What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Barn Sale: The Prep Begins

The Barn Sale is getting close.  Well, two and a half months is close in MY opinion.  It's actually called the "Farm Fresh Vintage Market" now.  But, it will always be the Barn Sale to me.  This is the first sale of it's kind in my area, so I am happy to be in on the ground floor.  Hopefully, it will continue to grow and grow and be held a few times a year.

I still have two and a half months to prepare, but I swear I had five months just a week or so ago.  Time flies when you are busy as hell!  :D

I'm starting to work on my set up early so I know just what I an dealing with.  I will only have my SUV to load up, so I want to be able to take all the display items in one trip and all the merchandise in the second trip.  It's about six miles each way, so I can make a few trips if needed.  I have all day to set up, but only one evening to take it all down.  

We had a canopy that I had bought on clearance several years ago, but we had never put it together.  The three of us (who cannot assemble anything without a good old fashioned family fight) discovered that it was cheap and flimsy and not meant for going up and down over and over. 

I mentioned those EZ Up canopies and how affordable they are (less than $55.0 shipped) and how we could use it for other things and it would be a good investment and The Breadman suggested that I order one.  HA!  It was his idea just like I planned!  So, I went online to Academy Sports and ordered myself a sweet EZ Up canopy.  What I didn't mention when I said how versatile and useful it would be is that I was going to order a PINK one.  So much for him taking it tailgating.  *Insert evil laugh*   

This is the flimsy canopy set up.  It was not going to work at all.  I ordered the banner from VistaPrint.  I like the idea of hanging it, but I would LOVE it framed, IF I could figure out how to properly hang it once it was framed.  Wouldn't a big old ornate crusty frame look cool????  If I can't do that, I just need to put some grommets in the corners so I can hang it up.  

To decorate the banner, I took a HUGE step of faith and cut up all those gingham shirts I bought a few weeks ago.  I am going to make pennants out of the material and use only the pink/white and black/white for the banner at the sale.  I think it will be cute.  But not too cutesy.  I want my STUFF to stand out, but I want a nice looking booth that fools people into thinking I actually know what I am doing.  (I do not know what I am doing).

I also ordered some new PINK business cards that have the ever popular blog header photo on it and monkeybox on it.  Then I included my flea market location and booth number and offered 10% off any purchase with the card.  I can include them  with purchases and I will have some out on the tables for people to pick up.  

I have two folding 6 foot tables that I can use for displays as well as a card table for my check out area.  I want to cover the tables so they don't show.  I want to use all my vintage tablecloths that have pink in them, but I really don't want them to get ruined or worse yet, have anyone want to BUY them.  Noooooo!  I'll have to think on that.  I wish my thrifting mojo would bring me a big bolt of white material for the tables.  *Fingers crossed!*  :D  If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.  I probably will use my vintage tablecloths.  I think it will complete the look the best.  

I plan on having a mix of handmade kitschy crafts and vintage items as well as Ephemera of all sorts.  I have a huge list and each day I just try to take one thing off the list.  Today the item was make labels on the computer, but I cannot for the life of me get Works to use.  Windows 8 is the death of me, I swear.  I need 100 labels that say this and 100 labels that say that and so on.  I wanted to look professional not to mention, who wants to write FLASH CARD one hundred times????

So, this post is just me wondering and planning out loud, so to speak.  I have lots of ideas, but limited time and I really want to do this without spending any more money.  We will use the canopy again and the cards can be used in the booth, so I really am only out the $25.00 vendor fee and that is CRAZY cheap.  But, I want to make money, not spend money!  

Now, I have questions for you!  

Are you looking for Christmas items the last weekend of September or more Fall/Halloween?  If you are like me, if I see it and like it, I buy it no matter what the date.  

What sort of things would YOU like to find at a market like this?  Rusty and crusty?  Handmade?  Repurposed?  Vintage?  Pinterest items? A mixture of all of the above?  

I'm curious about pricing - I want to sell!  I don't want to give it away, but I sure don't want it to NOT sell.  I am setting up to SELL and to promote my Flea Market booth.

What prices do you expect?  Yard sale prices?  Thrift Store Prices?  Consignment Store Prices?  Flea Market/Antique Store Prices?  What about a price for ONE Vintage Flash Card?  Or an old lampshade skeleton?  One skeleton key?  

What would you LOVE to find at a sale like this?

Okay, thanks for your input.  I know in the end, these are all my decisions.  But, I am curious what the norm is in other parts of the country.  This is my first sale, but i don't want it to be my last one!  


  1. I got white fabric for $1 a yard at WalMart a few years ago. We use it to make mostly food displays. I take pot/pans turn upside down - drape with fabric for different levels of display.
    If I have the size labels you need, I'd be happy to print those out for you. I have 33 ups and a smaller size that's called return address labels.
    I think garage sale price is too cheap. It's hard to know what your area's pricing would be. As an example, I bought some wooden stakes that were painted and had sayings on them - like GARDEN and paid $2 each and I felt that was cheap. On the other hand, at the same sale (November craft fair), some ladies had those redneck wine glasses - you know when they glue a candlestick on the bottom of a mason jar -- and they wanted $25 or $30 each - now I felt that was expensive. I don't think they sold very many (wonder why?). I think they had writing on them too but I can't remember what they said. Oh, by the way, this was California, where everything is more expensive.
    I'll shut up now. Wish I could go to your sale

