Category: Antique Booth Adventures

Booth news – we’re now exclusively at The Picker Knows

Whew! Went through a rather long spell there of some malfunctioning on the blog, which made it very difficult to post… pretty much missed the entire Christmas season of posting, but I will be sharing a few of my decorations and such albeit after the lin. Anyway, things are getting back to almost-normal now, so thought I would begin to get caught up on posting!

First up, here’s the latest news from the world of antique booths. In the past few months, we closed two of the three booths that we had – Memory Lane, and Brass Armadillo. Although I loved both of these stores on a personal level, from a business standpoint we just were not getting “the vibe” and so were not making much money. We have been at this now for just over a year and I feel we have learned a lot… but not enough to keep spending money on rent that we couldn’t earn back. Perhaps we’ll grow back into multiple booths one day, but by simplifying and condensing our efforts down to one booth at The Picker Knows, we are able to really focus on figuring out what works as far as a mix of inventory – and the store is close to home so it’s easy to run over there and do some fluffing or restocking whenever it’s needed.

Booth 211 at The Picker Knows

Speaking of inventory, we also made a decision recently to refocus a bit and stock more furniture. This has proven to be quite successful, as we take advantage of several resources for acquiring pieces inexpensively and then flipping them  – either making some minor repairs, or just giving each piece a quick clean-up before putting it in the booth. We try to have a mix of “real antiques” at higher (for us) price points vs. more inexpensive pieces that are suitable for the furniture painters who are out there seeking their next project. You might notice from the photos that yes, we have indeed moved into a larger booth at PK – and we have been “in the black” every month at this store, so we’re quite happy there for now.

Booth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

Booth furniture | Hazel & VerdieBooth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

Booth furniture | Hazel & Verdie

1940's vanity | Hazel and Verdie

We still have a few interesting “smalls” in the booth, and of course for the past month or so we’ve had quite a few vintage Christmas items. We’re on track to have our best month ever at The Picker Knows in December, and we’ll be using our funds to make sure we’re well-stocked as Tax Refund Season gets underway at the end of January.

Vintage Cookie Jar | Hazel and VerdieVintage Cookie Jar | Hazel and Verdie

Christmas Ribbon dinnerware | Hazel and Verdie

If you are local, or visiting in the Des Moines area, please come see us! We are booth #211 at The Picker Knows, 1208 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines. We’ll be having a “green dot” sale with some very good markdowns, from December 26-31.

More soon,

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News from Memory Lane – we’ve expanded!

You might remember that last October, we started our booth adventure with a couple of adjacent wall spaces at Memory Lane Antiques in Valley Junction, here in West Des Moines. We’ve been closely watching the sales at this and all of our booths (Memory Lane owner Ed makes this SO easy with daily emailed sales reports!), and after some careful consideration we decided that the wall spaces just were not cutting it. Now make no mistake, they were a great entry point for us into this business. But for long-term success, we felt that the wall space was just too limiting.

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's
So, we are very happy to share that we have moved into an actual booth space at Memory Lane, right across the aisle from our original wall spaces. The space is small, but it has a number of advantages over the wall spaces – first and foremost, it allows us to “come out from the wall” quite a bit more than we could before.

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's

The additional space also allows us to create an area where shoppers can “step in” and take a closer look at our items without feeling like they are blocking the aisle, and of course allows us to stock a wider variety of items – from dishes to furniture to household items to primitives and much more.

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's

Wall Space Booth | Hazel & Verdie's

Please come and see us when you get a chance! And as always, if there’s something specific you’re looking for, let us know!

More soon,

Hazel & Verdie's

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve opened our third antique/vintage booth

This month our little micro-business took another step forward as we opened our third booth, this one at The Picker Knows in West Des Moines.

“PK” started out in a different location a couple years ago, but last Fall they relocated to a former grocery store and have since grown completely into that space with retail, storage and auction facilities. We went on their wait list for a booth as soon as they opened in the new building, and finally got “the call” in late February that a space would be coming open on April 1. We spent that day setting up the booth and moving items in.

Like Memory Lane (“ML”), PK is a mix of vendors and owners’ merchandise. The PK team takes their picking very seriously – they’re out just about every day, and when they’re not out they’ve got people bringing them truckloads of items to evaluate and purchase. They acquire some really amazing pieces.

Our booth is an 8×8 foot corner space in the “busiest aisle in the store,” according to the Assistant Manager. We weren’t allowed to paint the plywood walls, but we did want to customize them a bit so we simply put up some large flat sheets using a staple gun. I also made up another hand-painted barnboard sign proclaiming “Hazel & Verdie’s.” We anchored this booth with a few furniture pieces: a buffet/bar, a vanity, and a wicker dresser/headboard combo. From there, we layered with glassware, dishes, and other small items, including collections of mid-century and earlier periods.

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

 

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows
We’ve added even more merchandise since these photos were taken, and sales so far in this booth are brisk – it is not quite mid-month and we have already made rent plus a little more, so we are cautiously optimistic about the decision to expand yet again.

Here are some of the other wonderful booths at The Picker Knows! If you want to stop by, PK is located at 1208 Prospect, West Des Moines. Hours are 10 am – 7 pm Monday-Saturday, and Noon-7pm Sunday. Please come see us!

