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1970's Furniture Makeover

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Series: How To Make Money as an Antique Mall Vendor

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Chicago {Things to Do, See, & Eat}

As I mentioned in my earlier post, we went to Chicago for the week to get away.  Just me and the hubby.  We were celebrating 10 years and had been needing a getaway for a long time!  Everything seemed to align and so we were off!  Chicago was a wonderful place to visit with a variety of activities to do.  Here are some of the best places to visit in Chicago.

If you’re in need of a view, then these places and tours are for you!  We visited SkyDeck Chicago at night to get a night view and stood out on the glass looking down on the town.  Let me say, I thought I might lose my dinner…boy, am I scared of heights!  So, this is THE ONE picture of me NOT clinging to my husband for dear life!  A few days later we visited 360 Chicago for an even better view (if you ask me).  And, if you like thrills they’re about to open something called the TILT.  Windows tilting out onto the ground once you’re standing in them.  Um, I think not!  And, if you love a good view and some good history and architecture, then you have to check out the architectural tour along the river.  It’s a must!

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If you’re a fan of baseball, or even just a lover of history, you have to go to the Wrigley Field Tour and a Cubs game.  The Wrigley Field Tour is a great way to see behind the scenes and hear about the history of the park.  As you can tell from my hubby’s face, this was by far his FAVORITE thing we did while we were in Chicago….one to mark off the bucket list!

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I had several favorites, which not surprisingly, were all about art!  We toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio.  It was so interesting to hear the history behind the house and to see how ahead of his time he was with his architecture.  We also visited the Art Institute of Chicago Museum.  They have many famous artworks that anyone would recognize and the largest collection of impressionist work outside of the Louvre in Paris, with works from Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, and more.

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If you’re planning on traveling with children, Chicago is a GREAT place to visit!  So many parks and kid oriented places.  I don’t know how many pictures and videos we sent to our kids while we were at these places.  Adam and I said several times that this would be a great place to take kids.  Shedd Aquarium features animals from all over the world and a Sea World worthy show with baluga whales, dolphins, penguins, and sea lions.  Adler Planetarium is world renowned and has numerous shows that you can view throughout your visit.  The Field Museum is all about natural science and history.  My kids would have gone ga-ga over all the dinosaur fossils, including the one pictured below that they call Sue.  And if you’re wanting cheap, you can’t miss out on the Lincoln Park Zoo.  It has all kinds of different animals, including bears, wolves, and a polar bear; and is the only free zoo left in the United States.

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Some other sites you might not want to miss out on are the iconic ones…’The Bean’, Buckingham Fountain, and the Magnificent Mile.

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And, of course, you can’t go to Chicago without eating some Chicago style pizza and hotdogs!  My hubby does not rave about food, never has.  But, he could NOT stop talking about Portillo’s hot dogs.  According to him, “the best hotdog he had ever eaten!”  I will tend to agree…served Chicago style with onions, relish, tomatoes, pickle slice, and little peppers.  And for Chicago deep dish pizza, everyone directed us to Giordano’s.  Their pizza was stuffed and looked just like a pie…one piece was more than enough for me!  My favorite was a place called Kanela’s is Old Town.  It was quaint and sweetly decorated.  I enjoyed sipping my coffee for brunch and eating the yummy grill cheese and homemade chips that followed.  Here are some other places that locals told us we just had to hit up and enjoy…

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Chicago is a wonderful place to visit!  If you’re wanting to know more places to check out or want some great deals, these are some great sites.

CHOOSE CHICAGO, CityPASS, TripADVISOR

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A Women’s Weekend

Recently I was invited to attend a Women’s Weekend with my church.  A group of 200 women traveled to spend a weekend worshiping, relaxing, and spending time in Christ.  I was asked to paint a piece of furniture in front of the group during some of the worship music. 

Painting in front of 200 women was the easy part.  You know what wasn’t easy?  Going on the retreat.  It was totally out of my comfort zone.   

