Sunday, June 25, 2017

More Vintage Shopping, Shopkeeping

My Panoply sisters and I have a loose rule we like to follow when we style our booth spaces: nothing that goes into the booths goes back home*. What we typically do is cram our booths with more and more stuff, and then eventually try to restyle things when it starts looking too junky (to us). Remember the last time I talked about going shopping (here), at an estate sale with transferware and other finds? Well, I went back twice more in May, once with sister M, and we bought more things. We also shopped for sister J, too - it's always fun spending someone else's money.  Some of the things I bought are pictured in the collage below.
The owner was a collector, mostly of primitive things, but had a little of everything. I bought the needlepoint "God Bless Our Home", the pastoral print, the shutter ensemble, all the blue enamelware and milk stool, mason jar, chicken feeder, rolling pin (one piece), shaving ensemble (all purchased separately, but assembled by me), green deck chair (child's) and a cheese box full of old hardware.

I also stretched my self-imposed limitation of not buying big stuff anymore and bought the white farmhouse hutch piece pictured in the collage below. Not so big, but heavy enough it took two to handle, and it was filthy. These photos were taken outside, right after I cleaned it. For those who do not know, let me tell you...most of the time we antique dealers go to great lengths and multiple steps (picking, hauling, cleaning/repairing/painting, storing, pricing, hauling and styling) to get things presentable for your browsing and buying pleasure.
Everything staged in the photos above except the watering can was purchased at the sale also. My finds included two more of the Royal Stafford "Hayride" plates, 4 red transferware butter pats, a brown transferware syrup pitcher with pewter, hinged lid and the the little woven bird nest. See that black item on the top shelf between the two plates? That is an antique Fries brand flour sifter - in excellent condition. That was one of the items we picked for sister J.

Pictured below are a few more items we picked for sister J, our primitive queen. Her picks include a nested set of Roseville mixing bowls, a bee smoker, a "make-do" storage crate (Peters Cartridge ammunition) with screen bottom, various butter molds, and butter/cookie presses.
Sister M picked several things too, and the convertible stepstool/ironing board pictured below was just one of hers. This photo is the after condition (picture quality not great, it's what my sister quickly texted me after completing the makeover). Like the hutch I bought, this thing was filthy. She cleaned it up and then recovered the ironing board. 
All in all, this one sale was what the American Pickers' Mike Wolfe refers to as a honey hole. We hit that honey hole numerous times.

I took only the child's deck chair and shaving ensemble to the booth on the 30th (May), and the chair sold the same day. The shaving ensemble was placed in a locked curio cabinet (which also tends to get crammed on occasion). ;)
Sister M went on vacation for a week, so it wasn't until mid-June when we worked another long day in our spaces to get some of this stuff into our booths and rearrange things that were looking pretty junky to us. How the [primarily] affected space appeared before - at the end of May - was as pictured below. You think this is the junky part I was referring to? Nope, that part's beyond the shutter/shelf divider.
When we finished our day of crammin', below is how that same space looked after - mid June. The main changes were bringing in the farmhouse hutch and table on which it sits, the green shutter ensemble, and the picket fence shelving unit (where the picnic things are). The green wicker cart displaced a 4-square cubby and louvered cabinet which sat upon the 4-square (as seen, above).
We styled the hutch with garden items.
Two days later, sister M finished her convertible chair/ironing board makeover, so we hurried back to the store and flipped that picnic vignette, including the direction of the picket fence unit. Now the backside of the fence unit and the chair/ironing board face the front entry of the mall. The vignette looks a little like a farmhouse laundry day that could be outside, on any given summer day. The picnic happens (on the flipside of the fence) when the work is done. :)

Right after Father's Day we tweaked it a bit more, moving the picnic further away, and enamelware on the flipside of the fence shelving unit.
The space overview, after numerous adjustments, below.
It is simultaneously amazing and frustrating to experience how long it takes us to redo any spaces with a lot of 'junk' - the kind of stuff pickers really love digging into. Not too glamorous, but here's what we did. First, we repositioned all the hardware onto the 4-square cubby, on the aisle, just at the end of the shutter/shelving unit. This is a good place to dig, and a shelf to spread things out (a teeny bit) while digging.
The shutter/shelf divider is where the real digging has to happen. Look at this (below), and this is after we worked to straighten things out and group like items logically. It's cozy, I'll say that, lol. You can see the back side of the farmhouse hutch through the shelves.
The mantiques area is directly across from that cozy area above, so it all kind of bleeds together. We necessarily shifted things in the mantiques area also. We turned the desk unit perpendicular to the wall to gain some floor/wall space. In this instance, it's the stacked crates and metal boxes that filled the extra space. That entire column of hanging chairs and stacked crates is another fine example of utilizing booth space effectively. The chair seat even becomes a shelf. ;)
Believe it or not, the domino that precipitated many of these moves was a screen that sold out of our commonly called main space while sister M was on vacation. The sale created visibility from our booth to the adjacent neighbor, something we like to avoid. We like our spaces 'walled off' from adjacent spaces. Suffice it to say, at least four big pieces of furniture were moved to get the 'right' look again in that main space.  If you look at the photo below, the top frame's (before) entire left side shifted, including the louvered screen which moved to the right side (see bottom frame for after). The screen which sold is barely visible in the top frame (a scallop at center of that right side).
The best return on investment with time spent shuffling the small things (those things which amazingly and frustratingly take so much time) is noticing those things moved starting to sell. We have so much stuff it really is hard for customers to take it all in, so we need to be diligent in rotating things just so they can be seen and have a chance to sell. If something big sells, then we hurriedly try to fill the void with big-ticket items. at which time the small stuff may end up becoming a game of Go Fish! for customers; that is, until we get the gumption for another round of de-crammin'.

So, that's all the shopping and shopkeeping for now. I suppose it's time to move on to some Panoply paperwork. Or, maybe some more shopping. ;)

*Note about our loose rule:  We will take out holiday-specific items from our booths after the calendar date, although the timing varies as to when. We will also take out a piece of furniture if it's been there a long time unsold AND we have something better to style in its place.

PS:  I forgot to mention one other item I purchased at that same sale, a personal keeper (for now). Can you guess which item it is, based on comparing the picture below with prior pictures in this post?

(A special thanks to Kathryn at the Dedicated House Make It Pretty #219 for featuring this post!)
Rita C. at Panoply

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