s on Sunday that many people passed over. He could tell it was old. He looked and looked with his jewelers loop and finally found a maker’s mark. His $15 purchase will probably net him $500. Those items are out there…but it takes a lot of work and digging (and a little luck).
4. There are some people who just kick tires. No matter what you price something at, you can tell they just aren’t interested in actually buying that piece. They may have the same thing and want to see what it’s worth. They may just want to get an idea of value. Could be as soon as you tell them, they realize that no matter what the price, even $1, they really don’t want the item. This is just part of the selling process.
I love selling this stuff and money is only one aspect of it. I love to talk to other collectors. I love to tell the stories of these pieces. I love hearing the buyer’s own stories. I especially love to learn from long time collectors. There is so much to learn from people who’ve devoted parts of their life to their collection. That’s why we do this blog and website. Please feel free to ask questions below in the comments or just tell us about your collections. You may be able to network with someone else on here that has your same interests. We can all learn from each other.