Friday, December 17, 2010

So, how did it go?

Last weekend, the mall where I have my booth had its Holiday Open House.  As a part of the event, vendors were encouraged to be on hand in their booths to make deals.  I'd never done that for one of their special events before, but I had heard dealers who did were making over a hundred in sales, so I decided to try.

Friday, I loaded up the last of my Christmas merch, plus a few other items, including a bunch of books,  and headed to the booth to get ready for the booth.  I spent a few hours there rearranging some things, filling in holes, straightening up, etc.

As I was getting ready to leave, a customer was in my book booth, filling up her cart with all kinds of things.  I talked with her for a little while, and she got some things from my other booth too.   It was an hour or so until closing time, but I was done, so I left.

Based on what she had placed in her cart, I was potentially in for a really good day, sales-wise.  However, I've been around long enough to realize that it can go in someone's cart, but it's not a sale until it's been paid for.  I've seen  plenty of people load up on stuff, only to leave most of it on the returns table.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got my sales report for the day in my email that evening.  Not only had she bought everything she picked up, but her purchases pushed me way over 100 dollars for the day!  That's a new daily record for me!  It's kind of ironic that I was prepping the booth to try and make the next day into a hundred dollar day on the day that I had my first hundred dollar day,  but that's business, I guess.

Saturday morning, I went to a couple of indoor sales, bought a few things, then headed to the booth.  Since some of the stuff I had intended to have for the open house had already sold, I brought in some of the stuff I had just picked up to fill in the holes.  It had actually been a good morning for second-hand shopping.  We stumbled on a church rummage sale that had not been advertised, which was full of stuff.  A lot of it was priced at ten cents, ti boot.  It was like early Christmas!

I had been a little worried about just hanging around in my space and either looking too dorky for folks to approach or else scaring off customers who just wanted to browse.  I'm one of those shoppers who doesn't like to be disturbed when I'm browsing around.  Store attendants, sellers, vendors, etc. who come on too strong with conversation turn me off and make me less inclined to buy.  I have a feeling that I'm not alone in felling this way.  Plus, an 8x11 booth is just not large enough for me to hang out in and also have others come in!  I take up a lot of space these days.

I purchased a couple of bar stools at a sale the week before, so I would have a place to sit.  (One of the lessons of this experience is that I don't have a body built for perching on a bar stool for long periods of time.)  There's an empty booth across the way from me, so I put my stool there.

For the first hour or so, I had the stuff I brought in to price and put out, so that gave me something to do.  After that, I perched on my stool and read a book.  If someone approached who was more outgoing, I'd strike up a conversation with them.  If they seemed more reserved, I'd just let them shop in peace.

A few items have been taking up space in my booths for a long time, and those were the ones I was determined to see go during the open house.  I ended up moving a few of them out.  Any time someone expressed any sort of interest in those objects, I swooped in with a deal at the ready.  And away the object would go.

A gentleman bought a truck from me that I had just bought that morning.  Turns out the name on the truck was for a Louisville-based food distributor that went out of business in the 80's.  He had worked on the railroads and used to load stuff from their trucks to the railroad cars.  Pretty cool.  He was psyched to find it.  I was psyched to sell it.  I ended up selling about half of the new items I brought in that morning!

I had at least three cart-fillers pass through, but it seems like they also bought the stuff they picked up.  I had very few returns to deal with.  Whenever I got too stiff from sitting on the stool, I made the rounds to my booths and straightened things up.  Then I'd go chat up the cashiers and check for returns.  A couple of times, I just wandered around the place to stretch my legs.  I ended up finding a book to buy that way!

Things really started getting fun when Santa showed up.  He was set up in a space right behind the one I put my stool in.  A couple of times, he let go with a hearty "Ho Ho Ho!" and kids who were in the aisle where I was would look at me like I had done it!

I nearly had an anxiety attack waiting for the sales email that evening.  I left when the open house ended at six, but the mall didn't close until eight.  The sales emails don't come until after nine.  I've not been that anxious for a report to come since the early days of the booth, but it was worth the wait.

Two days in a row over a hundred.  Who would've thought?  If the cold weather that's moved in doesn't stifle things, I'm set up to have a really good December.

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