Starting an Antique Booth on a Small Budget – What I’ve Learned
Today I’m sharing all about our new adventure – starting an antique booth on a small budget and what I’ve learned these past 3 months while having one!
Did you know that my mom and I run an antique booth? You may have seen sneak peeks in my Instagram stories, but today I want to share some tips for starting an antique booth on a small budget!
In the YouTube video above, I take you guys shopping with me as I hunt for items for our booth. At the end of the video I share some footage of my styled second hand treasures, so be sure to watch if you love thrifting as much as I do!
Earlier this spring I was presented with an offer to open up my very own antique booth at a local coffee shop. This historic building in our cute little downtown area has the most amazing coffee downstairs, and the upstairs is filled with a mixture of old and new treasures.
I have had a long time friendship with the sweet owner, and she reached out early in the year to see if I’d be interested in having my very own booth. I will admit, I was hesitant at first. Before anything else I am a wife and mom, and then a blogger – and with three little ones and another on the way, I just didn’t know if I’d be able to make it work.
I talked to my mom about it, though, since she and I both have a love for all things vintage. We have always dreamed of one day having a booth of our own since we often thrift and shop together and pass up neat treasures all of the time.
We both decided to give it a go and see how we liked it, since oftentimes what we dream up in our heads is not always reality! This year was sort of a test run, and I must say that I have truly enjoyed this fun and creative outlet!
I won’t say that I’ve given it my best effort, not even close. I would love to take the time to shop flea markets and curate a beautiful collection of vintage goods specifically for our booth, but as I type this blog post I’m approaching the 37th week of my fourth pregnancy, and hauling decor from all over the state isn’t exactly wise or possible this summer.
For now, we’ve done what we could on a small budget, and I’m hopeful and excited about the future. Today I’d like to share some things I’ve learned since starting our booth, as well as some tips if you’re looking to open your own booth on a small budget.
How much does it cost to rent an antique booth?
To be honest, every antique store is different and you’ll have to do your own research and call local stores near you to see if having a booth is in your budget. From what I’ve gathered, most antique shops charge booth owners rent. In my situation, we have the unique blessing of giving the owner a percentage of everything we earn, rather than paying a monthly rental fee.
If money is tight for you, talk to the shop owner and see if they would be willing to negotiate with you and work out something similar!
Where do you find items to place in your booth?
Shop Your Home
I think the best place to look when starting your own antique booth is your very own decor stash. If you love decorating like I do, you most likely have a closet or basement full of items that aren’t being used. I could not believe how easily we filled our booth simply with decor that I already had on hand.
Thankfully, the shop owner is totally open to us incorporating both antique and newer decor items. When we first opened the booth I had a good mixture of new pillows, lamps and decor right alongside antique tables and vintage home goods.
Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, and Facebook Marketplace
Another great place to shop when starting a booth on a small budget is thrift stores, garage sales and Facebook Marketplace.
I already love shopping these places for my own home, so it’s easy for me to keep an eye out for items that might do well in our booth.
If you make candles, soaps or sew your own pillow covers, ask the shop owner if you can sell your handmade items in the booth! I happened to have paintings available on my blog, and I decided to print several of them and sell them in our antique booth. Be sure to label your items with terms like “handmade” or “local artist” – I have been amazed by how many paintings I’ve sold!
How Do You Know What to Price Items?
This has been the trickiest part for me by far. Sometimes I have the “Andrea mindset” and price things the way I would like to shop. I forget about the fact that I invested money into it, took time to haul it up to the booth, style it, and then of course a percentage of that sale will go to the shop owner.
You have to consider all of these things when you are deciding what to price your items. In the end, how much will actually make from this sale? Was it worth it?
At the very least, I tend to double the price of what I paid for the item I would like to sell. I am finding that I should probably be tripling that price in order to make a decent profit. Pricing is definitely something that is learned over time, and hopefully my Mom and I will get the hang of it eventually!
A Few More Tips…
Staging is Key
Just like homes are staged to sell, antique booths are much more successful when staged properly. I don’t mind digging, but when I approach a booth that is staged beautifully and well designed, I get so excited. It makes it easier for shoppers to envision your items in their own home, so stage well.
