Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Flea Market Location

Last weekend I scouted out the Truman Markets in St. Charles, MO and was pretty impressed. They're in a temporary site, but they have two huge white tents that are enclosed and placed over gravel and paved walkways - much nicer than being in the barn at Belleville and dealing with the mud when it rained! On top of that they've arranged to have heaters in the tents to help keep them warm and are going to see if that will make them viable for the winter.

What makes this so great is that I now have winter options that I wasn't sure I was going to have after the barn shut down for the cold months at Belleville. On top of that this market runs Friday-Sunday every weekend, which means that I can pick and choose the weekends I have free to book my space and it's more flexible, which works great for my schedule. Bonus number three - it's cheaper for a weekend than it was to be in the barn at Belleville! For $15 a day I can have a 10x10 booth, which is $3 a day cheaper than Belleville.

This market seemed pretty nice. I picked a bad time to go and judge traffic (Sunday mornings are always slow) but that gave me time to actually chat with vendors about their experience at this market, traffic and to scope out competition. The market has a lot of variety - there are food vendors ranging from kettle corn to empanadas, crafting people (there's a lady who makes fleece hoodies for pups and I want to get Pan and Freya one each for Christmas) and then there are the antique/vintage folks and your average "garage sale" type folks that you find at flea markets.

I'll have my first booth there this weekend from 9-4pm Saturday and Sunday, so if you're in the neighborhood you should come on out! Take the Cave Springs exit off of 70 and head North toward Truman, if you keep going you can't miss the tents about 3 miles down the road!!

I'll post about my success, or lack there of later. I'm also trying out a dollar jewelry table and a dollar box to see if that will help me just sell items in general. Yay for a weekend of experimentation!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Stuff

The last time I had gone in to the South County Antique Mall to check on my case (619 for those of you in St. Louis), I was asking the manager what sells. He said now was the time to start putting up holiday items. I commented back that I didn't really have anything like that and wasn't really sure I wanted to get into it and he replied "It sells." That's all I needed. I started scoping out Christmas items at auctions and managed to snag a box of pretty nice stuff.

I decided I'd string all the ornaments that weren't in boxes into sets and then I'd sell the sets. I put a curtain rod in my case to hold the strands of blown glass ornaments and I was pretty proud of my space saving, cool display idea. Sadly when I went to put them in the case my brilliant idea went up in smoke. As I was closing the case door the rod slipped and fell, causing me to loose more than half of the ornaments in a horrible display of shattering shards of multi-colored glass... Sadness :( On the up side, when I went to check on stuff today I had sold one Christmas item already - a 14-piece old nativity set that I really didn't think anyone would want... I only had $8 on it, but hey, at least it sold!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Second Flea Market - Success!

So I learned from my first flea market - be ready to haggle and start offering some lower price options. In order to do this I made a "Dollar Box" and put items in it that I had gotten in auctions that just happened to be in a box with something else I really wanted. It seemed to work pretty well. Basically I consider those "free" or "bonus" items anyways and anything I can sell is a good thing!

At least this time around I broke the $200 mark, which for me made it a very good weekend!!

What I sold:

Red Dietz Lantern - $5
Wagner Roasting Pan - $20
Pabst Blue Ribbon Bottle Opener - $1
Candlesticks - $1
Heart bracelet - $1
Unicorn pin - $1
Brown and blue beaded belts - $11
Two gold compacts - $20
Mickey Mouse Pocket Watch - $17
Sterling silver hat and sword candle snuffer - $10
School desk - $20
Monocle magazine - $10
Antique watch parts - $1
Blue swan candy dish - $5
Blue and silver spider pin - $8
Nightgowns - $30
Blue glass pitcher with 5 glasses - $10
5 tier corner shelf - $15
70s Barbie - $10
White bracelet - $4
Wooden Duck -  $1
Flower Frog - $1

 Finally what felt like a good day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vintage Purses - Why I Love Them

So those of you who know me know I collect three things - Fenton glass slippers, West Virginia Glass Cocktail and Juice sets and vintage purses. I have a pension for Whiting and Davis metal purses, but I won't pass up a sweet wooden purse with Lucite handles, Lucite purses, beaded beauties and metal purses that aren't Whiting and Davis.

I hit the mother load this weekend at an auction and splurged on myself a little when I found some very beautiful, very unique vintage purses in a lot. Luckily I only had one competitive bidder! The auction was the estate of a gentleman who sold antiques and he had prices on several of the purses, so it was interesting to see how much he had wanted for them compared to how much I paid! The four purses I purchased cost $120, the two purses he had marked totaled $280, so with a rough guess I'd say that I bought around $550 in purses for my $120, not shabby at all! I've shopped enough antique malls and Ebay to know when I have a deal on these things! Most of the purses I own retail from anywhere around $50 - $200 per purse depending on the quality and maker.

I feel like showing off some of my collection, so I'll add photos and put rough retail prices on them just for a reference in case anyone is interested in starting collections of their own!

