I have had my antique mall booth for about 6 months now, and still enjoy it as much as I did in the beginning. Actually, I expanded again this week, adding yet another space at the Antique Mall of Marietta. This is a display shelving type of space, about 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall, with a light and glass doors that could be locked if I so desire. I don't--I need this space to display some of the nicer glassware I've been accumulating. I am really happy with the way things are working at this location, and particlarly enjoy the people who work there. They've been helpful and encouraging and I have enjoyed getting to know them.
I have learned a lot the past few months. I've changed some of my buying patterns, opting for less glass (though it is my passion) and more primitive/old farm items because these have higher demand than the glass I love.At Marietta, I focus on these primitives and on vintage kitchen items. Both are good sellers. I have noticed a few things, however. I learn a lot by listening to the people browsing the booths, and also by my eBay business; I hear and see what people are looking for, what they talk about as they browse. As one dealer commented, "People are buying their childhoods." Tis true.
They are also, however, buying what they like on prime time TV shows. Although I have never watched it, the show "Mad Men" has influenced my buyinng because apparently the set decors have inspired people to buy items from the 40's and 50's. Barware--signs, shot glasses, martini mixers and so on are hot today, people. Who would have thought it?
I've also learned what bothers people as they shop. And it's the same things that bother me. Here's a list I've been keeping:
1. No price. I hate it when I pick up something I'm interested in, only to find it has no price and no one can tell me what the price might be. I end up putting the item back. I try hard to make sure I have prices on everything, but you might be surprised how difficult that can be. Tags fall off, get removed, or I miss putting them on.
2. Over-crowded booths. I try to keep mine full. At the same time, I want people to be able to walk and look freely without having to inch into my area or worry about knocking something over. I tend to stand outside and peer into booths so full I can't get in without edging in sideways and I seldom buy anything from them. It's easy to overcrowd a space because as time goes by and more stuff is bought--well, it has to go somewhere. I prefer to keep things in totes at the house and wait til I have some open space or reorganize before bringing it in.
3. Poor lighting. That's one issue with one of my Marietta booths (although sales from that space are still really good). I think we may be able to resolve this soon but as a buyer I know I like well-lighted spaces where I can see things clearly.
4. Staff too busy talking to each other to pay attention to me. Recently we visited an antique mall where the workers were so busy wheeling and dealing with each other that they scarcely acknowledged the customers in the store. And they were so loud! While I'm sure they were thrilled with the good deals they'd gotten that day at esatate and yard sales, it seems a bit rude to let your customers know you got good deals and are now marking these items way up for them! Bad customer service really gets me, and I seldom return to places where I feel unimportant to the staff.
5. Nervous staff--you know the kind I mean, They hover, worried you'll break something, or they're over-anxious for you to buy. They creep along behind you, watching your every move. I cannot shop like that and leave pretty quickly.
6. Incense, scented candles and pets. In today's world with so many people having allergies, these just seem like a no-brainer. Don't do it. I have allergies and often have to turn right around and leave because of highly scented air that turns on my asthma big time.
7. Hours. Some places keep banker's hours, so the working folks can never come in. Others keep such erratic hours that you never know when they're open or closed.
8. And my number one biggest issue: Not taking credit, debit cards or personal checks. Who carries that much cash on them these days? A place that is not set up to take these forms of payment is shooting itself in the foot.
9. Lack of signage. I need to find the place, and then also be able to find my way around once inside!
10. And last, cleanliness and decor. An antique mall needs to be a destination. That means clean and bright, attractive and welcoming. I don't mind clutter at all, it's part of the charm but dissarray and dirt? Big turn-offs for me and probably every other potential customer. Bad smells? I'm outta there.
That's my list. What's yours? Do you have a particular thing that bugs you when you're shopping, whether in resale or new shops?
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.