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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Junk Ranch Spring 2017 Round-Up

Monday I was completely out of it and couldn't do anything but just sit and stare.  Mentally and physically exhausted. I thought I was dying.  I couldn't stay awake, I was a total grump. My throat hurt.  I had a sunburn.  But,  I had twelve hours of sleep that night and I felt so much better.  That heat just drained me. Plus for a two day sale, there are two days of loading and displaying then a day of unloading.  So, it turns into five straight days out in the heat and sun.  I never, ever want to admit to feeling older, but after five days of heat, sun and dust, I really felt old.  I was kind of worried that I was getting to old to be a junker.  WHEW. I am still tired, but not like that first day.  

When The Breadman got home Tuesday afternoon, we loaded up all the set-up items in his 16 foot Ryder truck.  Wednesday morning, I pulled out all my merchandise that I had stacked in the garage, out in two sheds, in the closet, under the bed and on and on.  I lined it all up in the driveway and we loaded every single thing in one load.  It was FANTASTIC.  Usually, I take out the set up stuff, then come back for a load of merchandise, then back again for a quick bite (Last year I whipped up a delicious BLT, which I noticed about an hour did not stick to my ribs.  Fast forward to that night when I found my turkey bacon still in the microwave.  Apparently, I had eaten a tomato and lettuce sandwich) and then take my final load out that afternoon.  Then Friday I take any large items like blowmolds or paper items and the cooler and food.  So, even though it is a fast ten minute drive, I spend a lot of time going back and forth and waiting in line to get to my spot while other vendors check in and park.  So, to have everything out there in one fell swoop was just the best.  It's funny, I had a single layer on the bottom of that 16 foot truck , but it all fit perfectly in my booth with just a little overspill to make it look full.  

Wednesday we set up the tent, the tables and all my shelving and put the appropriate merchandise in the right area.  Thursday I did most of the set up since we would only have two hours on Friday to fluff it up, price any items that I missed and get ready for the public to arrive.  Friday morning I set up some display areas and was ready by 9:30.  A new record for me!  Woot!  Then the gates opened! The first customer in my booth found an item, asked for it more than half of what I had it priced and talked badly about it. Making something sound awful isn't the way to get a deal, people.  It was a minor issue that I had purposely left to prove it was vintage and handmade.  Anyway, I went up and little and she bought it. The next four people also asked for a better price.  Haggling isn't usually something I see much of at The Junk Ranch.  There is a certain amount when they buy multiple items and often, I give a better price on things when they buy multiples too.  I was pretty bummed that the first five people in the gates completely low-balled me and I got in sort of a bad mood right off the bat.  Asking for a better price isn't a terrible thing, but cutting it by half and cutting it down?  Not cool. One item I had knocked down by a good amount and the person just kept saying how it was just what they needed and they didn't think they'd find another one.  In the end, there was a price difference of $3.00 and they wouldn't bite.  I felt bad later since it was only $3.00, but $3.00 shouldn't have made them walk away either.  I had just had enough, I guess.  I know that when they come in the gate, they are hot and tired from standing in line and they just paid $10.00 admission plus bought themselves a pricey lemonade, so they are looking for a deal to make themselves feel better. But, I am trying to make some money and run a business, after all.

My mood improved after several IG followers came to visit and make me feel like a celebrity.  Here I am, all hot, sweaty and devoid of makeup and they are gushing about me, my booth, my IG, the blog, my merchandise, etc.  My heart swelled.  People can just be SO NICE.  So, I chose to embrace the feeling of the nice people and carry that with me the rest of the weekend.  Actually, the first five people were the only ones that made me grumpy.  Everyone else was nice as can be.   I had a great two days visiting with customers, Lara and our mutual friend Kristie (Hi Bailey!) that set up with us. I'm not an overly social person, so it is nice to be in an environment where I am comfortable (minus the heat and sun and dirt) talking junk for two days.  It's really why I do what I do.

How about a feel good story?