One of the four purses I purchased this weekend. This was priced at $200.

Whiting and Davis pink metal purse with metal expanding opening $40-60

Whiting and Davis small gold metal purse with metal opening $30-50

Metal woven purse with Lucite handle - $35-$50

Whiting and Davis white and gold metal purse - $50-75

Unmarked metal purse with mirror - $50-60

Whiting and Davis silver metal clutch - $25-40

Wooden purse with Lucite handle - $25-40

Wooden butterfly purse with Lucite handle - $15-30

Whiting and Davis gold metal drawstring purse - $40-60

Wooden town purse with Lucite handle - $25-50

Wooden ended purse with woven body - $40-65

Pre 1920s Victorian purse with beading - $65-100

1800s beaded purse - $150-300

Whiting and Davis gold change purse - $15-25

Unmarked 1920's metal purse with fringe - $100-300

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ebay Bust!!

Earlier I posted about the four items I had up on Ebay, well they all went up for the first auction and not a single one of them sold... :( So I ended up relisting all four of them, hoping that the next time around I'd get some takers. Well I've officially sold one item on Ebay now and lost a couple bucks in the process...

See when you first start to sell things on Ebay they tell you the best way to sell something is to start it out at 99 cents and let folks bid it up. In fact they incentiveize you to do this by charging you if you set a starting bid at higher than 99 cents. So as a first timer I went ahead and posted three really nice glassware items, thinking that because of the quality of them they'd surely get bids. I was wrong.

I ended up selling my German cut crystal bowl, complete with the manufacturer's label for 99 cents... I'm lucky in the fact that I had bought it at an auction for $2, but it retails for anywhere from $25-60 per piece. So now I'm out the $1.01 more that I had paid for it and about $.50 for my Ebay posting, not to count the cost of the other Ebay items I ended up not selling. Oh and the shipping, I had estimated the item would weigh about 2lbs and it ended up weight 2.29lbs, so the buyer paid me $7.05 and the actual postage cost me $7.50, so another $.45.

So far it's Ebay (the company) up $3 and Mandy down $2. While it may not be a lot of money, it's still disheartening.

Lesson learned - set prices for items on Ebay, even if it costs more up front you won't be completely hosed later...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Unexpected Find

While at an auction the other day I saw a stack of old "magazines" which were more like books or booklets and I decided they looked just too unique to pass up. What I didn't realize was that the when I bid, it was for the entire stack of magazines. So I got the three copies of the Monocle, a political satire magazine that had originally caught my eye, but the biggest surprise from the stack was when I got home and went through the other three magazines that were in the pile. Two were from the Illinois Historical Society and the third, was probably the best surprise I could have ever found - an edition of Successful Farming's "How to Save Time, Save Money and Make Profits in Farming and Homemaking."

This booklet was a collection of tips submitted by Successful Farming readers from 1931-1933 and then was published in either late 1933 or early 1934. At the time SF paid folks $2 for each tip that they published and were proud to have given $1,000 to their readers for their submissions.

Tips from the booklet include:

How to Clean Buckets - When cleaning buckets that have had lard in them, warm the bucket and rub with cornmeal or bran. Then the bucket will be much more easily washed.

Relieves Gas - When one of our cows gets bloated, we tie a rope thru her mouth like a bridle. If the rope is first soaked in salt water, she will chew it and thus greatly relieve the gas pressure.

How to Keep Flies Away - To keep flies off the door screens, saturate a rag with coal oil and rub it over the screens. This will keep a lot of flies out of the house.

A Child's Surprise - Tiny gifts wrapped in waxed paper, and concealed in popcorn balls creates fun and surprise. Insert a loop of gilt or silver cord in the balls and slip over the branches of the Christmas tree.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Most Awesome Sewing Table Ever!

On a weekend that we didn't feel like hitting up estate sales, Chad and I went on a visit to thrift stores - mainly hitting as many Goodwill locations as possible in a day! Well, maybe not that extreme :) We ventured into the Goodwill on Forest Park Parkway and after wondering through the glassware and finding some pretty cool Halloween decorations we headed to the furniture department. That's where I fell in love with this gorgeous Singer sewing machine table with an updated sewing machine from New Home.

It was obvious that the table itself had been painted at some point, but it made the table very shabby chic and the wrought iron base was in great condition - it even had all of it's little wheels in place! But the kicker that really sold me on the table was all the detail in the drawers and the inlay that was on the sides of the table. I'd seen several Singer tables in my estate sale, antiquing and thrifting adventures, but never had I seen a table that had the cutouts in the drawers and was just in such great condition.

I decided I had to have it. Chad wasn't so sure it was something I truly needed, but I couldn't walk away. So I paid them the $75 they wanted for the table and we lugged the heavy thing and forced it into the back seat of my car.

