Hi everyone and happy Wednesday! There’s nothing like a little craft show talk to get hump day started, am I right? Today I’ll be sharing my experience at the Chic and Unique show in Brownstown, MI—yet another show I did for the first time this year in my quest to branch out, get more experience doing shows, and get my furniture out to an even wider market.
Like the Saline show, I found Chic and Unique on Facebook. These shows are managed by a company called GLP Events, which does several events a year, and the interest on Facebook looked very promising, so I decided to give it a shot. As usual, I’ll talk about the cost, location, traffic, and organization of the show, and let you know how this one went for us. Thanks for reading!
Price: This booth cost $75, which is on the high end for a vintage market, but still in the average range of what I typically pay for one day. Because of the interest that the event was generating on Facebook, it didn’t really phase me. I typically set aside $300-$400 each month for shows, depending on the time of year, and so it wasn’t hard to fit this one into my budget.
I didn’t see a lot of signs directing us to the market on the way there, but it wasn’t as out of the way as the Saline show was—Chic and Unique was right on a main road and it was a lot bigger, so you knew there was something going on before you were even close, with all the tents and cars everywhere.
Location: I didn’t know much about the area at all when I signed up for the show, but it’s similar to north Macomb county—lots of big box stores, parks, etc. Plus, it’s close to the water, so it’s a good area.
The market was held at the Brownstown Event Center, which was one of the nicest venues I think I’ve ever done a show at.
The event center had indoor restrooms and air conditioning, along with tables for shoppers to eat (there was a small fleet of food trucks at the show) and relax at. There was some type of historical building on the grounds, too, which was open for tours, and a community garden that you could walk through. It was relaxing and fun to just walk around and enjoy the grounds.
Originally, our tent was supposed to be in the very back of the parking lot next to the row of vintage/salvage sellers, but they moved us at the last minute because there were still people parked in my spot unloading. I should have just told the organizer that I wanted to wait, because my spot ended up being on the end of an inside row, and traffic just seemed to go right by us all day (the back of our tent was against the sidewalk, where the natural flow of traffic was passing, which is always kind of strange). Of course, I didn’t know at the time that it was going to be an issue—something to keep in mind for next time, right?
As soon as people started to walk around, we realized that it was going to be difficult getting people into the tent, even with the amount of people that were there. We ended up rearranging the set-up with our pieces on either side of the tent, so that people could just walk right through. This helped us a little bit.
Traffic: The crowds were insane at this show—it was even busier than I expected, and people were definitely in the mood to buy. There was always a line at the food trucks and bathrooms, and there were people packed into the parking areas and around the tables inside the venue. It seemed like, in most of the booths around us, pieces were flying out of the show.
Our sales were definitely lower than average—it took us until 2 p.m. to make our booth, which is very unusual. Again, I’m always trying to figure things out and learn, and one of the problems I think we had was that our booth was a little sparse (this could also have been one of our problems at Shed 5, but I think it was an even bigger problem at this show). Most people had trucks or trailers, and most of the booths were absolutely packed with stuff. Usually, my mom and I do the shows together, so we have the entire van and her car packed with our furniture.
For Chic and Unique, my mom was on call (she’s a nurse), so Dan came with me and we only brought the van and the two of us, which cut down on the space we had for inventory. I can pack the van pretty well, but I can’t fill up the whole tent, especially when I have such big pieces in there to start with. When I see everyone else with trucks and trailers, and I see how full their booths are and how well they’re doing (at some shows), it always makes me think I need to invest in a trailer. And maybe I do. It’s definitely something to think about. I don’t know where I would store it—probably just in the driveway—and I’m not sure how much it would set me back in my savings goal for my store, but I’m starting to think I really need to consider and research it. I never have this problem with shows where I can set up the night before, or with shows that are longer than two days—I can always bring a second load to those, which means that I always have plenty of inventory.
Maybe I’ll do a pro/con list—who knows? That could be the seed for another post!
I mentioned that it was a little disorganized coming in—I’ve never had been to a show that simply moved me unceremoniously to a different spot just because someone was still unloading and I couldn’t pull up to my original space—and it was a little crazy going out, too. The organizers came around and asked that everyone be completely packed up before pulling their cars up, and the traffic had slowed so much by 3:45 p.m. that I was packed and ready to load right at 4—with all big pieces, there isn’t much to pack up anyway.
Someone else brought their car in even a little bit before 4, so I told Dan to go and get the van as soon as I saw that, but by the time he was ready to pull into the vendor area, one of the guys had dragged the barrier across the entrance and wasn’t letting anybody in. I walked over to ask him to move it, and he told me that no one could come in until the food trucks were out. Luckily, there was a pretty irate guy right behind me who told the guy who was blocking everyone that he was being insane, and that was enough to get the guy to move the barrier. Dan scooted in right behind irate guy’s truck before the barrier could be replaced.
When we talked about it later, Dan thought maybe the organizer guy was trying to get the food trucks out quickly so that there could be two lanes of traffic, one going in and one going out, and make it smoother, but there was plenty of space for people who were packed and on that first row to get in and out quickly. It literally took us eight minutes to load the van once it was back there (yes, I timed it!). There didn’t seem like there was much of a reason to give me such a hard time about moving the barricade, especially since the food truck guys didn’t seem like they were in a hurry to get anywhere fast—the front guy didn’t even have his trailer hooked up by the time that we were pulling out.
The space is pretty narrow where cars can come in, so I can appreciate that they wanted to keep things as simple as possible, but, especially since they told us to be packed up before we brought our cars back, I just assumed that once we were packed up, it would be no problem to get back to the tent.
I’m happy I tried this show—like I said, the crowds were amazing—but I’ll definitely bring more inventory if I do it again in the spring, and I’ll make sure I’m there early enough to get into my assigned spot with no trouble (I was supposed to be in the B section, and that seemed like a great location—plus, it was in the shade most of the day, too).
Like the Saline show, it was pretty far for us to drive, but it was highway basically the whole time, and if 75 hadn’t been closed for miles south of Detroit, it would have been even quicker. We didn’t make much of a profit for this show, but ended up about breaking even when you add up the cost of gas and food.
How did you do at the Chic and Unique August market? There were people who were doing crazy good, which is amazing! Let me know what you thought of the market in the comments below.