I had bought this old toy garbage truck at a barn sale for $25.00, which is a LOT for this cheap old soul.  I knew it was something I would never find again, and if it didn't sell, I would give it a good home.  I priced it $68.00 based on a little internet research.  (For the record on that, I never price as high as ebay but I take the price and the amount of shipping into consideration to make a price).  This sweet girl saw it high up on the shelf and swooped it to her chest.  She came over to buy it and told me that when she was a little girl she wanted to be a Garbage Man when she grew up.  "I still love garbage trucks!" she said.  I asked if I could take her photo and she was more than willing.  I planned on doing that throughout the weekend, but she was the happiest customer I had.  

Friday morning, and by morning, I mean the unholy hour of 4:45 AM, Lara was out in the field to be on the local TV channel for five live remotes promoting the Junk Ranch.  She helps the owners with their press and she also wrote a lovely article in the newspaper about it.  I kept waiting for someone to say, I saw you on TV!" but they never did.  I should have made her a "AS SEEN ON TV" sign for her booth. :)

Alrighty, let's discuss the booth!  This year I had four departments or sections or areas or whatever - Farmhouse, Americana, Ephemera/Vintage School and Random Crap.  Lol on that last one.  

Thursday afternoon I decided that this old dress mannequin needed some fluffing, so I made her a Miss Junk America sash and a big rosette to wear.  I thought she was sort of fabulous.  Not one person mentioned her or asked about buying her.  But, in hindsight, I think she looked more like a sign or a display and not something for sale.  Never mind that, I thought she looked pretty darn awesome.  

Farmhouse decor consisted of kitchen things, old chicken coop, an egg crate, cows, platters, restaurant ware, dairy items, etc.  I sold a good amount of these sort of things including every single red and green handled utensil I had.  Those never sold in the past!

Laundry room decor, enamelware and all sorts of goodies are hidden in there.

Sold the old strainer to a lady that is going to make a Christmas tree out of it.  I hadn't thought of that and it's a darn good idea!  More Farmhouse inspired things.  Sold a lot, kept some for next time and donated some in the end.  

Around the corner, we have Americana.  Anything red, white or blue OR a combination of those colors, Patriotic, souvenir-ish, touristy or had a patriotic theme went here.  

I got a lot of comments on this display.  See that banner I made?  I made five of them and they all sold by 1:00 Friday.  That night I was bleary eyed, but I stayed up and made eight more for Saturday. Guess how many sold?  Yep.  Nadda.  Not a one.  Crazy how different days sell different things!  

The oversize flashcards always sell.  I love asking why they buy the ones they buy.  Forth/Fourth went to a 4th grade teacher.  One went to a hotel check in desk.  Another for a nursery wall.  It's fun that different people can see a word and have a meaning for it just for themselves.  I had a bunch of old colorful Math flash cards and an older man bought them all.  I wondered why, but he must have had an idea.  

I made that school banner, but school just let out, so the teacher's are not looking for classroom decor. I'll list it on IG in August.  

Another item that I think would be good in a classroom.  But, it's just not the right time to sell it.

That old Spell-It board sold quickly.  I loved it, but it went to a good home.  

Lots of old squeaks that people like to paw through and a pile of old board puzzles.  I sold a lot of both, but there's plenty left. 

Here we have the random crap area.  I sold every Christmas item I took!  Now I am thinking maybe I should take more in the Spring because there is less competition?  I didn't have that much, but what I did take was the pricier things and it all sold.  Something to consider, I think.


I pulled a few things, then marked this section Half Off on Saturday afternoon and sold a good amount of it.  Most of it had been to a few Junk Ranch shows, so it was time to let it go.  I kept some of the better things, but let a lot go to Goodwill.  I am just waiting for someone to post a photo of all the "good vintage stuff they scored at Goodwill this week."  :)