Whenever I’m decorating my own home, I like to incorporate flowers and stems in order to add life to a space. Your antique booth is no different! Do you feel like it’s lacking something? Spend some money on faux greenery and add it to baskets, vases and pitchers.
Check Your Booth Regularly
My mom and I like to call this “fluffing”. We try to check in often to see what sold, and what needs to be moved around and restyled. The cleaner the booth and the more well kept, the higher your sales will be.
I hope these tips on starting an antique booth on a small budget have helped you guys! I’ve so enjoyed having our very own antique booth this summer. If you have any other questions or if there’s something I missed, let me know in the comments below! 🙂[mailerlite_form form_id=2]
Oh my goodness you have amazing thrift stores! I was drooling over those white scalloped platters.Your booth space is absolutely adorable! I honestly don’t know how you do it all…especially being so far along in your pregnancy. I enjoy every single post, blog post & video. You’re such an inspiration. Thank you for all you provide for us. Anxiously awaiting some of your prints that I ordered, it was the least I could do with all of the inspiration you’ve given me.
Thank you so much, thrifting takes time and patience, but it is so worth it for all of the treasures you can find!
Hi Andrea, I have a question, actually 2 about your prints. What type of paper do you print them on and what sizes do they print (if they only print one size or appear blurry after a certain size)? You paint so beautifully and I’d love to own a couple of your prints. The colors would go so well in my home. Thank you!
Hello! I suggest mpix.com, just be careful when you go to checkout to review the crops carefully. I have done the textured linen paper, and I feel that it turns out so beautifully! I hope this helps, you can find my prints here: https://www.pineandprospecthome.com/shop/
Your booth is lovely – and your tips are great! I’ve often thought about a similar enterprise and been hesitant to try because of all of the variables. Rents here are pretty high so I’m afraid that I would have to charge more than I’d like to just to break even.
37 weeks – so so excited for your sweet family! Praying daily that all goes well with the arrival of this new little blessing!
Love your booth!! Just watched your video also. I have really gotten into thrift store & antique shopping this year. It excitedly crosses my mind every time I go…”I could do this. :)” I worked at a floral & gift shop for 13 years and especially loved staging all the displays. This is a sign that I should look into doing this. Thank you for sharing. xx
That is so exciting! You absolutely should and I hope it all goes well for you!
You are a GENIUS!!!!
Oh my goodness, you are too kind. Thank you!
Loved thrifting for your booth with you girls! Andrea, you purchased every single item that I ooohed and awwed over-lol!!
Your booth is beautiful and sounds fun to go and play/fluff😉
Lots of great tips, Sweetie pie; thanks for taking us along💕
Your booth is so welcoming and pretty..I would shop there all the time! One more place to find things for resale is along the side of the road. I see items all the time that would be lovely with some cleaning or paint, but have no room or time to tackle them.
Thank you and yes, I have done that several times as well, very good point thank you for sharing!
Ya’ll definitely have a gift for staging. Some booths are so chaotic that I just keep walking. Would you share the size of the booth? Did you pick the site or did the owner? Thanks for the inspiration.
Hello Amy, I am not sure on the size off the top of my head, I will try to figure that out. As far as the location, the owner picked. 🙂
Andrea, I love your suggestions and totally agree with you about not cluttering up your booth. I have been told by other booth owners that my booth needs more stuff, but their booths are so cluttered there is little room to walk. I much prefer being able to see the items for sale, and not have to worry about knocking things down while I’m looking. Thank you for the great advice. Your booth is lovely.
How or where do you purchase new items for a booth? Like flowers to sell?
I love craft stores for beautiful faux flowers, JoAnn’s, or Hobby Lobby!
When you put stems and floral in your booth it looks so inviting and I can see where it would give a vision and make items sell better. I’ve started a booth and started trying it. Wish it looked as good as yours. My question is do you put a price on the stems or include them in the price of the item they are in? Because they are very expensive investment to just give away in an item someone purchased from you?
It all depends on the stems and what you paid for them. You can find stems at thrift stores at very affordable rates that you could include or price separately! Garage sales can be great places as well!