Flea Day-After: Long Beach
Yesterday was the Long Beach flea market and, as you recall, I was one of three garden bloggers who joined forces to sell there. We shared a stall and had a variety of wares on offer, including handmade decorative items for both inside and out, plants, miscellany, and artwork. Our experience was positive overall and we’re even thinking about doing it again in the spring. And, as on most days-after, I have thoughts that might be helpful should you find yourself in a similar sitch; they follow in no particular order:
a.) The selling partner with the weakest constitution, chronic pain issues and a mate with tickets to the ballet, is not allowed to contribute any item he can’t carry himself.
b.) Bring a hat and dress in layers. It will be hot, cool, cold, gusty, too bright and muggy. If it’s spring, add a swimsuit; there will be rain.
c.) Bring something decent to eat. The stadium concession food, while surpassing all minimum daily requirements for fats, preservatives and sodium, is not enticing. And, although I found an alternative in a nearby food truck, I also found a slice of bologna in my turkey club.
d.) If, as a seller, your stated purpose is “to get rid of things”, you should never leave your booth. Otherwise you’ll find yourself with a painted-but-attractively-chipped European bathtub that needs both transportation and a convincing cover story that explains your sudden ownership of it.
e.) It’s never a good idea to link one’s self-worth to items sold. The buying public is notoriously fickle, even when it thinks it knows what it desires; this renders them completely unreliable. As a seller, your instincts are correct, your product worthy. They do want what you’re selling, intensely, they’ve just forgotten for the moment that they do. Also: You may be down on yourself for not selling anything one moment, only to be flying high the next because the hordes have suddenly decided that they can’t live without your concrete gems (for example). The important thing is not to gloat, Dustin (for instance)! JK, he was humble at all times.
f.) Always: Turn on the charm; sharpen your ability to conjure up a colorful backstory for even the most commonplace item; ask if you can be helpful; offer to “do better”, price wise; bring change, business cards, comfortable shoes, sunscreen; smile.
e.) Never: Sneer, no matter how insulting the offer; insult a prospective buyer’s child, dog, hat, mate; wear flip-flops, a tank top or any item of clothing featuring a political slogan; wear stilettos, a tube top, frosted lip gloss; fail to laugh about the way the day’s going (you’re gonna laugh about it later, anyway).
f.) Lastly — most importantly — sell only with people you love and admire; with people that have a great sense of humor, an artistic sensibility and that make you look good. If you do this you’ll have fun and feel good about the day no matter how well you’re doing at any given moment.
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Thanks Dustin & Denise & Mitch & Marty; I enjoyed sharing a booth with you all, and appreciate all you did on my behalf … And, thanks to everyone who came by, whether it was to buy or just say hi!
Note to Val in Costa Rica: The two large pieces I did for the flea are spoken for … but if you really like the long, narrow piece with the string-of-pearls, I’d be happy to send it to you as a Christmas gift. It’s about time I made inroads into the Latin American market! Let me know …