August 21, 2010

All About Renting Space At An Antiques Mall

Have you ever thought about renting space at an antiques mall or shopped at one, and wondered how they worked?

Click HERE to enter my drawing of Tyler on 9/1/10

I have rented space at Orange Tree Antiques Mall in Winter Park Florida for 7 years, by no means am I the expert, but I can give you the general idea of what renting involves.

It is kind of addictive.  I started with a small booth and I am now in an 8 X 8 both.  Prices vary greatly by region, you can expect to pay $150.00 to $300.00 a month for a booth, but of course the sky is the limit on cost and size.

On top of my rent I pay the mall owners a percentage of my sales.  I pay rent plus 10% of sales.  My Friend Deb "Garage Sale Gal"  in Minnesota pays rent plus 6%.

My mall requires just a month to month lease.  Deb also has a month to month lease after an initial 3 month commitment.   

So, what does this get me?  I get the rental space to decorate and sell what I choose. The owners run the store and pay all of the bills involved.  They hire employees to run the cash register, collect sales tax, help my customers, do advertising, keep the store clean, the coffee made and the cookie tray full.  Once a month I get a spread sheet with what I sold and a check.

I can come in as often as I like to replenish and straighten up my booth. I usually go in a couple times a week and never less than once a week.  

Pricing is always the interesting part.  I have to take into consideration that I pay rent plus a percentage of my sales and usually participate in all of the advertised sales at the store, further marking my inventory down 10-20%.  

My rule of thumb is to mark an item up X3 what I paid for it, so if I see an item at an estate sale I have to think, can I sell this for at lease 3X what I paid for it.  This is the only way I will make a profit and cover my expenses.  Now, it goes without saying if I paint it, repair it, wash and iron it, or upholster it, the price will go up for my time and supplies.  Of course if I SCORE and get something for way below it's value, I mark it according to what it is worth.  My biggest find was a statue I purchased at a thrift store for $7.00 and sold for $488.00.  When I bought it I just thought it was a beautiful piece and then did a computer search and got the OMG high that we all live for!

There are 93 vendors at the mall where I rent.  I am very lucky that the owners only let one vendor of a specialty in at a time.  I am the only one that has the Shabby Romantic items.

 I love linen and have a large selection, most dealers do not want to mess with it.

I have a lot of "Smalls" as we call them, my small lower priced items, as it really helps increase sales.

Just a few parting thoughts.

I have a locked cabinet for expensive jewelry and fragile items.

I try to keep my booth fresh, adding new items and moving items around.  So many Antique store visitors are repeat customers.

I have the rented space at the antique mall and I have an online store. The antique mall is easier for me. The benefit of my online store is working completely out of my home, I can have as many or as few a products as I choose and an international customer base.  There is a lot of steps in the process once I have the product, I photograph it, list it, price it, inventory it, sell it, wrap it, weigh it, calculate and print postage, and ship it, all the while hoping my computer does not poop out on me.  

 The beauty of renting a space is once I have the product, I price it, put it in my booth, and pick up my check.  I am lucky that the mall where I rent is in a tourist area close to Disney World and Universal studios, it is very busy, and well managed.

WHEW!!  I'm done!  I wonder if anyone is still listening??  

I would love for you to share how your antique mall works, along with your thoughts and tips. 



Linda @ A La Carte said...

I have thought about a space many times, but none near me seem busy enough to pay for the rent. I am just scared let's face it!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Carol, I rent a space at an antique mall in Richmond that has 250 dealers. When we lived in Florida I had booths in five different malls, 3 cities, all at the same time. That was a huge amount of work! Hugs, Sherry

Jennifer said...

I am listening :) great advice, I agree with your post as I've had 4 different booths and you are right on the money.

Thank you!

the old white house said...

As usual...great information! I don't have a booth but have had things on consignment at my favorite local antique store that is in a near-by town. She charges 35% commission on items sold with a 2% fee on credit card purchases. I have talked to her about working for her and if I work 2 days a month the commission goes down to 10%. I am trying to work that out. I don't mind selling my 'finds' for 35% but have a hard time selling my artwork for that. In the area we live in you almost have to sell bottom price to sell anything and I don't want to just give my work away. That is why I like etsy so much. I have almost sold exclusively outside of our area and love that I can sell my artwork for what I price it at. I have been considering having a booth somewhere, and am still looking into it. You are so generous with your experiences and I TRULY appreciate that! THANK YOU CAROL!!! Theresa xo

Connie said...