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But I’m not blogging about this to brag about how I put my anxieties aside and went on the retreat anyway. 

 

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Or to talk about how awesome the food and snacks were.  Which was the highlight of the weekend for me and my growing belly.

 

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I’m not here to talk about all the awesome girl time and bonding that happened.

 

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I’m not here to rub in how we did yoga by the lake on one of the most beautiful days of the year. 

 

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Painting next to the worship band was inspiring.  And if I was able to have them serenade me while I paint everyday I think all of my furniture would look this amazing.

 

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But I’m not here to boast about how beautiful this piece of furniture is.  Okay, maybe a little boasting.  I really loved it.  But seeing two lucky ladies win them was even more gratifying.

 

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The reason I am blogging about this is to share with you the cliff notes of my story I was able to share that day.  That God qualifies the unqualified.  God took a banker of 14 years, who was a self-taught painter, knew nothing about blogging or websites, but He still managed to bless me with this amazing opportunity I get to call my job. 

Yes, there have been voices of doubt I wanted to listen to along the way.  But I didn’t let those seeds of discouragement write my story.  God placed a desire in my heart and when I truly listened to it I found who I truly was.  Yesterday reminded me if Jesus was risen from the grave then making a banker into a professional blogger and painter isn’t a big deal. 

What has God put in your heart that you have been too scared to believe He could bring to pass?

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Eggs {DIY Easter Eggs}

Easter is here and one of my favorite things to do is to dye Easter eggs. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, it’s a fun tradition and there are so many alternatives out there to the regular ole’ PAAS dying kit.

Here are a few of my favorites…

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Dip Dye Eggs

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Rubber Band Dyed Eggs

eggsNeon Dip Dyed Eggs

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Marbleized Eggs

eggsWax Dipped Eggs

eggsSilk Dyed Eggs

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Watercolored & Ombre Easter Eggs

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Washi Tape & Glitter Eggs

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Silver & Gold Leaf Eggs

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Glitter Easter Eggs

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Part 3: Making Money in Antique Malls as a Vendor

It’s Wednesday!  Time for our Vendor Series!  In case you are wondering what that is – every Wednesday I discuss all of the down and dirty details when it comes to being a vendor in an antique mall or market.  The BEST way for you to not miss anything in this series is to sign up to have my blog posts delivered to your Inbox.  You can do that HERE.  I have also set up a private Facebook Group for vendors only.  This is for existing vendors and is a place for us to connect with other vendors across the country to vent, support, and bounce ideas off of each other.  It is a great group full of awesomely talented people!  If you are a vendor come join us!  Click HERE to join the Vendors Only! Facebook Group.

If you missed the previous posts in this series you can find them here.

Part 1

Part 2

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Today we are discussing the pros and cons of renting space in an Antique Mall, Vendor Mall, or Market. I have had a great experience running the retail side of my business renting space in vendor malls or markets.  I rent space in 3 different stores and each one of them operate differently.  They are all unique and have different strengths or reasons why I chose to rent space there.

So why do I personally choose to run my business this way?  I have a Commercial Banking background and I have seen many retail stores fail (and I have seen many succeed).  A retail store, especially when it comes to home decor and furniture, is considered one of the highest risk loans a bank can lend to.  I also know how much of a time commitment it is to run your own store.  You have to be married to it.  Obsessed with it.  You have to LOVE it and when you want to divorce it, you still have to show up and turn the lights on each and every day.

I’m not saying owning a retail store is a bad thing.  I still have a desire to open a paint studio with a retail component someday – but today is not that day. I have a 3.5 year old and I am cookin’ another one in my oven as we speak.  It is NOT the season in my life to own a store.

Renting space is the ideal situation for me.

Here are some of the Pros and Cons to consider when deciding if renting space in a Market is right for you.

the pros

You don’t have to work there.  There are no set hours for you to clock in and clock out.  You can have a flexible schedule and bring new inventory or restage at a time that works for you.  I have heard of a few markets requiring one Saturday a month or a certain amount of hours that need to be worked monthly.  I don’t think this is the norm, is in exchange for reduced rent, or are part of a co-op where the vendors have some sort of ownership in the store.  It varies from different regions but most vendors would say they do not have any set hours they are required to work in the store.

