The Story of Our First Sale - Remnants of the Past

Remember how excited we were for the Remnants of the Past Vintage Show?  We marketed, canvased, promoted.  We bought, painted, nailed, drilled, taped, glued, sanded, constructed.  The result was a repurposed, curated, (dare I say awesome?) inventory and a prepared group of ladies who were so excited to travel to San Jose and "peddle our wares" we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.  

Here are some choice details of projects we completed, the booth construction, and how we built our little store.  Fun! 

We signed up for this show months before.  We had some really great projects already completed that we thought would be perfect for the decorator-heavy, design savvy, unique buyers we were expecting at the show.  Some of the projects we still have yet to post on the blog (the Red Piano is coming, we promise!) and some were already really popular (Sewn Thank You Cards, The Furry Bench, and Renovated Patio Chair  just to name a few).  In addition, if you follow WarehouseCollective on Instagram, you know we did a MAJOR picking trip to Maine.  Between that trip, our frequent trips to the Long Beach Antique Swap Meet and our obsession with Goodwill, Salvation Army, Craigslist, and well...the trash...we suddenly had ourselves too many projects to handle!  We set up shop and got to work.

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warehouse collective
warehouse collective
warehouse collective

Since this was our first show, we asked the organizer for some direction.  We were told to bring "smalls" in addition to all of our furniture and accessories.  We got out the sewing machines and vintage fabric!  

warehouse collective
warehouse collective
warehouse collective

The next step was the booth.  We wanted our space to feel like a house, somewhere we would like to hang out, filled with worldly charms, vintage accessories, and functional items.  We also wanted it to feel whimsical and to have color.  Oh, and did we mention a collection?  We were trying to evoke the feeling of well-collected items, after all, we are a "Collective".  So we drew up a sketch to get us started.  

warehouse collective

Then we went on a hunt to find the perfect booth backdrop.  We first thought of using old fence gates and panels, but realized that most fences aren't very tall and the old ones are just that --- old.  So we tried to think of something different.  We knew we wanted something free, that was sturdy enough to hang mirrors and shelves on, and that would be freestanding.  We finally thought to ask our friend (he provides garage doors for our New Construction Projects) if he had any vintage garage doors.  It was love at first sight!      

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We put a triangle frame with brackets on the backs of the doors so they were super sturdy and freestanding.  They were huge and perfect!

Finally it was time, with the help of our friends and family (thank you, thank you, thank you) to pack it all up into a truck and hope nothing got broken on the way to San Jose, CA.  The truck was shared with Salvage Design Company, another Orange County, CA based company we love.  We hopped on a plane, grabbed the rental car, and it was straight to the fairgrounds.  Not a moment was wasted - we made our price tags on the plane!   

warehouse collective

A bit about how we found ourselves at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds:  

The Remnants of the Past Vintage Show is an established show with a dedicated following.  The show got so large that they decided to move it from San Luis Obispo, CA to San Jose, CA.  This was the first show at the new location.

Anyways, more about that later.  We found our spot and started unpacking.   

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Not sure if you've ever been to San Jose at the end of June but it was about 85+ degrees inside.  We sweated it out and powered through the next 5 hours.  We felt like we were on a reality tv show...ok, wishful thinking...but we can all dream right?

Here is the booth coming together:

warehouse collective

Once all the large items were off the truck, we shoved, pushed, lifted...stepped back...and then did it all again to get everything in just the right spot.  We had over 250 items, with a total gross inventory of about $15,000.  That's a lot of tags!  We focused on lighting, comfort, and adding a natural element with plants and flowers.  Here is what it looked like:

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Everything was set, now all we had to do was wait for the next morning.  Build it and they will come right?  The next morning we arrived and we were READY!  Aprons were one, pencils were sharpened.  Music, check.  Lighting, check.  Credit Card Machine, check.  Doors opened and...

Well, not to totally bum anyone out (we're a lifestyle blog after all...let's keep some perspective folks!) but the show wasn't at all what we were hoping for.  Of the thousands of people we (and the other hundred-plus vendors) were expecting, very few showed up.  It's hard to sell to people that aren't there.  Oh well!  It's not going to help to point fingers, so we have taken the oath of not complaining.  (At lease not too much)  Whether we sold tons of stuff (we did not) or added new names to our mailing list (we did not), or even had a fun time (again, we did not)...we will not be complainers!  Hopefully for the show, which has a great reputation, they will be able to iron out the wrinkles that came from switching venues and get back to what they once were.  For our clients - LUCKY are you!  We are going to be selling all our items on Etsy and locally on Southern California Craigslist.  And for us - well, lesson learned!  

Would we do it again?  Well, time heals and already our tired bodies (and bank accounts) are starting to forget our frustration.  We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback for the booth/shop we set up, the items we had for sale at the show (they are selling great now!) and we have to admit, we are suckers for any event that we can be around cool, creative, like-minded people.  So yes, we would do a show again and yes, we would go ALL OUT, just like we did this time.  We just can't help ourselves!