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Day 6 of June's Special Financial Challenge

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by , 06-07-2009 at 12:14 AM (946 Views)
The goal: To raise as much money as possible this money to pay down debt

The total so far: $144.37

I should subtitle today's blog as "The Garage Sale That Never Was"

As some of you know, I have been planning all week to set up at a craft/thrift/garage sale that the store in which I have my booth is sponsoring. They have been talking for some time about having a big parking lot sale every Saturday, and the owner informed me this week that this would be the first Saturday. She told me that they had put out a bunch of advertising and talked to the thrift sale booths that set up every Sunday in a nearby community, and that they expected a big turnout.

My first disappointment was when she initially told me that people who had booths in her store would be allowed to set up a table for free, then later told me it would be $15/week. I wasn't thrilled about that, but it is a reasonable amount at a successful flea market location, so I didn't say anything about her change of mind.

My next disappointment was yesterday, when I checked the weather report for today, and it was predicting rain, and lots of it, all day.

Nevertheless, I set my alarm for 5:00 am, packed up my gear, and drove to the craft store, arriving at 6:45 am, later than I wanted to be there, and worried about whether I'd have a booth find a totally empty parking lot.

I started to set up, a little concerned, and then the owner's husband showed up. He said that most of the vendors had cancelled because of the weather, but that I could set up and he wouldn't charge me. I was there, all my stuff was unpacked, so I went ahead and set up. Eventually, one other vendor showed up, a fellow who sales a lot of eclectic things, but mostly "guy" stuff (tools, knives, etc.). I joked that we had a "his" and "hers" set-up.

SIX HOURS of sitting there, with almost NO customers. The few that showed up didn't buy anything. Mostly, people drove up, saw that there were only two tables out, and drove by. I stopped counting at twenty who looked, or even stopped, then drove on.

So I start talking to the owner's husband. Turns out that they didn't get around to advertising until TWO DAYS AGO, and then only in a couple of local fliers. Also, the owner did stop by at the other flea market and talk to the vendors, but that was WEEKS ago, and she never got around to telling them we were going to start this week. So the few people she had who said they would show up were mostly just those of us who had booths in her store.

The good news, other than that they didn't charge me $15, was that the sun DID come out, and it was basically a pretty nice day. A little cool, but it didn't rain at all. Also, I did sell a few items (mostly plants - thanks, Hollyhill for the tip!!!), and pocketed $16.50 in profits.

Most worth my time, though, was that I spent six hours talking to the other person who showed up, who does this for a living, and he really told me a lot about the in's and out's of selling at flea markets. He profiled customers as they came in; talked about how he finds his inventory; and even told me that my car needed power steering fluid!! (He said he knew by the sound it made when I drove up to pack my stuff at the end of the day.) He was also a really interesting person who had been on the wrong side of the law a lot in his earlier years, and it was kind of fun to compare notes with him.

He also ended up buying a plant from me, as today is his mother's bday, and he wanted a present for her!

We are both planning on showing up next Saturday, to give it another try. He says he makes $200-300 a day at the other flea markets, and most of his stuff was $1-3 bric-a-brac, so if HE is willing to give it one more try, who am I to argue?!

I am hoping word of mouth gets out and people start to come regularly. I also put a bug in the owner's husband's ear that I would be willing to come and get the place opened up on Saturdays, collect rent from the vendors, etc. in exchange for a free space for my booth. He seemed interested, and even mentioned paying "whoever" did that a little something for their efforts, but didn't say anything definite about it being me. I'm hoping, if I show up a few weeks in a row (provided that we do better next week), he'll take me up on the offer.

So, in preparation for next week, I am optimistically going to transplant a few more cuttings and start some lavender cuttings and seeds. The most popular plant I had was my aquatic mint, so I pulled some more of that and some horsetail reed this afternoon, as well as some plain old spearmint, and brought home some watercress to root from the store. I am going to have a little bog/pond plant area. Maybe even figure out some tabletop water gardens. I am also going to transplant a few more chives, as some of those sold. I have a couple of aloe I can transplant, but otherwise, I'll have to wait for the ones I already have to have a few more babies.

Meanwhile, I am $16.50 richer today, and still looking for ways to make money throughout the week....

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Fluff and Feathers


  1. mauimagic's Avatar
    Madhen, your day really did have some blessings in it - your coseller sounds like a real find and good source of information. You definitely made lemonade out of lemons or wine out of dandelions!!
  2. Debbie-cat's Avatar
    What a disappointment! However you were able to turn it around to make a few bucks, get some advice about flea markets, learn about your power steering fluid and maybe earn money andnot a have pay for a booth in the future! All in all, I think it was a productive day! $16.50 is better in your pocket than someone elses. Congrats!