No Sales Tax Paperwork:  The market you rent space from should take care of the sales tax paperwork.  Sales Tax is collected differently in each state, but since the store is collecting the cash from the customers they are most likely responsible for filing the monthly sales tax on the items sold in the store.  You will still have to file an annual Federal Tax Return (hello April 15th!).  PS:  Working in banking I can say  April 15th is one of the busiest days of the year for liquor stores.  Ha!

The Foot Traffic.  The amount of people walking through the doors in a large store or a market is much greater than having a stand alone store.  Plus, if there are 100 vendors renting suites in the store then there are 100 vendors marketing the store on their Facebook Pages, social media, telling their friends, family, and neighbors.  That’s a lot of people with the same common goal.

Someone Else Get to Handles the Headaches.  If a pipe bursts in the store, you aren’t the one who has to clean it up and call the insurance company. You don’t have to deal with the alarm company, the trash bill, the electric bill, the credit card processing, making sure a busted window get repaired, and all of the other fun duties that come with owning a store.

It’s Affordable: Usually the rent and fees are less than it would be for you to rent a retail store.  You will probably have less space than you would renting an entire store but your overhead is much less as well.

The Cons

You Are Not In Control:  Most likely any market you rent from will not run their store the same way you would run your own store.  Sometimes their taste, style, or budget won’t always line up with what you would envision for marketing, displays, sales flyers, and advertising.   I really try to stay out of giving my two cents about any of the stores I rent from marketing unless they ask for my opinion.  You aren’t driving the train so you gotta be okay with how the store represents their brand.

Customer Service:  Sometimes you will get complaints about customer service.  This has only happened to me a few times, but it can be unnerving when you hear feedback that your store wasn’t treating a customer the way you would.  Have an open line of communication with the owner or the manager.  Give them the feedback, not to chastise them or get an employee in trouble, but to help them do better.  A good store owner will want to know if there is an issue.  On the other hand, when you get positive feedback about the service from your vendor mall, make sure you give them that feedback as well.  They deserve to know they are doing a great job!

The Cost:  I know I said  renting space in an antique store is an affordable way to have a retail business, but the fees can add up.  For me personally, the fees and rent are worth every penny.  But to others, they might gasp when they see how much is taken out of their checks each month.   In addition to rent, a store will usually take out a percentage of each transaction plus an additional percentage if the item is paid for with a credit card.  I will talk about fees more in depth next week, but this can be a pro or a con, depending on your comfort level.

Organization:  There have been times when I walked into my suite at one of my locations and there were open coke cans, trash on the floor, and a knocked over display in my area.  It looked like a homeless shelter.  I don’t mind if my space is a little messy because it means people have been shopping there – but when a store has 100 or more vendors, it can be hard for the store’s employees to keep an eye on every single space.  Visit your space often to make sure it’s picked up.  I like to visit my stores on Thursdays, before the weekend rush, so it looks it’s best during the busiest sales days.

Renting space in someone else’s store can be a great way to dip your toe in the retail pond.  It’s also a good way to gauge if you really want to open your own stand alone store.  Renting also provides a tremendous amount of flexibility that store ownership does not afford.   But to ENJOY working in markets or vendor malls YOU have to be flexible as well.

Question:  If you are a vendor what do you feel are the pros and cons to renting space?  Have you had a good experience or was it a rocky road?  And if you are considering renting space in a store – what is holding you back?  Join the convo by leaving a comment or joining us on Facebook and Instagram!

Next week I will talk about finding the right market for your items, what to look for when finding your retail home, and what to expect to pay in fees and rent.  YES- I am going to give you all the details on what I personally pay each of my stores.  I’m not skeered. Don’t miss it and subscribe to get our posts delivered daily.

antique mall vendor

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