I read it all and it was very interesting, sugar. I didn't realize all those things and have never wanted to do it. Too much work for this lazy old lady, but it helps to know those things.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

I had several booths located on the Gulf Coast and loved every minute of it...sometimes I really miss it a lot! I see that you LOVE LINENS too...some people called me the LINEN LADY!!! Hop over and enter my GIVEAWAY…I think you will like it!


Leo said...

I found this very interesting. I have been to antique malls with booths over the years... and didn't realize how it works. I would love to have a set up like this... I have always dreamed about having my own shop and this could be a starting point...I will do more research to see where it takes me...Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I rent a 10 x 10 window space for $100 a month plus working 2 days a month. I love the working part of it as it helps me get an idea of what customers are shopping for and such.

I am trying to just work with inventory that I have had since I keep getting more and more and am not sure I will ever make a dent in getting it all in the shop. I have been on a spending sabbatical for things at the shop as it has been slow and I have enough stuff in storage for quite awhile!!

Jocelyne said...

Once again you are a woman after my own heart! Thank you for sharing your experiences. You are doing the things that I have longed to do. Reading your blog encourages me to try these things. Thank you so much - if you were here I'd hug you. {hug}

Unknown said...

I have had a case in an Antique Mall which then evolved to a space and a case within the case like you described and did it for about 5 years, The owners closed and then I did ebay, a space is wonderful but requires a lot of tome to maintain it and keep it interesting, I love it but transporting furniture and larger items requires some man power which I don't have and now that I'm older as much as I would love to have gone into another large space like I had I don't have the muscle or energy. I just rented a small case which is easy to maintain but of course hold larger items. Better than not at all though and it still keeps my fingers in it. Most spaces out in CA are about the same as yours Carol , rent plus 10% of the sales, all all the other amenities. It works for me and keeps it fun without being labor intensive otherwise there is no time for creating! Hope this helps with some input! Pinky Saturday Hugs Girls, XOXO

Unknown said...

I would also like to add that location and the economy in the area is everything as you need good traffic flow to be successful!

Robin W. said...

I really appreciated your article. We have some antique malls in our area, and we also have a couple of "crafters showcase" type "malls" that sell booth space to crafters with the type of arrangement that you described. I will have to look into it to determine their exact fees. I have had a small etsy shop for over a year and have been extremely disappointed in my sales. It is very hard to make a name for yourself when you are competing with 200,000+ other people who make similar products.
Thanks for your insight. Robin from Pittsburgh, PA

pogonip said...

You must have been mind-reading! I've been mulling the pros and cons of a booth and it's great to have some inside information.

Diane Mars said...

Thanks for sharing all the ins and outs of your business, I sure would like to have a little spot but really don't have any place close enough to my home, but if things change I'm there! Hugs, Diane

Sandy said...

Hi Carole, I sure enjoyed the tour through your store.. I'm in Clearwater and there is nothing like it here.. When I lived in Texas and Illinois I was in something similar..Sure wish they would open one here!! Next time I'm in Orlando I'm coming to visit! (when the heat is gone that is)...How do the tourists make it through the parks there in this heat??
Thanks for your visit to my blog...

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

Your space looks fabulous! Thanks for the tips.
; )

Alaina said...

I'm listening! I have done both a booth and had my own shop so I understand what it is like. Most shoppers do not understand how much it takes in both time and money to have either a shop or a booth. When they ask can you do better, most times you have priced the item to sell not for huge discounts. It definately makes it harder to find bargains when you know you have to do a mark up of 3x. That is why I always bought only what I loved so if it did not sell then well I guess it will have to come HOME. Thank you for coming to visit me.

The Decorative Dreamer said...

I really want to be the renter of the booths! But that is a big investment too. I would like to work at place like this first to get a better feel for it. I do think maybe even having my own booth would be fun but also think it would need to be in a high traffic area to do well. Just wondering on a few things though? I am assuming you do not have to file taxes since this is handled by the store owner right? With having your own booth would you qualify to have a retail license?