I put all my feedsacks out loose in this giant tray and let the customers choose their pendant and a colorful necklace for one amount.  People were looking at them and picking each one up and it made me so happy to see them do that!  But.  But, then I went closer to hear what they were saying.  "Oh, your KIDS could make those.  Just get some glue and an old quilt."  "Oh we could make these."  UGH.  UGH. UGH.  You can think these things at a show.  You really can.  But, keep it in your head!  Don't say it out loud, for Pete's sake!  I guess the heat got to me and I was in a mood, but I decided to just take them home and not even put them out on Saturday.  My heart couldn't handle it.  I love those feedsack necklaces and each one is a tiny work of art in my eyes.  They aren't difficult to make.  But they do take about a week of cutting, curing, trimming and you have to find the perfect little scrap plus it was my original idea, so they are a part of me.  Silly, but true.  I'm not over making and selling them.  I just think I am done with them at The Junk Ranch.  They sell quite nicely on Etsy for quite a bit more money.  So, there's that.  Plus it's summer so I can get some glue and invite the neighbor kids over to make me a ton of them!  HA HA.  I still have my sense of humor.  


Here's Lara's booth.  Poor Lara.  She ordered a bunch of over-sized prints to frame and they never came.  So, she worked like a demon and made all these hand painted signs.  Friday morning the people that set up next to her and that have set up next to her the past two shows arrived.  But, instead of their usual rusty bits and bobs, industrial bins of old gears and wheels and old metal signage - they built 8 ft. tall walls and hung hundreds of wooden signs on them.  It was the most curious thing.  Like if I showed up suddenly with nothing but boutique dresses and sun hats.  Like, what?  They were at the end of the aisle and with their giant tall walls, you couldn't even see Lara's booth or mine as you came around that corner.  So, a lot of people never even made it to us.  (I do sound like an unhappy negative Nellie in this post, don't I?  I am not.  I had fun and sold some things.  But, it was different this time and we had obstacles to concur.)  I saw photos of the lines and read of the crowds, but we didn't see them were we were - we had a crowd, we thought.  But, not what others were seeing. Those dealers sold their signs by the armloads.  Lara did end up selling the majority of hers too, but it took most of the two days and she usually sells out very quickly.  Like, when the gates open people come running for her signs.

This is a local blogger with over 75K followers on IG.  I spotted this photo and laughed because look at the background!  Lara and I have made the BIG TIME!!!! Ha.  

An IG follower brought me a bag of goodies that she knew I would like.  She was right!  Those kewpies are singing, "Party in the USA."  "Put your hands up...."  

I took a walk over to visit our Doppelganger selling friends Laurie and Sheena.  I spotted this tiney Nursery school chair in their booth and I was smitten.  I have a larger one that I thought was small until I saw this one!  It's just the cutest thing and although I felt minor guilt for buying ti then, I am SO glad that I did!  I can't wait to put a vintage Santa in it!  $10!

So, there you have it.  The Junk Ranch Spring Edition!  October will be here before you know it.  Holy crap!

Thanks for reading all that and making it this far!  You rock!


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  2. I saw your post, got my sweet tea and settled in for a good read! As someone who has done hundreds of shows, I know the feeling of a good setup experience - glad you had that (well, except for the heat and dust)! Your booth just looks so yummy!!! So much vintage eye candy I don't know whether to look up, down, or all around.

    I'm so sorry your first "customers" were low ballers. Whaddayagonnado - just kick them across the field in your mind, like I do.

    And there are always those brainless people that look at your hand made items and say they could do that, as if it took five minutes. Whaddayagonnado - yep - ktatfiym. The thing that kills me about that is they are being dismissive about something that took hours of thought, design, preparation and craft. I'm glad you got them out of the way and the rest of the folks were better. I love the garbage man-girl story!!!

    Those @$!"&^%#$ sign people. Yep, it's all too familiar. They probably saw Lara selling her butt off last year with her signs and said, that's what we need to be selling! Frankly, I'm surprised the JR allows it. That is what happened when I sold jewelry years ago. Other vendors saw me selling all day long (I had great resources) and the next show or so later, they were selling jewelry. Not the same as mine but when local promoters accepted applications, there were a ton of jewelry folks. It doesn't matter that the jewelry was different, the category filled up fast. Sometimes promoters who didn't care about the mix of items and allowed too many jewelry vendors in their show. That disappointed the customers, which effected attendance the next year. I saw the handwriting on the wall and researched long and hard and started selling something else. Jewelry was good while it lasted. But yes - count on copy cats if they see you are doing well.

