Category: Antique Booth Adventures

Booth news and furniture round-up

Wow kids, it’s been a long month with some ups and downs… but I am still here and ready to share more pickin’, paintin’ and junky fun!

First up on our little recap, Greg and I have made the decision to close our last remaining booth, which is at The Picker Knows here in West Des Moines. Personal changes mean that logistically it would be too difficult to continue. Plus, neither of us can really afford to be “on the hook” for the booth rent should we somehow fail to sell enough to cover it – although, I must say at PK that has never happened!

Anyway, at this time we’re planning to continue flipping furniture (and hopefully other junk too!) but will just be doing it without the booth. I’m a bit sad about this… I love so many things about PK!… but it just seems like this is the best path for now. So, May will be our last month in the booth and in all likelihood we’ll probably be out by Memorial Day Weekend. Do check us out in Booth #211 if you are local to the area; The Picker Knows is located at 1208 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines! Hours are 10-7 Monday thru Saturday and 10-5 Sunday.

In other news, we have sold some beautiful and FUN pieces lately and I wanted to share a few of our most recent favorites!

This buffet had a broken leg (which Greg fixed) but a classy Downton Abbey vibe with that pretty swag on the front – this sold to Traci of The Shabby Nest.

Beautiful buffet | Hazel & Verdie's
We also sold this little chest to Traci – the drawer pulls were beautiful.

Chest of drawers | Hazel & Verdie's

This French Provincial dresser was painted in a coffee bar theme when we bought it. It had a ton of personality “as is” but could also be repainted.

French coffee bar | Hazel & Verdie's

This fun little tea table had the prettiest harp design to the base.

Harp tea table | Hazel & Verdie's

And this amazing piece started life as a dresser/vanity (it came with a beautiful tall mirror!) but could also be repurposed as a buffet or sideboard.

Vanity/sideboard | Hazel & Verdie's

And now you are all caught up on our crazy pickin’ life. LOL More soon!




Restylist feature: Furniture re-do with Traci of The Shabby Nest

I’m so happy to sharShabby Nest Logo | Hazel & Verdie'se this little furniture re-do with you all, because I’m actually featuring one of the many talented artists who purchased her furniture from us!

Traci Gyles owns The Shabby Nest, a furniture and décor restyling business with a retail location in The Picker Knows Antique Mall in West Des Moines and a shop that she operates in St. Charles, Iowa. Traci says she’s been selling her painted pieces for about six years, including furniture and smaller home décor items.

She recently purchased this beautiful “gentleman’s dresser” from us and transformed it, so I wanted to show you the before-and-afters. Here’s the piece she purchased:

Shabby Nest Re-Do | Hazel & Verdie's
Traci said she was originally drawn to this piece because she loves to find pieces that are unique, and the ornate details of this dresser – and its size – caught her eye. Although she originally envisioned the dresser in a lighter, brighter shade, she wanted it to have a more masculine look because of its history as a “gentleman’s dresser.”

“I usually do light or bright colors,” she said, “… (but) I really wanted to play up all the amazing details.”

Here is the after!

Shabby Nest Re-Do | Hazel & Verdie's

Traci’s go-to paint brand is Wise Owl Synthesis chalk paint, which she used on this project. She’s a retailer for this brand because of its great coverage and range of colors. For this dresser she used Peppercorn, Gray Linen and Snow Owl. This understated palette really brought out the details while also being a bit neutral, so the piece will work with a variety of décor styles and color themes.

Shabby Nest Re-Do | Hazel & Verdie's

Shabby Nest Re-Do | Hazel & Verdie's

Shabby Nest Re-Do | Hazel & Verdie's


While Traci’s favored color palette has evolved over time from the white and pale pastels of “Shabby Chic” style to the brighter colors available in so many of the paint products these days, she has consistently loved vintage pieces from the beginning.

“I think I’m drawn to it because vintage has a story,” she said. “Sometimes pieces have been neglected and I just love bringing them back to life.”

Shabby Nest Re-do | Hazel & Verdie's

We’re thrilled with Traci’s results on this piece and we thank her for contributing to our success at The Picker Knows. You can purchase Wise Owl Synthesis chalk paints and supplies, and many of Traci’s fabulous pieces, in her booth #402 at The Picker Knows! You can also find her on Facebook at !


February sales report

WeBooth Feb 2017 | Hazel & Verdie's were both pretty surprised at our February results in the booth: it was a short month with only 28 days and it turned out to be our best-ever month, with gross sales at 3-1/2 times our rent!

We are beyond thrilled with this result. We even surpassed last December’s sales!

We both feel that the switch to furniture has been the key. We seem to have found a nice little niche selling project pieces to the painters and restylers out there, and we do manage to get some “steals” at great prices so we can make some great bargain deals.

We also know our mall managers do a lot of outreach on social media, and in February they promoted the opening of a “general store” featuring Iowa gifts within the mall. All of this plus the unseasonably mild weather all month long brought in the shoppers, along with our own efforts to drive traffic to our booth via social media and other tools.