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

This is great information for those thinking about having a booth. I find that the more I work my booth and keep it changed around, the better I do. We also are in a resort vacation area and the summer months are the best for sales. I have a 10 x 10 which runs 200. a month and we pay 10% plus another 4% for credit card charges. Each dealer also works one day a month.
The hardest part, IMO, is keeping the booth full of great stuff. This means constantly shopping and looking, which is most of the time, fun.

Great advice. Thanks.


Unknown said...

Thanks Carol for all of your inside information. I live in a small town so not sure I would get the traffic that you do. But it sure is an interesting idea. I have 2 more years before I can retire so who knows, maybe by that time I can drive to the big city once in awhile to take care of a booth. It might be worth trying. It sounds like your location is fabulous and a lot of tourists.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

As usual Carol, I pop by here and get some great tips and advice! I have never had a booth before. Our area is not doing well with the economy so, now is not the time for me to set up a booth. But, it is something I am thinking about in the future. I do sell on Ebay and Craigslist and am working on my Etsy Store.

Debbie Sews Retro said...

I have done the booth thing, but it just didn't work for me. The town I had the booth in was located half-way between 2 cities that specialize in antiques. The competition was huge. Plus, I seem to buy only what I like and that just doen't suit everyone. Oh well, I still enjoy the hunt for treasures that I love.

Debbiedoos said...

Carol I often wonder how that all worked. I read your entire post and was not bored once! LOL....I think it looks like great fun, and so rewarding too. I would not mind doing something like this at all. THanks for sharing. I loved your mac daddy sale WOW, good for you!

La said...

Carol ~ Thank you for a look behind the scenes at an antique mall. You've answered the questions I had. La


Hi Carol,
Your booth looks FAB...and I hope to take a winter vacation to FL and maybe we can meet!
You shared some great information. I find it interesting that only 1 person can have a "specaility" that shop. It's good for people to know it's not a super easy job and you don't get "rich"...there are costs.
Have a Great Monday!
deb :)

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Great post and your advice on pricing is spot's those fabulous finds that really make your day!
I used to have two booths 60 miles in opposite directions from my home and when the gas crunch hit it was just too much. I had some things stolen too and in most places you just have to eat that loss. Since these were big ticket items it hurt a lot ! That is all I would add to your advice, know that if it's stolen you are usually just out the item and the money.

Debra Ganas said...

Enjoyed your post. Funny, because I just posted about my "new" booth. I pay just under $100 a month with no commision for an 6'x10' space. . We do pay 2-3% for credit cards.
I am learning new things and having alot of fun. The other dealers are very knowledgable and willing to share what they know.
We are in a miliatary town and advertise alot. We have 3 special sales a year with 15% off plus whatever dealers want to add to that.

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Hello, you've offered some great tips for those considering renting a space. I too have a mall space and pay 6% on top of rent. If I have to discount that will eat into my profit so all these things have to be considered. I try to keep my prices fair and don't discount unless it's over a certain amount and ONLY if cash or check are paid because I also pay a percentage with credit card. On top of having an online store (don't really have time to keep it up), I sell at shows AND still work fulltime! Wow my life seems very busy as I'm sure all our lives are. Thanks for stopping by & I'll be back, Theresa

Sue@Uniquely Chic said...

I enjoyed reading your post. My daughter and I frequent the antique shops and I always wondered how they operated.

Unknown said...

I would have to say that our booth rent and commission sounds like it is probably structured just about like yours. And it is addictive. The only thing that I would have added, is that I almost always end up spending money in the mall at someones booth on myself every week! YIKS! There's always something that I think I "need."

Unknown said...

Oops! I forgot to answer your question about the blue paint. I wish it were as easy as giving you a simple color. Unfortunately, I mixed it myself. I can, however, tell you that the cream I used was Bleached Wheat from Lowes. If you paint a lot of furniture, it's just the best creamy white we have ever found. The blue was already one that I had mixed several colors together to get so there's no way to even give you a formula.

Bring Pretty Back said...

Carol, I wish so much I could visit your booth! It is lovely!!!
I also love linens.
Have a pretty day!

Debbie said...

My parents had a booth at an antique mall in Savannah for several years before Dad got ill. They loved it! It was work, true, but it was a true pleasure as well.

I can read in your post that you feel the same way.

I love it that your mall tries to keep the shops unique. I would enjoy shopping there, I'm sure.

So... if I'm ever in your area, I will!!

Debbiedoos said...

