We were very fortunate to have a gorgeous weekend. Crowds were very steady throughout most of the days. As Jason told you, my dad and I had to man the booth on Friday due to his bout of Montezuma’s Revenge. As you may have noticed already in the blogs, Jason has been dealing largely in tools from one man's collection. He had planned on tagging some of his items on the first day, but that didn't happen. I know next to nothing about the value of old tools. Since my brother was looking greener and greener, I made quick notes of some of the prices for his items on the tables. Of course, I had no clue as to the value of most of what I sold of his. I kept telling the folks buying his tools that what he doesn't know won't hurt him. I'll just hand him the cash and say we sold a lot of “things.”
Thankfully, Jason was back to near 100% by opening time on Saturday morning. Crowds were very good and sales were rather brisk. The cool thing about working with my brother is that we can draw several types of people to our booth. Where Jason has a lot of tools catching the eyes of men, I have a lot of glass, silver and antique items to keep the misses busy too. Yet there were a lot of women going through his boxes of tools and tool parts. It is amazing how so many things can be used for decorating and the creative juices were definitely flowing as I eavesdropped from time to time. And in all honesty, I probably sold more glass to men than women. I knew I wasn't weird.
One of the “trade secrets” that we use is to have certain items out in front of our booth to catch the eye of someone passing by. It may only take a quick glance to bring someone into our booth. They may not buy the thing that catches their eye, but they may buy something else. We were constantly moving our inventory to best attract potential customers. One of those items was a Coca Cola cast iron sign base that was used for either a lollipop coke sign or for a crossing guard sign at a school zone. Even though it didn't sell all weekend, it definitely stopped a lot of people in their tracks. Another eye catcher was a couple of large amberina Blenko pieces. Thankfully our booth was mostly in the shade of the shed roof, except for our front tables. The sunlight hitting those large glass pieces brought people in from booths in other sheds even. Again, even though they didn't sell, they definitely served their purpose. One final item that was used to attract attention (much to the chagrin of Jason) was a battery operated yodeling old lady. The face gestures and that song that just sticks in your head all day really drew attention as well as keeping the kiddos occupied while parents shopped. Somehow Jason sold this item while I was helping another customer. Now that I think about it, I bet he bought it, stuffed it in one of his boxes and is now on its way to the dump. Either way, I made a sale and it drew some people to our booth.
Finally, even though we made some extra money, what I took away from the weekend was a better knowledge of the business. There are dealers that specialize in certain items such as vintage clothes or antique radios. I am what is called a generalist. While I presently know more about glass than other vintage or antique items, I am constantly reading and studying about all aspects of the trade. It was fascinating talking about a tool collection with an elderly gentlemen that brought pictures of his collection to share with anyone that was interested. It was awesome to talk intelligently with another dealer about the arts and crafts movement and learn about other artisans of that era. And it was eye-opening to find out about the collectibility of vintage magazine advertising – just using the cool ads in frames for decorating. So next time I see a box lot of 1930's magazines, I will know the value may be inside the magazine and not in the name on the cover.
We would love to hear about your favorite flea market finds. I know there are many stories that could be shared, so feel free to share yours in the comments below or on our facebook page.