As an antiques dealer, I don’t consider the holiday season without doing a few markets. I’ve written before about doing markets but, those were mostly summer markets. Winter markets can be so much more challenging. Last month I helped some friends at a two day outdoor market in 26F degree weather. Yikes that was cold to be in all day. Thank God for propane heaters.
This past weekend I sold at a two day indoor market; indoor in a horse arena not a cushy building with all the nice flooring, good lighting and heating systems found in a conference center. Normally this arena hosts a flea market once a month but in December they host a holiday antiques market in addition to their regular market. The holiday antique market requires that 90% of each dealers product must be vintage or antique. This ensures the public will not be disappointed by a flea market look when they are expecting antiques.
I think winter markets can pose the most challenging and the most rewarding. The challenges are mostly logistics. Challenges getting to the market include weather, traffic and health issues in the winter. In the Midwest, our winter weather can turn quite severe at the drop of a hat so the idea that a freak snow storm keeping you and your customers from the market is a real possibility. This past weekend, we had torrential rain which reduced the number of market attendees significantly. Which means we were there without as many to sell to as anticipated. It also reduced the number of dealers that chose not to travel in the storms. Not us! My sister and I are made of tougher stuff.
The rewards of selling at a winter market come in all different sizes. Sometimes it’s just the ability to connect with a collector finding their coveted piece,their holy grail; sometimes it’s rewarding to help the grandma buying a dog figurine to help sooth her granddaughter over the loss of a beloved pet; and other times its the last sale of the day when a husband comes running over as your packing to go home begging you to find the piece of jewelry he should have purchased earlier in the day when he first saw it.
Making these types of connections is why antiques dealers continue to schlep their items out to markets; why we find some sort of return for our efforts. It always feels rewarding to make connections between what we sell and someone that will love those things and cherish them for their age and beauty.
So, if you have the chance, go to a holiday antiques market, go! Enjoy looking, checking out the vintage and antique pieces. Look for unique holiday items to add to your decorations this year. Think of the people that originally loved those items and those who would benefit from the memories those pieces bring. Then purchase unique holiday gifts with a little more meaning than just another tie or sweater. Antiques make the most unique holiday gifts.
Where do you do your holiday shopping?