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.

Monday, November 06, 2017

That Other Show I Talked About

I did a Vintage Holiday Market this past weekend.  I have wanted to do a Christmas market for a few years, but hadn't found one that was affordable or close enough that I could do it.  Then I found this one and it was only 10 minutes from my house.  That was good.  The bad part was that it is sort of a competitor to my beloved Junk Ranch.  But, since I had already done the Junk Ranch and there wouldn't be another one until June, I decided that I would give it a try.  Honestly, I almost made myself sick over deciding to do it or not.  I am fiercely loyal to the Junk Ranch and all of these newer copycat pop up shows keep coming along and copying everything TJR does.  I get so riled up you would think that I was an owner!  I had pulled out the best of the best for The Junk Ranch.  I truly only took my leftovers and some things that I had depleted like Christmas flash cards and a few other handmade things. 

The show was inside.  That was one perk.  Level floors where I could build a display anyway I wanted and it wouldn't blow over or get dirty.  The downside was going to be walking each crate, board and table in and that would take a good amount of time  We got there early on Thursday to carry everything in and to set up.  That's when I discovered the biggest perk.....I could DRIVE INSIDE the BUILDING!  I drove in, right to my spot and we unloaded in less than ten minutes. So fast!  People that arrived after a lot of us had set up couldn't do that, so I was glad we had gotten there early enough to drive in.  I had all my diagrams drawn out because I am a total worrywart when it comes to shows and setting up my merchandise for peak eye appeal and to get LOTS of stuff in my section.  

Because I knew exactly how I wanted it set up, I was unloaded and completely done in about two hours.  Not having to deal with the canopy, walls, weights, etc. was a real time saver.  I was super happy with how it turned out after I was done.  

Lara brought in those three signs to add some big pieces to my area.  Most of what I had was super small this time.  I had to get every single thing there in one load and back home in one load.  I did it!  Well, that's not entirely true.  I gave eight crates away to a lady across from me that had admired their usefulness.  I have about 100 of them in my backyard (My Dad gets them for free and I sell them for him), so I was happy to share them and not have to haul them back home!

Let's have a look around.  

Big wire baskets full of vintage Christmas ornaments and crafty bits.  I love using that three tiered wire basket for display.  I honestly don't sell a lot out of it, but it holds the extra things that I am unsure how to display like beaded and candy garland and honeycomb.  I think I sold about ten things out of those wire baskets.  

Each crate or cubby had a theme or a vignette.  Santa mugs here. Not a one sold.

More Santa's here.  The two Annalee's sold.  

I like to fill up a space, then fill it up some more.  :D  I completely sold out of those Christmas flashcards at the Junk Ranch.  I sold 25 packs.  So, I made 25 more.  I sold one pack and that went to a lady that had come to the Junk Ranch after I had sold out.  Most people picked them up, thumbed through them and made a face - like what are these.  What would you do with these?  It was such a different crowd.  The monk choir in the back sold. And that Santa head with the big beard.

I had nearly sold of of vintage ornaments, so I worked really hard to find a bunch of new ones for this show.  Not a single box sold.  (Are you starting to sense a theme here?)

I sold out of cookie cutter garlands at the Junk Ranch, so of course I made more.  They did not sell.  One customer said they were a genius idea.  Then followed that up by saying she was going to have her Pre-K class make some.  So, apparently, my crafting ability is on a four year old level.  Nothing in this photo sold.

This was on the other side.  I used both of my banners which was probably too much, but I usually can't, so I did.  I sold a few red and green handled kitchen utensils.  There is an odd nutcracker in there and I swear to you, every single person that walked by picked it up and looked at it.  We made bets when someone would come by - will they pick up the nutcracker?  YES!  Take a shot.  Ha.  

I turned my domino pendants into ornaments complete with mercury glass beads. A couple people looked at them, commented on the fact that they are dominoes and went on to the next booth.  I head, "We could make those" more than a few times.  UGH, UGH, UGH.  Don't say that EVER!  Think it, make a note of it, write it down.  But DO NOT EVER SAY IT OUT LOUD.  Sure, they aren't rocket science.  But they are MY idea.  I scanned old packages that I found out in the wild,  I figured out the program on my computer to make them shrink to fit.  I found the old dominoes.  I researched and found just the right adhesive,  Spoiler alert - it isn't Elmer's glue.  I learned how to glaze them so there is a raised surface, how to carve the edges and on and on.  They can try to make them, but they won't be like mine.

Thanksgiving flashcards.  Guess how many I sold!  If you guessed, "Not a damn one" *DING*DING* you win!

Beautiful vintage ornaments gathered in old berry boxes.  Sold 43 at the Junk Ranch.  But, this weekend I sold......say it with me...."Not a damn one!"

My only new addition to this show were snow globe necklaces.  

Tiny green bottle brush trees.

And a few of the sweetest little PINK trees.

How many did I sell?


I did put them on Instagram and sold a few. 

