Sunday, 7 April 2013

My First Show!

On Saturday I had my first show with my vintage shop. It was a great day – I learned a lot and met some really nice people who shared my loved for vintage. The show was in St Catharines, Ontario - just south of Niagara Falls. My wonderful mother got up with me at the break of dawn and off we headed to the show! (of course after stopping for a much needed Starbucks coffee). We got there a little later than I had planned, so it felt a little rushed getting everything in and set up, but we made it just in time for the a very large crowd to rush in at 9am sharp!

I have to admit that I loved my display. I was really proud of how it turned out. I used a beautiful set of vintage creates as my backdrop and just filled them with all of my finds. This was really easy to set up and the crates drew a lot of attention - I would definitely use these again! And the crates made it easy to transport my items - I just filled them with stuff and transported them to the show.

My $3 frame
My booth setup

Last year I purchased a beautiful vintage frame for $3 at an estate sale and my amazing boyfriend went out and printed my sign for me. He placed it in the frame and I simply love it! I have to admit that it was a little too big for the space I had, but I just had to show it off.

The day went by fairly quickly and I had the chance to chat with so many friendly people. I can’t think of anything better than spending my entire day talking about vintage. Before we knew it, the clock struck 2pm and it was time to go.
......... Ugh, time to pack up.

My lessons learned

Since this was my first show with the shop, I really went in to it knowing that this would be a learning opportunity and something that would help me grow my shop and improve the quality of my future booths. Here are some of the things that I learned (just to name a few!)

1. I’d rather be overprepared then underprepared.
I definitely spent a bit too much time preparing – BUT I’m really glad that I did. It made setting up and getting ready less stressful because I already knew where everything needed to be placed. I had set up my display in my living room before packing up and took pictures. I even measured the space and taped it off so that I knew exactly how much room I would have on the day. When I arrived at the event, I just opened the photo and set up from there – so easy!
2. Ask questions!
Getting ready for any event – especially your first one – requires a lot of planning. It pays to think ahead and ask the host of the show any and all questions that you may have. I’m sure I drove the host crazy for this event, but I had a lot of questions and didn’t hesitate to ask them. If you aren’t sure about something – find out the answer! You would hate to show up and realize that the show wasn’t what you had planned for. I’m glad I asked

Standing in my 'spot' at my beautiful display!
3. Stand up and be friendly.
One thing that always drives me crazy when I attend fairs/shows is when the vendors sit behind their booths, text their friends and don’t make any eye contact with you as you pass by. I often don’t want to stop because I don’t feel welcome. Although my legs were killing me after standing on them for 7 hours, I’m glad that I stood right beside my booth for the entire show. This allowed me to greet people and pass out business cards. My advice is – although it might hurt – be present in your display. It makes a difference!
4. Know who you’re selling to.
I wish I had thought more about this. I was working with a very small area and wish that I had brought different items to sell. As I was standing there and speaking with some of the visitors, I kept flashing back to some of the items that I had left in my shop and was thinking “oh gosh, this would have been perfect for this customer”. Darn! It pays to think about what people are going to want to buy.
5. Taking down your booth is by far the least enjoyable part of the day.
You’re tired, hungry, thirsty and wish you didn’t have to take down the beautiful booth that you’ve erected only hours earlier.
Overall, it was a great day and I’m so excited for my next show (which I’m currently working on setting up). I think I just needed to get this first one under my belt to feel confident in knowing that I could do it and that people would like my shop and the vintage items I had to offer. I have to admit that I loved all of the compliments that came my way and it made me very proud of the work that I do.  Thank you to everyone who visited my shop at the event! 
I hope that some of my learnings are helpful to any of you taking on the challenge of doing a show. In the end, I think what is most important is that you smile and have fun!

Now… on to the next show!


  1. Kim, your display looks amazing! I love the crate idea and your sign :) Just perfect!

  2. Looks great, Kim! So glad you had a good experience with it, and are gearing up for more. Soon you'll be an expert (and people with questions will be coming to YOU!)

  3. Nice set-up Kim! Good advice too. Good luck with the shows. Congrats on your new blog. :)