    Anyhoo - I love your posts because you give us the nitty gritty details (and lots of photos!) about what sells and the stories behind them. It's funny Boo, but I think we are alike in that we seem like extroverts to the outside world but we are really introverts.

    1. I always look forward to your comments! As for the signs and TJR, I think it was an oversight as far as them setting up right beside her. They had never had those signs in the past. It was okay they were selling them, just maybe not right next to her. Almost every vendor has some of the same sort of things but they're usually scattered away from each other. I mostly thought it was odd that a vendor would suddenly have a whole new theme for selling. THe ladies that run TJR are good friends to us. And yes, I'm an introvert. Big time!!!

  3. I used to see this same sign all over Canton First Monday Trade Days in booths with lots of hand crafted things: SURE, YOU COULD MAKE THIS, BUT YOU WON'T. And I buy vintage Christmas year round, so am not surprised that you sold yours in June. I volunteer in a huge thrift store, & we sell Christmas & Halloween & other fall stuff every single month. It's only 6 months to Christmas now - YAY!!!!

    1. I was in Hobby Lobby on Tuesday looking for last minute Flag Day decorations and they already had Fall decorations out and were starting on their WALLS of Christmas ornaments. But I'm not complaining - I LOVE it! I could look at Christmas all year : ) I bet you see some neat decorations off season.

  4. Looooong time ago when I made my junk wind chimes, of course people would comment about making their own. I got questions about where I got all my goodies,drill bits to use, etc. Let them go try, I know for sure it would end up costing them way more than what I charged. I even made a chime out of that same strainer the lady bought for a tree, we all see things differently. Hopefully for the fall sale the kinks with the "neighbors" will be worked out. Maybe it's time to think about blinking arrows to point the way to you and Lara, or ask for a different spot?

  5. Love hearing the wrap ups!
    I'm a big fan of booting rude people out of my booth. The satisfaction is amazing
    Those folks totally copycatted Lara!!
    I wonder if you could move your spot for better visibility and foot traffic.
    Bet you feel like you lost ten pounds with all the goodies you sold.
    I think your a celebrity!


  6. I always like seeing your posts about your experiences. I went to a show a couple of weeks ago that I used to be a vendor at for many years. It was weird how much it had changed and it had only been 2 years since I had been a vendor. Anyways, screw the lowballers and the people who think their kids are as talented as you (because they most certainly ARE NOT)! ;)

  7. I love reading all the inside scoop on your Junk Ranch days! Low ballers are just rude IMHO. Sorry they grumped up your morning! Thanks for sharing all the details.

  8. What a great event each year. I love all the stories and photos of your booth. i would so shop your space!

  9. I always enjoy your Junk Ranch wrap ups. I think it's pretty tacky for some yahoo to start bartering on the 1st day of the show and so early! Maybe if it's later in the day or the last day, but right off the bat just shows their ignorance! They probably would have put me in a bad mood too!

  10. I have to tell you how much I look forward to your posts about the Junk Ranch! I think you have a fantastic "voice" when you write that makes your posts fun and folksy and altogether enjoyable. I'm sorry about the poops who think you should give them a deal the moment the show opens - we had that at the flea market I sell at this year: even before we were open there were dealers (not from the flea but from other venues) coming through looking to buy the "best" stuff for the lowest price possible. How can they think that's fair? Oh well, all's fair in junk and fleas, or so they say....

  11. I can't believe that this is the first second I've had to get over here and see if you had written up the Junk Ranch yet...and of course you had! You are so sweet to be so outraged on my behalf. Best. Booth. Friend. Ever. I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do for October. Not sure what direction to go in. Regardless, your booth looked AMAZING, as always. It looks like someone took a whole store full of the BEST vintage goodies and just dropped it on top of a field. And I love the emotional stories that you get out of people every single time. So glad I "work" next door to you every Junk Ranch!!!!


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