After getting it home I did a little more exploring, only to discover that most of the drawers actually had items in them for sewing, old bobbins and needles and the kicker - the original manual for the New Home sewing machine. As I looked through the manual I discovered that the previous owner had filled in the lifetime warrenty and she had dated it - October of 1963! My mom will hate this, since the sewing machine is just a year older than her, but it's pretty awesome to find a sewing machine from the 60s. To top that off, she left the sales receipt in the manual as well, so I know she spent $189 on the sewing machine itself in 1963, which wasn't chump change. This table really meant something to her when you see all the work she put into it.

I took it to the flea market my first time out and it got a lot of attention, but no one wanted to pay the $125 for it that I was asking for. My thought is if I don't sell it I will gladly keep it in my house, I think it's just beautiful. In fact I'll likely kick myself if I do sell it, because I'm sure I'll never find another table like it...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally - A Few Sales

I stopped by the South County Antique Mall today to take a few things out of my case (619) to either put on Ebay or take to the Belleville Flea Market next month. A brief view of the case let me know that at least people had been looking. The vintage monkeys were moved around, the 10-piece manicure set had been moved and several of the purses were in different spots, but I could really only spot one or two things that weren't in the case, so I knew at the very least I had sold one item. The item I knew was gone was this gorgeous pearl and cameo choker. Ironically I was planning on taking that one out of the case to give to one of my sisters for Christmas because I thought she'd love it. So apparently I'll be figuring out something else instead!

When I got to the front to pay for my second full month of rent the manager let me know that September is almost always the slowest month at the antique mall. He thinks it has something to do with the starting of school and all the money parents send getting their kids ready for the new school year. He pulled my report and I'd actually sold two items, the choker and this really neat brush and mirror set with intricate handles, turquoise backing and pink roses - they were just a beautiful set. I almost wish I'd asked more than $10 for them!

So after a month and a half and $90 I've banked $19.80, not exactly breaking even on the cost of the case like I had hoped. I've told myself that I'll stick it out through the end of the year at least. The manager mentioned that if I had any Halloween or Christmas items that I should get them in ASAP. I hadn't planned on buying any holiday specific items, but apparently they sell really well, so maybe I'll keep my eyes peeled for some unique and vintage holiday items to add to my booth...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My First Auction

After setting up at the Belleville Flea Market I picked the brains of some of my fellow vendors to see how they were able to keep their prices low and still make money at the market. Most of my items had come from estate sales and yard sales, so I thought I was doing well in finding items that were cheap and still easy to sell and make money off of. Apparently I was wrong, even at half off days at estate sales you can't always get the bargains you can get at auctions.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous - I hadn't ever been to an auction, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was tipped off to the site and I have to say - it's really good. It allowed me to look up auctions within 30 miles of my zip code and I was able to discover that several auction companies have auctions every week at the same location (usually a VFW hall) and they have estate items as well as consignment items, where people will bring in things they want to sell and the auction company will take a percentage of their profits for auctioning off the items.

The evening started with selling "choice" bids on tables with miscellaneous bulk items. For instance, there could be one table with all the linens for sale and you bid against each other for the chance to take your choice of an item from the table. So if you bid $5 and were the top bidder you would pay $5 for each item you took off the table. This allows you to pick up a lot of things pretty cheaply. Normally they put random things in boxes on these tables too, so sometimes you don't know what you're getting.

Political satire magazine
I purchased two misc. boxes for $1 each and a set of six magazines at a dollar as well. Turns out one of the magazines is an issue of Successful Farming Magazine's tip book published in 1934!! Through my job I still do business today with Successful Farming. The tip book is called "How to Save Time, Save Money and Make Profits in Farming and Homemaking" and are tips sent in by readers over three years and then published in their own booklet. Totally awesome find!

Also in my random boxes was a tea cup and saucer set of Noritake China (a good brand), several glass cups and about a dozen white glass vases. Pretty cool for only $2!!

Green glass footed bowl with grapes
After they go through these tables they bid on furniture items. I was interested in a few pieces, but apparently so was everyone else! They ended up going for much more than I had on me and wanted to spend in a night. Oh well...

Pressed glass square bowl
Finally they go through each remaining item that's a bit more high-end. I think I impressed folks who were obviously regulars to this event because I wasn't afraid to bid and I helped drive up some prices. I spent $61 including the 10% buyer's premium the auction charges - so actual costs were more like $56.

Here's a rundown of a few things I picked up:

1970's Sake set in the original box (this was my gift to Chad for sitting through the auction with me)
20 qt stock pot for my canning projects
Amber sun burst bowl
A set of four multi-colored candy dishes
An entire box of jewelry
An American made gold mirror
Three glass bowls
All the amber colored glass being sold (two ashtrays, two small bowls and two large bowls and two goblets) for $2

There's a bit more, but it's hard to keep track of all of the items - especially the random things in the boxes!

Hofbauer German Crystal Bowl

I think this is a great way for me to go, it was cheaper than other options, took less time (I can spend a whole weekend going from estate sale to estate sale) and I got many really nice things!

Mother of pearl etched pins

Blue swan candy dish