Tips and Tricks for Vintage Traders

We often get asked by our vintage traders for tips and advice to get the most out of our vintage fairs. From stall layout to what stock to bring it can be a real mind field for vintage traders starting out so we thought we’d ask Joe to cobble together a few hints and tips to get you going! Joe has a unique perspective on this subject as he is a vintage fair virgin – so listen to his sound advice on what customers are after…hopefully it will help you get some fab sales!

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As a complete newbie to the world of vintage fairs, I have to say I am incredibly excited to be helping out at Liverpool Does Vintage on the 26th April!  From what I’ve seen since starting my placement, the sheer amount of work that goes into making these fantastic events happen is incredible, and I have high expectations for my first fair.  As a first timer, I am able to see into the head of a new prospective customer.  From this, Alex has asked me to compile a few tips and suggestions as to what I’ll be looking out for at the fairs! Here goes…

  • Catch my eye from the word “go”.  Although I always like to have a real nosey around fairs and shops before making a purchase, not everyone does the same.  Personally, the last thing I want to do is spend all of my time and money on one stall near the entrance only to find a ton of awesome stalls tucked away at the end.  But the only way you’re going to hold my (very short) attention span is by making your stall look f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s!  Set it apart from the others with decorations, and the bigger and more original the better. *Alex’s suggestion – turn your stall into a mini shop! Place carpet on the floor, signs at the front and arrange everything on many different levels! Place items you really want to sell between waist and chest height as this is the zone we all automatically look at first!
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Even the finer details such as personalised hangers look great!

  • Be friendly but not like “hey there, please buy things” friendly.  I’ve worked in retail and customer service for years and I know EXACTLY how frustrating it is to have someone chill next to your stock and not buy anything.  But when I’m a customer one of my pet hates is “are you alright there?” because I know it’s a completely transparent façade and really you want me to buy something and leave.  I absolutely adore sellers who chat to me about my day and have some actual banter instead of treat me like an exchange, and I know that a lot of other shoppers do too!  Friendliness and casual conversation will definitely increase sales.  I just know it. *Alex’s suggestion – the traders who do the best at our fairs are those who don’t sit down and who chat to other traders and customers! These guys always walk away with better profit than those who sit behind their rails unseen! 
  • Make your pricing clear. I hear that students make up a decent percentage of visitors to the vintage fairs, and as a student, I’m always on the lookout for something cheap (seriously,  I’ve fallen SO far in terms of quality in order to avoid additional debt it is ridiculous. But it’s a lifestyle.)  I’m a terrible haggler, so I often take things at their immediate price, and judge a lot of things based on how they cost as opposed to how they look. But what if i can’t find the price…i’ll probably just walk on and find it elsewhere!  *Alex’s suggestions – always bring a discount rail/box so those who really are after a fab bargain can find one with you! Clear signage and pricing is also a MUST as many customers wont ask! If you have any fair deals – make sure everyone can see them! The more professional they look – the better!

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  • Show me something I’m not going to get anywhere else.  Recycling old styles is something that is always a popular thing on the high street.  I spend a lot of money on the High Street and if I’m coming to the vintage fair it’s because I want to be surprised with something I can’t get in other places.  I hate going into vintage stores and seeing ten of the same jumper in sizes XS to XL. I got an awesome jumper from a vintage store for Christmas a few years back only to then see THREE OTHER PEOPLE WEARING IT TOO – In the same day! I want something original, exciting, and nothing like the high street; and a vintage fair is a perfectly accessible place for me (and others) to find this! *Alex’s suggestion – many traders associate students with retro jumpers, funky t-shirts etc – this is just not the case, especially in our more affluent towns like York and Durham! Students are just as much after that gorgeously unique sequinned top or 40s bag, so make sure you bring a great variety of quality stock to all fairs!

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And that’s pretty much it!  I still don’t quite know what to expect in two weekends time but boy am I excited!

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Thanks Joe … I think you will agree with us that there are some super tips there! Here are just a few extras we feel will help you get through the day!

  • Bring a float – if your prices aren’t round figures make sure you have the 10ps at the ready! Also make sure you have a few spare £s in your car for the car park at the start of the day!
  • Food – although we allow traders to eat at their stalls, please bare in mind that this is sometimes a huge turn off for customers, especially if you’re eating a stinky sandwich! If you’re a fan of tuna or egg than perhaps ask a nearby trader to look after your stall so you can pop elsewhere for a quick bite!
  • Make sure all boxes and bags are concealed – the last thing customers want to see is mess!
  • Bring a camera – some of our most successful traders work hard on social media too – take lots of snaps of your stall and customers to post over the week and get your customers to ‘like’ your fb page so they know where you will be next
  • Make friends with other traders … you never know what business they may have for you!
  • Lastly … research car parks – this is a fab link to finding the cheapest car park around so you aren’t spending a fortune before you’ve even set up!

And there we have it folks … we look forward to seeing you all soon! Please do share with all your ‘trader’ friends so they too can make the most out of vintage fairs!

We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x
(and of course Gina) 

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