Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Marietta: River and Resale

It was a beautiful day in Marietta, Ohio, and the "Beautiful River" was looking her part. We stopped to watch a barge passing by, and got a wave from the deck.

Then they were gone down the river, and we continued on to the Antique Mall of Marietta to work on our booth.

We were bringing in a few new things. Since we had been there just a week ago there wasn't a lot of work to do, but still it took me several hours. Why? Because the booth is so full that adding something means moving and rearranging what's already there.

And that's a good thing. Changing up the way things look attracts the attention of regular customers and antique malls have plenty of regulars. Buyers have favorite booths too, that they head directly for. One booth at Marietta is what I call a "man booth"--all tools and signs and heavy rusty stuff. A lot of men make a beeline back there. Another vendor has mostly books, and another specializes in linens and postcards. One even sells gigantic shark's teeth (called megladon teeth, I learned) and petrified whale poop! Younger men and children love his displays.

I'm one of the eclectic ones. I sell everything from kitchenware to books to hankie to old tools to furniture and chalk-painted items. If it catches my eye, I figure it will catch someone else's too. The challenge is to find it for a good enough price that I can make a decent profit, and to display it well. And then hope the right person strolls by and is looking.

It seems to  help to sell things if I am in my booth working, too. Yesterday I brought in a four-way silverplated candelabra and a silverplated round tray. I picked up both for just a couple dollars because both were badly tarnished. A good 30 minutes of polishing and they were shining again. I brought them into the booth and put them down, turned to get price tags for them and a woman picked them up. "How much?" she asked. They walked out of the mall almost as fast as they walked in. She got a good price, I was happy because I made a good profit, and I still had the space they would have occupied in the booth. Never even got to take a pic of them!

As I was changing things around, I took some things off the little gray table with the French stencil. Another lady came in soon after and spotted the table. "How cute!" When I pointed out that it was a Drexel table (stamped on the bottom) she decided she needed it. Often I paint the bottom or the back of a piece as well as the top, but when the maker's name is on them I try to leave that alone.

So being there can be a plus, but it's also a big plus to not have to be there. I have time to shop, time to work on furniture, and time to do all the other things I enjoy. A lot of people have told us we should open our own store, but then one of us would need to be there all, or a lot, of the time, and when would we do all these other projects? And buy new things? The booths give us all the benefits of a store, along with the freedom to spend our days as we like.

Here's a few photos of how things looked yesterday when we left:

Fence pieces and old doors continue to be popular. I will be sad when we sell our last piece of picket fence!

This piece was in the booth in the past, but not painted. So, trying again with some fresh chalk paint and distressing.

I got inspired by Joy at A Vintage Green to try my hand at a handpainted sign. Not perfect, but I loved doing it and will be trying some more soon. This is one the side of an old drawer, just as Joy did for hers. My technique was  different though. I used a pencil to trace HARD through a sheet of paper, then went over the very faint outline with pencil. Then I filled it in with paint, sanded, glazed, and waxed.

More chalk-painted items.

Feeling like Spring in the booth--the tulips are in bloom!

And more Spring color, a mirror I painted last week:

I'm sorry this one is blurry; my camera seems to do that a lot at Marietta for some reason. Just wanted to show the duck flotilla. I guess they're migrating!

Lots of crystal looking for a wedding...

and plenty of green for those feeling their Irish this month.

Tea, anyone? My teapot collection at Marietta is growing. Several Sadler (English) pots here, along with the McCormick and some of those mid-century made-in-Japan brown pots.

Rustic stuff for the primitive soul:

There's lots more, but that gives an idea of what we sell. This, that and everything in between. Sales have been good all winter, which is really pleasing because the past two years, with lots of snow and very cold temperatures, meant low sales. So here's to Spring, tax returns and people who are looking for tha unique item to add to their home!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Kathleen Lupole said...

I love your booth! Unfortunately I am in NY. My son uses those picket fence pieces in his apartment. They are really eye catching as he puts them along a long hallway. Good luck in your booth!

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Kathleen! It is really fun to put it together--work, but pleasure too. I like the idea of using the fences along an apartment wall, very creative.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Hi Sue, you write so clearly about being a collectibles reseller and I look forward to your posts. Love seeing what you have found and added. I am going to try your pencil idea for transferring text outline/going over the outline faintly with pencil for my next hand painted sign.

Granny Sue said...

It wasn't perfect, Joy, but it was pretty good. My fingers were sore from pressing so hard! I wondered about using an exacto knife to trace the cut the design lightly into the board, instead of having to press so hard with the pencil--might try that next. Thank you for the inspiration!

Quinn said...

I always, always enjoy these "shopping trips"! :)
That little almost-black teapot in the front of your picture looks exactly like one I think my mother had when she was a child. It was in our kitchen cupboard for ages, and I was pleased as punch when it was given to me to play with for a tea party with my dolls. But I managed to drop the lid and crack it in two. My mother's, "You always ruin things!" still smarts a little, even after all these years. Gosh, people have no idea how powerful hurtful words can be!
Well, I hear my hens and roosters out and about, so I guess it's time to go hopefully in search of "Fresh Eggs"!

Granny Sue said...

Yes, we can easily say things that hurt for years and years. Quinn, your note is a reminder to bite back those mean comments.

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