Carol you crack me weird...well I would not say about not the norm LOL?!!~ I love Fall season, Fall smells, Fall colors, Fall food, FaLL IT ALL!

C. Dianne Zweig said...

Pardon my interruption, but I am looking for folks that have either "Retro Sewing Blogs" or "Nostalgia Blogs" for an article I am working on . Please send your suggestions to me at THANKS

kitsch n Stuff

Bella's Rose Cottage said...

Hi Carol...
Lots of interesting information, Your booth looks darling!! Loads of pretty things:-) I am a linen lover:-)
Thanks for your visit!

My Shabby Streamside Studio said...

I love that you have linen! Keep up the great work!


Sandy @ My Shabby Streamside Studio

Debra@CommonGround said...

Hi Carol, what a great post, you really covered it all! Sounds like you're in a wonderful place and have good sales. Great photos of all your things, definitely a place where I'd love to shop. I'm so glad you came by, that Sissie is the BEST!! LOVE her!

raggygirlvintage said...

What a useful post, thanks Carol. It is my dream to have booth space, but round these parts such facilities are not very established. One day! I would love to be able to sell all the treasures that are just too heavy or fragile to consider shipping. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

vignette design said...

Hi Carol,
I loved this post! I was an antique dealer too. I rented a space in a mall and it was exactly the way you described. I also specialized in the shabby look. At the time, I would hunt for bargain furniture, paint and distress it then sell it. It was loads of fun. Eventually, the mall closed and I had to figure out another place to sell. I ended up "retiring" from the antique business. However, my garage is full and I am considering re-entering this world again. It is it's own world, isn't it? There are a couple of malls up north where our second home is that would be an option. Some of them want you to work a day or two a month though.
You asked about the lampshades. I don't think there is fire retardant fabric as a liner, but it is lined. The shade is a well made shade--the artisan is very talented. Good luck with your antique business! -Delores

. said...

Thanks Carol for this post! It's very timely for me!

I've really tossed around the idea of a booth at the antique mall not far from my house and I just keep going back and forth. So much so that I keep going there to ask about booth rental and never get up the nerve to even ask.

I'm alot like Linda, your first commenter...I'm scared.

I know I'd enjoy it! And I wouldn't plan on getting 'rich' obviously, but I just don't see enough traffic in any of the malls here in Indy to think I'd see a profit at all. I guess I could always try it. I just need to make that leap I guess and see.

Thendral said...

You have lovely blog. It is very colorful. I love the pictures here.

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

I was never in a mall but was in an antique shop that was once an old chicken house. The place actually looked like a real house and each of us had a room. Mine was the cottage room and it really was a big draw at the shop. I forget what my rent was but instead of paying rent plus a percentage each month we each worked once a month instead. I loved it! But as the economy got worse and worse I was paying rent out of pocket and not making any money. The shop was really off the beaten path. I eventually pulled out but am thinking about renting space at a new place in a better location. My DH says I am a glutton for punishment. :) xoxo

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Thank you, Paula, for this great post! I had just posted a query on my blog asking for craft mall experiences, and was directed to your wonderful blog! I just yesterday set up my first booth, 4' X 8', for $80 a month plus 15% commission, with no work requirement. The mall owner has a waiting list but moved me in right away when I showed her pictures of my booth at an art fair. I was looking for another venue to add to my Etsy shop and Ebay and I hope this is it. A bit of income from several sources is all right by me! I'm your newest follower now.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Carol, the drink dispenser came from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Thanks, Kim

Jane said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for leaving such a nice comment. I'm glad you visited so I could find you!
I've had fun reading through some of your past posts. I really appreciate all of the wonderful information that you are willing to pass on to your blog friends, not only in this post but the posts about getting published and where to buy crystals.
I'm going to go hit the follow button so I can keep up with what else you're up to!

Anonymous said...

I have thought so often of doing something like this - but, for now I am teaching and only have time to shop on Saturday mornings for myself. Your blog is so fun - thanks for sharing with us.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

Nice article. My hubby once put some things in a booth in an antique shop. Worked out only so-so. we didn't make much, but it was fun working on the display and meeting new people.
Craft fairs seem to work better for my hubby's items; although some of the fees for a booth at a fair for just one day can be $$$$!!!

Ginger said...

