To read My Vintage Market Days Experience-Part One, click here. That post mostly focused on my Down in the Delta-The Traveling Show shop at the event. Today, I will talk about the big picture...
I was so excited when I learned that Vintage Market Days was coming to Mobile. Mobile getting something like this in our area? Something BIG. I signed up immediately to be a vendor.
When filling out the application, one thing I needed to explain was that I had my own market, and with this being a franchise, they have certain rules, regulations and policies that each owner must follow, so I had to sign a form saying I wouldn't compete with them. In reality, my Down in the Delta markets are really not much like this at all, and I don't want it to ever grow into something this huge. (That would just kill me...I watched how hard LaDon was working!) I already have my branding established, my website, and the way I do things, so that shouldn't be a problem. I am also in Baldwin County and mine takes place in the countryside rather than an urban exhibition or convention hall. Also, my two events per year will always be scheduled at different weekends from this market. As an example, the next VMD is scheduled for March, 2017 and the Spring DitD Market is scheduled for early May. Honestly, some of the items on the form I filled out, I didn't fully understand, but I knew that it was reasonable, so I didn't have a problem signing it. I think I only got into trouble one time...I had DitD Market cards out for customers to pick up, and they told me I had to remove them from view. I figured if I just followed what the other vendors were doing, I would be okay. I saw that they had cards out, so I put mine out. When I asked about that, they explained that those were all VMD future shows that these vendors were participating in. I had not noticed exactly what was on the cards, so now that made sense to me. It's just part of participating in a franchised event...the organizers have to follow the rules in place. She told me I could put them on the bags of customers, so I removed them from the counter top and did what she asked. Anyone who knows me knows that I am honest to a fault. I'm the kid who didn't open my mouth in school for fear I'd get in trouble, and the employee who couldn't sleep at night if I accidentally brought home a pen in my pocket and couldn't wait to get back to work to return it. I think I blushed when she called me out on my cards...I really don't want to do anything that gets me into any hot water. I hope I wasn't too much trouble and they'll let me come back in March. Live and learn...now I know how it works.
I couldn't do half of what I do without my sweet husband (of almost thirty years, but that's another post!!) He took a vacation day from his real job to help me set up. He did all the heavy lifting, and I did the rest which took a total of two days. He then swooped in with the truck and trailer at 5:00 on Sunday to take what was left back to the warehouse. I love my man and appreciate him for the way he wants to help me follow my dreams.
My set-up...It took me two days to get set up and ready, but I was pleased with the way it all came together. It had my gypsy style stamp all over it! You always learn from every time you set up and tear down. What I learned: Buying two spaces was the perfect size for me, I need more grid wall to go around all three sides, and I'll make more banners next time. I will set it up in generally the same way with a loop for patrons to follow through the booth. That gives me four nice focal point areas to display-front center, back center, and the left and right sides on the front. I'm already visualizing it in my head.
Once the doors opened, it was so busy with literally thousands of shoppers that I could never leave. I had my daughter-in-law, April, helping me on Friday and I couldn't have gotten through that first day without her. I was writing and she was wrapping...as fast as we could move! On Saturday, my youngest grand-daughter, Leah, helped. She was so cute and is actually interested in what I do, so it was fun having her there. She ran around and got lunch, brought me water, shopped for me, and whatever else I asked her to do. She was worn out at the end of that day, but she was happy because it was a paying job, so she had money to shop some, too. The last day, I had no help, so it was the hardest one to get through. They had a system in place to call the organizer, LaDon, and she would come and stay in your booth for you to leave for a bit, which I did once, but I hated to call her for that because she had a lot going on. I'm not complaining here, because we all know this is the kind of problems you hope for as a vendor at a market! Just sharing my experience...
I learned that I needed one person to help me through the entire three days, rather than a different person each day. Each vendor gets an armband for one helper. I thought that we would have a necklace badge/pin for one helper each day in your booth (because that's the way it's been done in other shows that I've participated in and how I do at DitD) but the armbands are meant for one person to wear the entire event, and you're actually supposed to purchase extra tickets/armbands for each different helper in your booth. I was thinking that they wanted you to purchase extra tickets for each helper if you had more than two in your booth on any given day. Anyway, they were very nice and understanding about this. This event made me a little smarter about how much help I need next time, and that it should be the same person all three days unless I want to purchase extra tickets, which is not a big deal, but I just needed to understand how it was supposed to be done.
Now, for a couple of pics...this first one is the cute "office" out of which the owners, LaDon and Hannah Paige work. Each vendor filed into the little space to check in and get squared away before setting up. I thought it was a restored little trailer, but it's actually a brand new reproduction...now it's got me wanting one. It's decked out on the inside with all of the modern conveniences they need.
Like I told you, it was so busy that I didn't have much time to walk around and look, shop, or take pictures, but I did get a few before the doors opened. I will say that I have never seen so many vendors go so out of this world with their set-up! To relate it to a circus, this would have been like Cirque-du-Soleil. Several businesses travel from VMD event to VMD event, and they go all over the country. They are all friends and it's like a little sub-culture. They have it down to a science and are the most organized people I've ever seen. A lot of them were packed up and out before we were! And I'm talking about taking down amazing structures and then packing up their merchandise! Here are a couple of pics I snapped.
Here's a shot of my friend, Linda, from Coastal Charm Interiors. Linda is not only one of my very dear friends, but she was also my neighbor at the event. (Thank you LaDon!) Linda's space is always amazing and very popular! She had her hubby helping her during most of the event and they couldn't even get a break to eat lunch!
Several of my other friends were also set up and some of them also participate in my market. I never had a chance to get by to take pics of their spaces because they were a good distance away from where we were set up. My friend, Corinne, was set up way down at the other end (right beside my friend Ellen from Alice in Wonderland) and she gifted me with a piece of her fabulous art-a mermaid. She said I was the one who got her going on the mermaid thing, because for those of you who didn't know, I am a mermaid! I have the best friends, and it's true what they say- Friends are the best treasures. Here's a pic of the fabulous mermaid that she painted and gave to me. I will treasure it and her friendship always.
This post is getting long, and I don't want to lose you, so I'm going to wrap it all up by saying this: If you are a vendor of antiques/vintage goods or anything else that's very high quality with nice staging abilities, you need to apply to participate in this event. It was very well organized and is owned by two of the sweetest ladies you will ever want to meet. LaDon and Hannah, thank you for making it such a pleasant experience, even in the Mobile heat. That was out of your control, and you were promised a cool building, so it's my opinion that the city of Mobile-The Grounds, needs to get their act together and add some air conditioning to that hall so that they don't let this amazing opportunity that you ladies brought to Mobile suffer. Overall, if I'm grading this event, it gets an "A." LaDon and Hannah should be proud.