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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

antique mall 1

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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Unique Vintage {Jonathan Adler}

This past week my husband and I got away and celebrated our 10 year anniversary in Chicago.

unique vintage

It was a wonderful week of sightseeing, enjoying yummy food, having adult conversation free of children, and getting to window shop.  I love going to a big city where you see shops that you don’t get to see everyday, especially here in Oklahoma.  I spotted many great design shops and tried to hit up all that I could.  This one was a definite must!

Many of you are probably familiar with Jonathan Adler.  You most likely have heard his name, and many of you may have even seen his designs online or in Target.  He creates mod design furnishings and accessories based on unique vintage pieces.  I love his use of colors and patterns in his furnishings, pillows, and accessories.  

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

unique vintage

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Pregnancy Q&A Plus Bump Shot Outtakes

Just in case you missed my big news on Friday – we are excited to welcome another addition to our family!  I had planned on having some awesome and profesh pics taken by a legit photographer for you guys to announce my growing bump but our photography session was canceled twice due to bad weather.  I just took matters into my own hands, busted out my tripod, and took some photos myself.  The results were comical and I  couldn’t resist sharing some of the outtakes with you guys and answer some of your questions about the state of my uterus while we are at it.

 

prego

When did you find out?  Were you guys trying?

I found out on January 25th.  It took us 2 years to get pregnant with Axton after several different  investigations into infertility.  This time we just decided to not “try” but not prevent either.  Probably TMI for you guys!  I didn’t track any dates, download any calendars, or even really think about it.  I told my hubs that if we didn’t have another baby I was going to open a studio when Axton goes to Pre-K (he is 3.5 now) so I wouldn’t be devastated if we didn’t have another baby and I would have something to look forward to.  Is that weird?  Either way it made me feel better.  60 days later we had a positive pregnancy test.  God is GOOD!

When are you due?  How far along are you?

I am 15 weeks pregnant and due October 7th.  I am pretty sure I was 2 weeks pregnant when I found out.  I feel like I look huge compared to my last pregnancy since I haven’t been able to button my pants since about 8 weeks.  Maternity clothes came a lot sooner this time.  But I’ve been told your body whips right back into pregnancy mode the second time around.  And I love stretchy pants, so I was secretly not looking forward to wearing skinny jeans.

How did you tell your hubby?

This time I didn’t buy the fancy and expensive pregnancy tests, I just got the ones from the Dollar Store.  After trying to have a baby for 2 years I wasted a lot of money on those pee sticks and I realized the Dollar Store ones were just as effective.  I placed the pregnancy test on the kitchen counter by where I put my outgoing paint shipments for the next day so he would see it when he got home.  As he walked in the door he picked up the test and then slapped it down on the counter and didn’t say a word.  Jaw dropped I said “Do you know what that is?”  Confused he said “Ugh, it looks like some weird thing going out with the paint shipments?” 

I guess since he had never seen what a cheapo pregnancy test looked like he had no idea what he was looking at.  After further explanation I got a big hug and kiss.  And a good laugh thankful some lucky online customer didn’t get a pregnancy test in their paint shipment.

 

prego outtakes 

{The above photo looks like I’m either regretting the burrito I ate for lunch or I am about to burst into tears – which has been a common theme lately!}

How have you been feeling?

I feel like I’ve been on the verge of throwing up and crying for months.  This pregnancy has been very different from my last one.  I have felt a lot more tired and emotional.  All bets are on a girl because I can pretty much guarantee tears are shed on a daily basis.  And I am normally not into crying so this is a new thing for me!

Will you find out the sex?

YES.  I am a planner and I have to know!  We will find out the sex on my next doctor’s appointment on May 7th.  Only 3 weeks away! 

prego outtakes 22

{Hi awkward Senior Class Picture.  And after doing the math this baby will graduate in 2032.  And I will be 50 years old by then.  I think I just had a panic attack.}

Have you had any cravings?

More like aversions.  I have been almost vegetarian this pregnancy.  I can barely eat or smell any meat.  Prior to pregnancy I could throw down a steak with no problem, now the thought just turns my stomach.  I have been eating lots of beans, nuts, eggs, and cheese to make up for lack of meat eating.  My iron levels have remained normal so my doc isn’t concerned.  And I have lost 2lbs. since getting pregnant!  I wish I ate this much fruit and veggies and ate this healthy when I wasn’t pregnant!  PS:  I can still eat bacon.

How did you tell your family?

We took Axton to my parent’s and Scott’s Mom’s house wearing this T-Shirt.  Everyone was shocked because they had no idea we were even thinking or trying to have another baby! 

On April Fools I decided to share the news on my personal Facebook wall.

Caption:  April Fools?  You decide!

april fools

Everyone kept asking me when I was going to make it FB official.  And you could tell the awkward glances were coming from friends and people at church – because no one wants to ask a woman if she’s pregnant! 

Is Axton excited to be a big brother?

YES!  We just told him last week because that is what the books recommend – waiting until the first trimester is over and until your bump is getting more obvious. 

He insists that the portal of communication is via my belly button so he talks directly into it telling the baby he loves it and wants it to come out to play.

He has made it clear he wants a baby brother because he doesn’t like girls or girl toys.  And he insists on naming it Ryder – after his favorite guy on Paw Patrol.  Pretty sure we are going to pass on that name but it’s been fun seeing him be excited about brotherhood!

 

prego outtakes 1

Any name contenders?

Yes.  But I’m keeping them a secret for now because I have plenty of time to change my mind between now and then.  Scott named Axton so we really want an original name again.  We can’t name this baby Joe after having an Axton, after all.

 

Any nursery ideas?

This has been the most commented and asked subject. 

“Can’t wait to see the nursery!”

“I bet the nursery will be amazing!”

No pressure, right!  I haven’t thought too much about the nursery because that bedroom looks like a homeless shelter right now and I can’t plan too much until we know the gender.  So I’m trying not to fall in love with any ideas right now. 

I do have a preliminary Pinterest Board where I am currently brainstorming – which you can follow here.

We are excited for Baby #2 and to share this journey with you all!  Thank you for all of your well wishes and words of encouragement!  From the bottom of my baby bump – you guys are the best (sniffle – sniffle)!

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Coming October 2014

prego 2

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