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Sunday, August 24, 2014

From the Estate Sale to the Flea Market

Busy Bee Estate Sales - An Estate Sales Company in Nashville, Ten.
I experienced my first Flea Market set up this weekend in Nashville, TN.  As an Estate Sales Liquidator, I must say it was an invaluable experience.  I suddenly found myself in the same shoes as many of my flea market vendor customers.  I was able to see first hand their market from the hauling, parking, seating in the heat and negotiating with the flea market shoppers and there is a big difference.

Because the  temperature was so extremely hot reaching into the high 90's each day, the crowds were not there and those that were, hurriedly ran through with little willingness to open their wallets and spend.  The inside buildings were full of shoppers but those of us outside struggled through the heat.

Before the market opened vendors run through the booths picking items from new vendors which turned out to be one of the best days for us as we sold enough before the sale to pay for our booth.  Vendors both old and new were friendly and helpful making the experience better.  I realized how difficult it is to haul, set up and tear down each weekend.  Many stay in their booths throughout the night to save on hotel expenses.

I did find a big difference in the Estate Sales shopper and the Flea Market Shopper.  In fact, I saw very few of my customers shopping at the flea market and here is my observation.  The flea market customers are younger.  I often complain that young adults do not shop estate sales but they do frequent the flea market.  Perhaps its because of the walking required as parking, and trekking through miles of buildings carrying bags and walking back to the car to load larger purchases is not for everyone.  Pricing is also affected.  Just as consumers expect to pay less at a garage sale for the same item, they also expect to pay less at the flea market.  In addition, they expect to pay less outside of the air conditioned building than inside.  Strange concept but we are all guilty, think about it.  That is why merchandising is so important to businesses.  The same item cleanly displayed well will bring more than the contrary.

Merchandise:  as slow as the day was, I tried to observe what it was people were buying.  Although I saw many vendors selling large pieces of furniture, I didn't see them selling those.  It goes without saying that it takes more space therefore more money to exhibit large pieces as well as back breaking labor to bring it in.  You also have the dilemma for the customer to deliver it.  Surprisingly, we sold more LP Records than anything.  Possibly back to the earlier point I made about a younger crowd.  Many vendors have chosen to specialize in a particular area such as vintage toys or tools.  Rather than displaying a conglomeration of items that challenge the shopper to see everything, they have narrowed their consumer down to a particular market.  It does appeal more as each booth has a different look but I'm not sure how that works for them as I didn't see them doing very much business.  Unlike our booth, folks walked in to see what was in the back.

What was selling
Because so many of the shoppers are vendors themselves and local antique dealers, I sold items they would use to display items in their own businesses.  I also noticed original artwork is coming back.  Canvas art and original artwork is good.  People are looking for something they've never seen before.  Military items are doing well.  Old signs and metalware are moving well.  I sold every suitcase I had.  I noticed many vendors banking on the repurposers.  If I could give advice to them all it would be to please price your goods.  Some booths were huge with no pricing.  If they vendor was busy with other customers or a distance away, I just passed by items I liked assuming it must be too expensive.  Silverplated pieces are doing well at a discounted price.  Selling silverplate individually rather than a set will also render more as jewelry makers prefer to pick.

All in all I was glad we did the sale.  I don't know if it is a job I want permanently but a learning experience that will suredly make me a better estate sales manager as now I can see through the eyes of the flea market dealer.  My hats off to them as the work and endurance is far more than I had realized.

The following is brought to you by Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tennessee.  Visit our website to find out how we can assist you in selling your estate. email: or call 512-788-2544

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