First Exhibitor Show Done!

We finished our first show this last weekend.   We are tired, I’ve almost lost my voice, I have a few new brushes (as that happens when huffing furniture) and I am overjoyed with the blessings we saw!

We were at the Ann Arbor Saline Antiques and Vintage Market and while the show was on the smaller side we did well.   We came home with more pieces than we wanted but that’s alright.  My boys were right there helping us and offering free loading services!  They were so cute.

I’ll share a few pictures of our booth and then give you a top 10 things to do to prep for a show!

show4 show1 show3

Top Ten Things To Do BEFORE a show:

1.  Price everything at home.  You do not want to fiddle with this task at the show or on set up day.  When packing up the small stuff put your price tags on them.  Now you want small stuff, like glasses, frames, mirrors, anything that you think is unique, others may too!  These smalls help when your not selling the larger pieces.  They also make the booth inviting for others to come in.  Make your price tags cute too.  No one really wants a sticker on their item.  This was my tags.  A simple card from Vistaprint, cute string and your good to go!


2.  For your first show it is going to take you hours to load the cargo trailer.   Not knowing the exact way to load items and how they all fit in takes time.     So this may not be a surprise but it really did take us hours to load the trailer.  Also you need lots of blankets or moving blankets.  For the last few weeks I’ve been buying blankets at thrift stores, estate sales and garage sales.   I however, still could of used more and ended up using our beach towel and chair cushions for our patio furniture.   So get more blankets!  Side note here: Unloading takes only minutes in comparison to loading.   It was amazing.

3.  Rent the cargo van a day early so you can accomplish #2.   Make sure the cargo van does not have a flat tire before your leave on the day to set up.   Bob was checking the trailer Friday morning and noticed we had a flat tire.  We called the rental company and they had someone out to repair in in 90 minutes.  Yep 90 minutes meant a 90 minute delay.   The helper was nice and all worked out and praising God we found it in the driveway and it didn’t happen on the road.

tire guy

4. Have your helpers and husband take a few vacation days to get organized.  Nerves and excitement will be high so if you have the chance to take some extra time do it!  We enjoyed not loading and unloading the trailer in the same day.

5. Stop working on projects the weekend before the show.  Nothing last minutes needs to be added.   While i did sell a few of the small items we finished the weekend before I am glad I didn’t tackle anything else last minute.  Kept me sane!

6.  Plan your promotional materials weeks in advance.  I did an order for lawn signs for our logo and signage for the booth and that worked out great and were fairly inexpensive.  However they took 2 weeks to arrive.   Also any postcards or labels for sales slip need to be ordered early too.   This is the smaller lawn sign that we put on the wall and I made a bulletin board to attach the sign too.   We also had a large lawn sign you can see in pictures attached to the top of an old ladder with many paint spills we found at an estate sale.


7. Take pictures of your booth after your done setting up. This will help you to see how your items are displaying to the public and if anything is being blocked or a distraction to the big items.    We found our ladder, as you see from the picture above was blocking some of our items. We were able to move it behind the items and it made a cleaner look for our merchandise.

show photo ladder

8.  The first few hours of the show are CRAZY so be prepared.  We did 90% of our show sales in the first two hours.  Yeah I know, wild.    Have everything priced and talk to people.  Don’t you like it when people say “Good Morning” to you?  Ask if they are looking for anything in particular.  Most early shopper are looking for items!  Be prepared with payment slips and packaging.  No one wants you fumbling with sales slips or bags and you have other people to talk too.  My helpers were great with this.  Have SOLD signs for your items too.   We used PayPalHere for credit cards.  Fee is minimal, it’s a known name and some people don’t carry cash.

9.  My youngest kept asking us to each pick an item that we thought would be our first sale.  We were all wrong. Aim big and unique – that will sell first!  Our buffet to vanity was the first to sell.   I thought we would not sell it.   I love it. It was gorgeous.  I thought it was too unique to sell at the show.   The lady who bought it is building a new house and wanted to incorporate it into her bathroom. She is collecting items so her builder can work around it.    WOW was all I could say when Bob came back and told me it was SOLD.

10.  Have plenty of coffee and hot chocolate.  It’s a long weekend, a lot of work and but it’s FUN.    Upon waking on Saturday morning at a very early hour, Bob turns to me and says “and we do this for fun”!  HA HA I had a good laugh all day.  I was tired but it was FUN!   So if your thinking about doing a show. DO IT!

Thanks for listening and I hope these tips can help you with your show or give you ideas.

For you loyal followers, did you notice anything not featured yet?  You’ll see those next week. I’m off to take a vacation.  See you next Tuesday.



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