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

Hazel & Verdie | The Picker Knows

 

More soon,

Hazel & Verdie's

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding our horizons

It’s been a whirlwind month as we took an opportunity in late January to actually (already!) expand our booth activity to include a large, local antique mall – The Brass Armadillo. I’m so thrilled to have space in this venue – I remember distinctly when it opened at its present location in the early 1990’s, because I bought my first-ever major purchase from an antique dealer here not long after they opened. (My purchase was a covered casserole dish in my beloved Royal China Currier & Ives pattern that my grandmother Verdie had recently given me.)  I’ve been a regular customer ever since!

So, short version, after a short stint on the waiting list, I got “The Call” and claimed my (approx.) 8×8 foot booth, and we officially opened on January 24.

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

To tell you a little more of the story… we had been at our original mall, Memory Lane in Historic Valley Junction, for only a few weeks when we took a trip out to the Brass Armadillo in northeast Des Moines just to shop and get some merchandising ideas. While there, we inquired about the procedure for obtaining booth space and decided to go on the wait list. The Assistant Manager told us at that time that an available booth did not necessarily go to the first person on the list – it went to the first person called who arrived at the mall to view the space. Being pretty far down on the list, I thought perhaps under this method I might stand a chance of getting a space. That was mid-November.

On December 14, I was mid-way through eating dinner at home when my phone rang at 5:15. It was Toni at “BA,” and she told me they had space coming available and reminded me that it was going to be “first come/first served” as far as who got the space. Understanding she had additional calls to make, I told her I was coming over immediately. I quite literally dropped my fork, leaving my remaining dinner to the mercy of the cat, and arrived (withOUT speeding, I should add) at BA within 20 minutes. Toni showed me the available booth and gave me the January 24th move-in date, and we signed the paperwork that night.

Just like that, I went from a booth in one mall, to two booths in two malls. It sure felt like things were taking off.

As it turned out, we were able to move in a week early so we’ve had now about 4 weeks in the new space.  We are off to a strong start with sales, which is great! But of course we are always fine-tuning our selection of merchandise so it is an ongoing experiment.

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

Hazel & Verdie's at The Brass Armadillo in Des Moines!

 

If you are in the area and want to stop by, we are in booth #40 on “Utah Avenue” at the Brass Armadillo, 701 NE 50th Ave., in Des Moines!

More soon,

Hazel & Verdie's

 

 

 

 

 

Little shop of who-knows-what

Since I last posted about six weeks ago, I have taken a small step toward my long-held dream of owning a second-hand shop filled with gently used home decor and accessories (including, of course – dishes!). On November 18, I committed to having a small booth in an antique mall here in Historic Valley Junction – the original “Main Street” of West Des Moines, now an antique destination in central Iowa. (More about Valley Junction in a future post.)

Hazel & Verdie's | Shop sign at Memory Lane, West Des Moines
The owner of Memory Lane Antiques & Collectibles has been extremely helpful and has gone out of his way to encourage and support my initial efforts. He advised me to start small with what he calls a “peg board space” – a four-foot section of wall covered in pegboard, and the ability to have items extend out from the wall about 24 inches. So basically, a two-by-four-foot section of floor plus the wall.

After my first conversation with Ed and his wife Betty, I went home and planned what I might put into this type of space. I decided I could afford to commit to two spaces, and with the click of the “send” button, suddenly I was a dealer in the heart of one of Iowa’s antique hubs!

My little space, of course, is called “Hazel and Verdie’s.” Greg has been super-helpful and encouraging as my carpenter and my muscle. I had a fun couple of weeks figuring out what to use for display fixtures, what I would offer, and how it would all fit – at one point I actually taped off a section of my living room and set up my fixtures so I could be certain the layout would work.

Hazel & Verdie's Shop Tip: Do a dry-run set-up to be sure it fits!
In the store, it feels more like an actual booth because on one side of me there’s a large piece of furniture extending out from the wall, and on the other side I have a clothing rack extending out. So I’ve been able to visually enclose my space even though it’s technically just a flat section of wall.

My merchandise right now is all in the vintage or collectibles categories because there are no objects that qualify as antiques (100 years old or older). My focus is on home decor and accessories, but I also have some vintage-inspired toddler dresses (because it’s Christmas and every little doodle-bug needs a Christmas dress… and plus they are soooo cute!), a few crafty items, and dishes.

Hazel & Verdie's | Christmas goodies at Memory Lane in West Des Moines

 

Hazel & Verdie's | Christmas-themed dishes, and odds 'n ends
More goodies at Hazel & Verdie's, Memory Lane, West Des Moines

It is an affordable way to get started… give it some serious thought and effort… and see if I end up having a knack for it. I have no idea if this tiny space will prosper and evolve into my vision… but, I have started. I’m excited!

If you are in the area and want to stop by, you can find Hazel & Verdie’s at Memory Lane Antiques, Collectibles & Gifts, 208 – Fifth St., West Des Moines, Iowa.

Since November 18 I’ve just about “broken even” on rent so I expect to go over the top before Christmas and hopefully won’t owe Ed any rent money at the end of the month – though I sure owe him a sincere “thank you” for all his help in getting started.

More soon,

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