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Hello fellow flea market dealers! I love to hear stories about how people got into the flea market business -
What they sold first?
Funny mistakes?
Not so funny ones,
What people have learned? and all...

So I thought, what a great way here at IAO to share our experience with new flea market dealers and people who think they might like to jump in the "Deep Water" with us, than to share some of our own stories.

Join me in the pool anyone?

Briefly - here is my tale.
I was a young divorced mother of two when I met my husband Jim (he wasn't my hubby then of course:)
He was selling coins at coin shows and painting house full time. I was going to school and making feather earrings and hanging macrame and rusty found object art (Of course they didn't have a name for it then). I was giving my things away to friends and never would have had the courage to sell anything if it hadn't been for Jim. I was painfully shy and had never sold anything in my life except for handmade Beatle shirts to the kids in my neighborhood when I was a young teen.
Jim sold some of my things at a couple of his coin shows. I wouldn't even go because I didn't know what I would say to anyone if they spoke to me. And what if they didn't like my things and said so?
When Jim gave me the money for my stuff I thought it was charity - I guess I didn't really think they sold. I thought he was just being nice. Well he dragged me to a flea market.
The first day at Mary's Flea Market in Oklahoma City I wouldn't get out of the car. But he did sell some of my jewelry. I saw it with my own eyes. I eventually ventured from the car and was bitten by the selling bug. Then you couldn't stop me. Suffice to say I am no longer shy. I love selling face to face with the public. It energizes me. People overall are wonderful. And the cash-in-hand isn't shabby either.

PS - Here's a pic of my daughter a while back at the FM.

Until later - Here's to happy selling everyone and arrive home safely,
The Maven

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Replies to This Discussion

I sold at a Flea market for the first time last summer. It wasn't well managed or publicized, and I was one of those who came week after week, even when the tents blew down and there was mud in the field. I did a little better than break even, and learned a lot about what should be done to make a successful market.

I've done project management for several non-profits and for-profit events, and could see what would make the market better for both sellers and buyers - but, with only my $30 weekend fee as leverage, the owner didn't listen, and by August most of the sellers had become discouraged.

What I learned was that distance between sellers has to be optimal; there should be places for shade and places to perch; having someone sell water and snacks is a BIG DEAL in hot summery Minnesota; too many amway vitamin energy enhancement cosmetics cable contract and aluminum siding sellers drives browsers and buyers away - as does too much evangelizing by either booths or visitors.

Good signage is important - and it's important to be able to step outside one's own good intentions and see things through the eyes of buyers and visitors. When I added inexpensive exotic (mexican and vietnamese) candies to give to kids, their parents were able to stop longer at my booth - and this was good for my neighbors, too - some weekends I'd sell more bags and cans of these free treats than I sold china and pottery (my schtick).

I think that's the hardest thing for people to do - see through the eyes of the people they are serving instead of through our own self-enchantment.

Weekends when I had lots of cash I was happy even when tired; on slow weekends, I was tired and discouraged, and everything I had to pack seemed heavier than possible.


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