My Tips For Selling at Vintage Fairs

tips for selling at vintage fairs

This is a bit of a recycled post as it has already been published elsewhere. However I know a lot of you found my vintage business post really helpful so I thought I would share this with you too.

Before writing my blog and holding my own vintage fair, I sold vintage for several years. This included selling vintage fashion at several of London’s best vintage fairs and at Portobello Market. I have made lots of mistakes and learnt some important lessons along the way.

Here are my top ten tips for making your stall a success. Please note many of these tips are specific to fashion sellers although some relate to everybody.

1. Have prices on everything.

A lot of people won’t want to ask the price of items so make sure everything is labelled. Put as much information on the label as possible, including date of item, condition of item, size and price.

2. Be prepared to barter.

Many people go to vintage fairs looking for a bargain. It’s always worth taking a few pounds off to make a sale. If someone is buying a few items they will usually ask for a discount. Take this into account when pricing your stock.

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3. Have your web address on everything.

Not only will you be making sales on the day, but also directing traffic to your website, eBay or Etsy shops. So make sure all your labels, flyers and bags have your web address or contact details. Bring business cards and flyers to hand out and don’t forget to let people know if you are on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Colour coordinate.

I’ve found it works well to keep your stock in colour order, as it looks tidy and makes it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. If you display accessories in a similar way to clothes, it allows your customer to build an outfit and you’ll make more sales.

5.Know your stock.

People will ask you questions about what you sell, so make sure you know as much as possible about everything you are selling. There are loads of online guides and books to help you date your stock. Customers find it off-putting if you can’t tell them as much as possible about what they are buying.

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6.Keep it tidy!

Messy stalls are hard to buy from. It is always important to build a nice display but remember that your customers will want to pick things up and look at them so make sure everything is accessible and in full view. This is one of the most common mistakes people make and this is one time where it is important to imitate the High Street.

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7.Accessorise.

Don’t be afraid to display scarves and bags with dresses and coats; it’s a great way to add on extra sales. If you have a mannequin or hat stand, use them. It’s always useful when buying vintage, to see the best way of wearing it.

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8.Brand your bags.

This is one thing worth investing in before the fair. You don’t have to get bags printed but it’s worth buying some nice paper bags. You can always staple a flier to them, tie a luggage label with your details or even get a rubber stamp made up to brand each bag.

9. Don’t over price.

It’s worth having a look at other people’s websites to see how much they are selling their vintage ware for. There is no point in over pricing your stock as chances are someone else will have something similar at a more reasonable price. At the same time remember people are perfectly happy to pay that little bit more for something really special so keep the quality of your stock high.

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10. Let everyone know you’ll be having a stall.

If you have a mailing list, Facebook or Twitter accounts, make sure you let everyone know where you’ll be. Chances are that there are people who have seen what you sell and like it, but prefer to buy in person rather that online. Everyone who comes through the door is a potential customer.

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The pretty pictures on this blog are from my vintage fair last year and are taken by the wonderful Nicola Cashman Photography

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9 Comments

  1. ella and frank vintage August 10, 2013 / 9:15 pm

    I really enjoyed this. I sell vintage online at Etsy mainly as a hobby and have been thinking about having a stall at a few fairs next year. The ones I have been to are always such fun and i love the atmosphere. There is some great advice here so thank you.

    • vintagefrills August 17, 2013 / 10:58 pm

      I’m glad it was helpful to you. I love selling at vintage fairs, nothing beats meeting customers face to face and getting to know other traders. Couldn’t recommend it enough!

      • gemgemgoesglobal August 17, 2013 / 11:02 pm

        it really was, everything was so lovely and all the sellers were so nice 🙂 any chance you are going to be in Glasgow in September because it will be there again on 8th September 😀 xxx

  2. Shybiker August 12, 2013 / 1:42 am

    Good advice. I’m more a consumer than a seller but learned good stuff from your post.

  3. Jessica Cangiano August 12, 2013 / 2:55 am

    Really fantastic advice! I love that you mentioned organizing items by colour. I do this in my own wardrobe, and have always said I’d try to do the same if I had a vintage shop or sold at fairs (which are ultra few and far between here).

    ♥ Jessica

    • vintagefrills August 17, 2013 / 11:00 pm

      I love colour coordinating things. It’s a shame there aren’t more fairs near you. If anything London has too many!

  4. bernice July 19, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Great article. I have bought some beautiful pieces, a great way to spend the day. We have also created an online Vintage Marketplace to bring buyers and sellers together so it’s a great place to browse when you can’t get to the fair. We have some lovely sellers on board and it’s growing fast. http://www.retruly.com

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