We’re now in the process of putting in items for Spring, so that means garden junk, a fresh batch of vintage architectural salvage, and light/bright colored smalls. We’re also removing a bunch of smalls that have been there awhile.

New for Spring 2017 | Hazel & Verdie's

And with our February paycheck, we’ll of course be heading out on a picking spree for more great vintage furniture!

Furniture flip round-up

We are just finishing up another strong month in the booth. It was a month in which we sold 12 pieces of furniture. We have a very loose pricing formula but it doesn’t always pan out – whether we get our asking price depends of course on what we paid for a piece, because that directly affects the asking price. Pay too much, and we have to ask too much… and one thing we’ve learned particularly in the last couple of months is that it’s easy to pay too much. “All the money,” as they say. That said, overall we’ve done well and of course are still learning what pieces will sell and which styles or types have run their course in the market. So, I thought I would just share a few of the pieces that have sold most recently.

This gate leg table had already been painted, but apparently the owner just didn’t love it. We acquired it for a great price and sold it to another painter.

Gate leg table | Hazel & Verdie's
This great dresser had a broken drawer when we bought it, so we got a good deal. We fixed the drawer, and a young couple bought it to turn it into a changing table for their baby-on-the-way.

Three drawer dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

The young man who sold us this gray dresser said that his grandfather had built it, along with a small side table that we also purchased. I love this piece because the design with the six narrow drawers is so unique. We bought it for a great price so we could sell it for a great price, and it didn’t last more than a couple days in the booth. (Fun side note: I was too short to see into the top drawer. LOL)

Gray dresser | Hazel & Verdie's
This dresser was a piece we found on a trip to Omaha back in January. I have never seen another one like it. The arched top is really different, as are the vertical drawer pulls. To me, the piece had a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe. I could imagine it being restyled as a child’s dress-up armoire.

Arch top dresser | Hazel & Verdie's


We tried a number of price points on this ornate gentleman’s dresser, and finally hit the right one that still gave us a bit of margin on it and made the buyer very happy. “You don’t know how long I’ve been stalking this piece in your booth,” she told me! She’s a very talented painter – I can’t wait to see how it comes out!

Gentleman's Dresser | Hazel & Verdie's

We’re in the process of filling the booth now with some items appropriate for Spring… a couple of wooden outdoor benches, some trellis sections… stuff like that… and in addition to the pieces above we also sold several smaller furniture pieces such as side tables and wooden chairs. But we are still going full steam ahead with furniture and will be taking another road trip soon. Hoping for another strong month in March!


Advantages of having a booth instead of a shop

If you are like me and have day-dreamed for years about having your own vintage or second-hand retail shop, you might find the thought of having “just a booth” to be a bit of a let-down. But there are a number of advantages of having “just a booth” and it all has to do with the ability to test the waters without risking your primary means of financial support. Meaning, having a booth is a way to discover whether the vintage and antique business is something you love , or just a passing fancy, without starving to death as you learn.

Here are the primary advantages that I see in operating a booth, whether or not you ever decide to open an independent shop.

Just a booth | Hazel & Verdie's

It’s less financial obligation. With a booth in the mall I’m currently in, I owe three things: rent, sales commission, and credit/debit card fees. That’s it. The mall owners are responsible for all utilities, sales tax, staff wages and benefits, marketing, building maintenance, and all other expenses. My booth rent, rounded, is $250 per month. If I had a shop, my rent would be three to four times that amount (or more), and I would be responsible for all the other expenses as well.

In the right kind of mall, you don’t have to be there to make sales. While it’s true that in some malls, the dealer is required to make their own sales within their individual booth, I’m in a mall that provides the staff. The booth rent is higher, but it works for me (and many others) because I simply could not put in the same number of hours as mall staff.

You don’t have to hassle with taxes. Because the mall I’m in has one primary sales counter that they staff with their own employees, they collect and submit all sales taxes. They also handle all payroll taxes and other taxes. This is huge for me because in general, I hate taxes and more specifically, I’m a terrible bookkeeper.

If I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t have to lift a finger to help drive traffic to my booth – a good mall handles advertising and marketing on behalf of their dealers. Fact is, though, I do a lot of things to help drive traffic both to my booth and to the store in general, for the sake of my own sales and for everyone in the mall.

It’s frequently said that the only ones who make money in an antique mall are the mall owners. After all, if their spaces are rented, they are guaranteed a minimum amount of income each month with rent, sales commissions and fixed fees. For some dealers, the perception is that they  “give away” to the mall owners everything they sell right up until the moment when all rent and fees are paid for the month.

But the fact remains, operating costs are a lot less with a booth than they are with owning a stand-alone shop. The convenience of having a shop without having the responsibility of a whole shop is worth a lot. And the opportunity to learn the business – to learn what sells (and what doesn’t), how to market, how to price, how to stage and display, where and how to acquire inventory… all without risking your life savings and your ability to sleep at night… is really priceless.

None of this is to say that I won’t someday still have a stand-alone shop. But I consider myself to be still in the experimental phase right now, and this approach is perfect for now.