Thanks for the information. I have been debating about whether to do this or not. I have not seen a booth at any of our malls that have shabby chic like I do.


Jacalyn @ said...

Thanks for the info. I used to belong to a co-op of sorts but you had to work 2 times a month plus pay rent and I just don't have the time. I did have fun though.


Kathy said...

This is fascinating! I visit many places and have wondered. I love your spot - you are very lucky to be in an active place - that makes a big difference! I appreciate your sharing and fascinated as I scrolled to see the very many others who also have booths! A family within a family
Hope you have a great day,

Sherry said...

I would sure like to visit your space, it looks like it is full of things I would just love. I think it would be fun to do something like that but with my full time job it is out of the question. Fun to think about anyway!

Unknown said...

I have never been to one of these antique malls. I would love to check them out. I am definitely gonna find one next time I do one of my bigger vacations in the States.

My Cottage Charm said...

Carol..the link to my clock is working now! :) i don't know why it wasn't working before..I did the same thing the first time and checked them all before I posted weird. Anyway, you can see what I did with my clock now! lol
Love your booth, my mom has one here in KY and they do it a lot different. She only pays $125 and doesn't give them any percentages of sales. (unless it's in the furniture consignment dept, then it's 25%...but she doesn't do a whole lot of that)
Have a great day!

awal.ny said...

I am glad you liked my corn stalks. I had a lot of fun making them, who says fall has to be orange and black, use what you love.

Pamela Kellogg said...

Hi Carol, first, I have to say thank you for your kind comments on my mom's blog post! She is absolutely thrilled when she gets messages. I will help her reply to you later this week. I was wondering if you could email me with your email address? pamkellogg at kittyandme dot com

I was quite intrigued with your post about renting an antique mall space. We have a lovely antique mall here. It looks like the mall you work with is a place I would love to shop! Thank you for sharing. It was quite informative.

And I'm off to visit your online store!


Kathy said...

What an education, I have always wondered about that. I browse through those all the time, just love them and can even get the Hubs to go with me, he doesn't mind looking at the stuff he grew up with. You are lucky you have the shabby chic, it is so popular right now, good luck to you, wish I lived closer so I could go in myself!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

I was stopping by to THANK YOU for visiting me as often as you do and for all of your kind words you always have for me! You are so appreciated my dear friend!
I was so excited to see this post as I am a recent renter of a booth in an antique, collectible and craft mall.I rent a 6x6 space for $100 a month and do not have to pay a precentage at all of my sales. The Mall has only been open since June and I have made a small profit so far. This is a hobby for me and gives me a bit of play money. We are not in a tourist area so it is mostly local traffic. It is easier for me to have my craft items there and get the exposure from the shop rather then in storage for most of the year . I usually do 3 craft Fairs a year and have been asked if I have a shop and now I can say that I do.


Tara said...

Hi Carol! Loved reading your tips. I started a booth about 6 months ago with some family members and it has all been a learning experience. We're having lots of fun though. My favorite part is the "rearranging" of the booth when fresh items are added. I glanced at your previous post and low and behold, I am watching Say Yes To The Dress right now! Too funny.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I have often thought that I would like to do a booth. This was a post that was very helpful! :)


Unknown said...

This was a great post! I always wondered how much was involved. Thank you for sharing your expertise!


Unknown said...

I just adore your blog Carol. I love to just browse around. You have so many wonderful tutorials and things. I just wish we had an antique mall set up like this; I would be on it in a heartbeat. We only have craft fairs and to lug and unpack and repack and bring back home to unpack again only to repack for the next show is too exhausting! I wish you great success with your booth. It's just lovely!

Anonymous said...

I have an old home that I would like to turn into an antique mall. What do you think.It's in a high traffic area.

andi {the hollie rogue} said...

Hi! I have been scoring your entire blog for all of the antique mall dealer tips. I'm starting a booth myself and was wondering if your mall allows you to promote your outside online store? How do you let customers know about your blog/shop outside of the mall? Thanks so much for any tips you have for this newbie :)

ChaplinsSmile said...

I would love to have a booth but I just can't get past the "percentage of your sales" thing... They are already charging $100- $200 rent! Why the extra?

Unknown said...

Anyone knows a place in Cleveland Area to rent a booth for my used and new goods???

Unknown said...

Anyone knows a place in Cleveland Area to rent a booth for my used and new goods???