  2. Sounds like you have it all under control. Do yourself a favor and if you can do a practice set up a few days before the show so you kinda know where things will go. Because you probably will change things around several times before you are happy with the look.
    If you are trying to get customers in your booth, and I don't know the prices in your booth, stay somewhere in the ballpark with your prices. Too high at the barn sale and they will think that all your prices are high. Too low and they will think they will get everything super cheap at you permanent location. I know, that didn't help much, but since I don't know prices in your area I was shooting in the dark. And go for a mix of stuff you like. You have a great eye and just go with what fits with everything else.
    I've done shows for 10-12 years and always use solid color fabric on the table. I use muslin covers that I made to fit my tables and then I could change up the fabric on top. I tried blue, green and burgundy at different times. Burgundy made my things pop and I had primitive painted things (old wood, suitcases, tin, etc). If you use your vintage linens people will assume they are for sale since you have lots of vintage stuff. And if you use your vintage tablecloths they will get damaged. No doubt. People don't care about your table coverings. You will get drinks spilled, food dripped and babies pulling on them. (watch out for the kid with the runny nose who tries to wipe it on your table cover..truly happened!) Save your sanity and go solid color. Something darker pink than your canopy might be good. If you are going to do more shows you will need something that you can throw in the wash a lot. I'm sure you don't want to do that with your vintage linens. But, hey, that's just me. Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book.

  3. Okay, first off, Breathe! It's going to be fine and you are going to do fine. Second, I HATE Windows 8! It drives me nuts!! I'm not the best one to give advice on pricing here, since I tend to think these sort of events are over-priced, but I only look at it from a resale perspective.

  4. Man, you've got me excited for this sale! Too bad I live in Oregon:-(

    I am like you and will buy seasonal décor no matter the season so bring it on! Also, since this is a barn sale, I would definitely mix the rusty & crusty in along with a good amount of vintage kitchen items. What goes better with a barn than an old farmhouse? And what do you think of when you think of an old farmhouse? A farmhouse kitchen! Do you think you will be able to find a good middle ground in regards to pricing? Like not as cheap as the thrifts but not as expensive as an antique mall? I know you want to make money but you also don't want to have to haul anything home. But I bet you will be willing to barter too, right?

    Good luck & have fun!


  5. Oh my I am excited for you!! I love all your ideas. Maybe putting a good clear plastic cover over your vintage tablescloths to protect them? They can been seen but not touched, etc. As for what I would look for, a good variety and seasonal always! In the fall I'm looking for holidays, Christmas especially. I would say to price things more then yard sale-thrift shop but not as high as antique mall. A bargain but not a giveaway! I can't wait to see how this goes. Wish I could come to your sale!!


  6. How do you feel about the prices in your booth at the mall? I would go with that as your guide. Def NOT garage sale prices, a "vintage market" should be higher priced, but not antique mall crazy. When I did shows, I had to look at small things like table cloths, bags, tags, etc. as an investment. With your stuff as crazy cool as it is, you WILL make money. Is Bean going with you to help so you can get potty breaks? That was one of my biggest pitfalls was not having help and having to ask neighboring vendors to watch my stuff. Make sure you have some kind of leg anchor weights for the canopy. Even if it is not very windy, it doesn't take much to turn one into a kite or tangled mess.

  7. USE YOUR BELOVED TABLECLOTHS!!! As I see it, what's the point in having Great stuff and NOT USING IT?! NOT SHOWING IT OFF?! It won't get ruined ...and if it does, YOU know where to find more ;-)!!

    YOUR BOOTH IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC! Put ALL of the HOLIDAYS in there ~ just keep them in their own little sections!!

  8. I would mix in stuff that people wouldn't necessarily think of for the upcoming season. Your displays always make me enlarge and look closer. Just "Shara-ize" it and you will be dandy!

  9. OMG your business card idea is BRILLIANT and I never would have thought of either putting my booth info and/or offering a discount with the card -- you really are a savvy business person, Shara. I agree with everything Thrifter Sister said. I think prices should be higher than a garage sale but cheaper than an antique mall. My personal opinion is that because this is a special occasion and only an occasional sale you might be able to get away with pricing things a little higher than you do in the booth, but I only say that because I know how affordable you price your booth things. BTW, you are making me feel WAY behind in planning. :-)

  10. Veteran of many, many shows and you can always shoot me an email..
    Use the tablecloths. I use mine and layer them. I can't tell you how many people comment on them and they draw people in. People want to buy them, but they are a NFS item. Yes on vintage holiday..people buy that stuff year round. Make sure you have bags and tissue and such. I also wear my money on me in an utility apron. I don't sit. I have a table to do bagging and that type of stuff, but I never have extra room to add a chair. I would price higher than a garage sale for sure. I don't usually barter right off the bat either..save that for later in the day. You will do a great job!

  11. I am only a shopper. I say use your tablecloths. Price below antique mall prices, but not as low as thrift or garage sales. I am always looking for fall/Christmas in September plus I keep my eye out for Christmas gifts then. I only want vintage in any shape for all rooms of the house & outside too. My house is so saturated now that I am looking for old stuff for repurposing - like keys, ball jars, door knobs, salt shakers, bingo cards, etc - things that are normally not found so much at estate sales and furniture more in the rough that I can make over myself. I am in Texas & may just come. Favorite time of year! Mary


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