The show was Friday from 12-9 which was entirely TOO late.  Saturday was 10-7 which made us load in the pitch freaking dark.  There was a Razorback football game a few miles up the road and everyone had to drive by the show on the way.  I thought that would be GREAT for business.  But, they came to waste a little time before the game.  Not to shop.  They had to save their money for their $25 Popcorn and Coke at the game.  Also, most of them just did not "get" the vintage thing even though the word VINTAGE was clearly part of the show's name.  I got a few "yard sale stink faces" at my stuff.  I did have a good amount of people that came in all smiles and LOVED it all. Memories, mentions of Mom and Grandma - the stuff that makes me love doing what I do.  They got it, they loved it.  They bought something.  That was good.

Rent was $150 and I sold about $200.  Not worth the time by far.  Oh the things I could have done with those two days instead of sitting there.  On Saturday, I got so bored that I listed things on ebay, Etsy and Instagram.  Nearly everyone around me was doing the same thing.  I brought a stack of magazines, read them and passed them on.  I saw those magazines made the rounds to ALL the booths.  "Would you like a magazine?  "OH YES! THANK GOD."  Sheer boredom.

So, lesson learned.  Stick with what I love and what I know is the BEST SHOW EVER - my JUNK RANCH.  (Love you Amy.)  I am done with shows so I am a free woman now.  Bring on the turkeys, bring on the Santa's!  You would think I would be sick to death of Christmas, but I am DYING to see my pretties. I have sold so much this year - I forget that I own the best stuff.  HOARDER and proud of it! 


  1. How does that happen?!? How can you have such a delicious looking booth filled with such vintage goodness and not sell out? CLEARLY your peeps didn't hear about this show. I'm so disappointed for you!

    I agree about not saying - "we could make those!". People are just thoughtless and butt ass ignorant. If they've never done a show and all the bazillion things that go along with it from display conception to getting change to not forgetting your square thingy to bringing the inventory for the expected demographic to bringing hand sanitizer to sending in your application on time and on and on and on then they won't get that their stupid comment can make your blood boil or deflate you.

    But like I tell myself all the time - I AM COMBAT TRAINED. I've done hundreds of shows and I used to get pissed when I heard that. Now I use comedy or kill them with kindness and most of the time they'll open their wallets. And then some days I just want to say, well then f#ck off and make it your damn self then. It just depends on how sassy I'm feeling.

    Sometimes it's my crowd and sometimes it's not. Even if the show was good last year, this year it may be a dud. You just never know. I took a break from shows two-three years ago and started hunting vintage on the weekends instead. I've started doing shows again and have done a few small shows this year. Man, it's not like it used to be - it seems like people are not spending as they once did. Who knows what it could be but most of the time I chalk it up to people having more places to shop (online) and/or poor show promoter marketing.

    Just remember Boo - you has the goods! Now they get to go neep neep until next year or go in your booth or on display at home?

    1. You are so right about all the things you have to remember to hunt and gather and get staples for the big gun and the right tablecloths and just so many crates and blah, blah, blah. It was a dark gray building like a car garage when I got there then boom it’s a store. So lots of thought by lots of people. This was poor promotion - they had a billboard on the interstate but I know when I’m on the interstate I have a death grip on the wheel and my eyes are glued to the road rage drivers around me. I’m not looking at billboards. They did very little social media which is really the best way to reach people nowadays.

      I ‘d love to see some photos of your setup at shows someday. You sound like you are a PRO!

      I pulled some stuff out for my booth (Vintage Christmas isn’t a big seller with the college crowd), donated some stuff that’s been kicking around too long and boxed up the rest for next year. It’s hard to find, so I have to keep and add to it.

      Always appreciate your comments, Boo. 😉

  2. We have discussed what a crapsoot shows are. Sorry this one was a dud. Your booth is amazeballs. When people would comment on making their own windchimes, I would wish them luck and ask to see a finished product.

    1. People just don’t think. But for every one that says something like that, many more ooh and aah and wonder how you find it all or make it all. On to the next show!!!

  3. Your booth looked great and you had GREAT stuff! Silly people didn't know real gems when they saw it.

  4. Anonymous11:54 AM

    What a loser crowd. I see something wonderful in every picture and wish I could have been there. Happy Holidays to you Shara, enjoy your private collection. Vintage love from Phoenix, Az. Fran

  5. It is always a gamble with a new show. Bummer this one did not pan out. I did a local show once that was my WORST ever. So bad. Poorly advertised and few crowds. I was asked to do it again this year....I could not say NO THANK YOU fast enough.

  6. Ha! Elmers Glue hint should be good enough for those skilled crafters to be well on their way. Nut jobs. I also love the folks who come and look at your prices so that they know how much Grandmas is worth. And ballsy about it too. Ah well you have to try a few shows so you don't have to do them, or worry you should do them. I've changed my holiday shows around a lot this year. I'm not doing one because I've never been so cold in my life...forget that nonsense!! You're good. You know your stuff.

  7. Just stick to Junk Ranch! I love your stuff!!

  8. I am shocked beyond words at all the things that didn't sell. I've done 2 shows so far this year and one was just ok, and one was a dud. I have one tomorrow and 2 more coming up. I'm feeling discouraged so we'll see how tomorrow goes.


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