Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Review: Vintage Market Days of Mississippi

This past weekend my husband, our daughter and I had a booth at Vintage Market Days (VMD) in Brandon, MS, near Jackson.  This was our first ever VMD event.  I had applied to the one in southeast Louisiana but was wait listed due to my category being full.

VMD is a franchise based promoter that has been doing shows around 5 years.  They started off in middle America, Oklahoma I think.  Promoters buy a franchise or a given area to run a bi-annual show, spring and fall.

The show is Friday-Sunday.  Friday and Saturday hours run 10-5 with Sunday running 10-4.  The venue is some sort of equestrian and cattle facility.  Don't let that fact scare you off.  There was absolutely no animal smell of any kind nor were any cow (or horse) pies found on the grounds.  We were all under cover in this arena style venue.  There were two buildings used for booths and they were connected so if rain is an issue you can remain under cover to get from one building to the next.

In our building we have some live music played by one or two musicians at a time.  Three different sets of musicians in all.  It was more like background music than entertainment that was there to draw a crowd.  Their stage took up a minor part of the venue.

We drove up on Thursday morning for a 2 PM check in and set up at the venue.  All sellers were scheduled to prevent mayhem.  I don't know how the morning was but when we arrived, we were early (about 1:00 PM) and were  just going to walk around and scope things out.  However there was no line at all for check in's.  We were offered the opportunity to go with the promoter to find our booth and begin set up. Yay!  Early check in!

We were able to drive our vehicle right up to our booth (10x10) and begin setting up.  It was an uneventful set up, but different for us because we had more of my chalk painted goods and about 1/2 the normal coaster sets I bring.  We are in a transition in our booth.  We are slowly redoing it to give it a fresh look and to change with what we are not offering.

When we got through we drove to the hotel and got checked in.  The promoter had arranged a special rate at the nearest La Quinta which is about 1.5 miles from the venue.  It seemed clean, offered free breakfast with some hot items, all self service with an employee working the breakfast area each morning.

After getting settled in with our stuff we headed out to find some dinner.  We had had a pretty big lunch at Cracker Barrel on the way up since we had time.  We opted for something lighter.  Chick fil a was in the area so we went there.  John and I had the southwest salad ... first time we had it and we loved it.  Will have that again.  Dd got a sandwich combo.

We rested well that night and were ready to go the next morning.  I had a few things that needed pricing.  I don't know how that escaped me when setting up but it did.  I had time though because we got there about an hour before the show opened.  We always have a tweak or two in the morning.

People were lined up out front to enter at opening.  There were plenty of people looking on Friday, not as many buyers.  :(  We sold a little but like most areas, many people work on Friday and not every one is at a point to buy extras like what is found at shows.  I would say that Friday was a little less than typical for us on Friday.  We were told though, by one of the ladies assisting the promoter pretty much to "Be ready!  Saturday will be a killer."   {ahem, clears throat}  Every show is different, every locale is different.  What happens at one VMD does not always translate to all the others.

Saturday we were all geared up for a gang buster day.  In reality, not so much.  We had our worst Saturday on record.  Don't get me wrong, we had sales.  However we went the longest of any Saturday before even having our first sale of the day ... hours!  Talk about frustrated, angry, disappointed, and confused!!!  I was in a bad state of mind by the end of the day, to say the least.

We did not know what to expect about Sunday.  Sundays are usually a slow day, reminiscent of Friday.  Sunday morning had more foot traffic than most Sundays I remember.  Many people are sleeping in, going to church, running errands ... just life.  We were pleasantly surprised at the early foot traffic.  The people kept rolling in, not in thick heavy crowds but very steady streams of families and couples.  I believe we ended up having our best Sunday ever.

Food was offered for sale in the form of food trucks.  I believe there were four in all, each offering something different.  They generally were unhappy with their location.  They were in the second building, the one we were in.  They were at the opposite end of where customers came into our building.  They were very visible when people came in so it was not a problem for customers to find them.

We were very disappointed to find as much buy/sell there as we did.  There was a guy selling some things that looked like window casings from church that had the glass popped out an metal decoration put in.  He said his wife designed it and they had someone make it.  I was suspicious of that but didn't want to automatically jump to judgment.  In walking around that weekend, dh found 2 other booths selling the EXACT same thing.  I wanted to feign shock and go tell the guy "Someone stole your wife's design, her intellectual property!!!  Oh no!"  Of course I didn't.  This was not the only b/s we saw there, it abounded.

As much as I dislike doing shows with it so prolific, this helped me become more resolute in something.  I am more determined to raise my skills in what I do and have a better than ever booth.  Instead of concentrating on what others are not doing -- as far as having buy/sell and being deliberate cheaters -- I am going to concentrate on myself and make my art/craft better.  It will be a struggle as I make this turn but I'll be much better off in the long run.

Tear down began at 4:00 PM.  It was a routine tear down that was uneventful.  When dh needed a hand with our Astroturf floor covering he got a helping hand from one of our neighbor's husband.  Break down took about 1.5 hours, as usual.  We found an Arby's for supper before heading home.  We had rain, sometimes very heavy, all the way home.

I almost forgot that we were given a phone number to call if we needed help or someone to watch our booth for a short break.  There was a hospitality room and bathroom just for the sellers.  However it was difficult to get to.  They offered bottled water that was on ice in ice chests, and individually wrapped snacks such as protein bars and granola bars.  Friday evening there was a dinner (buffet) for all the sellers.  It was well attended and a good meal ... fried chicken tenders, red beans and rice, mac and cheese, and plenty of other stuff that I cannot remember.  Everyone went away well filled.  There was no program or awards but were all thanked for being there that weekend.  I was kind of relieved there was no program so we didn't have to stay longer than we wanted to.

Will I do it again?  Not sure, still in the decision phase.  If a show does 2 shows a year I usually like to do both before making a final decision.  However for the Mississippi show I have something scheduled already.  I may try the one in Amite, LA which is closer to home.  I am not posting this review to Facebook in the event that I want to apply again.  I posted a report on my personal blog but it was a "cleaned up" version.

For those who could still have any curiosity in VMD, just click here.

Views: 1946

Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 8, 2017 at 10:09am

Terrific review, Cindy, I enjoyed reading about this show and your reaction to it, especially your resolve to "raise your skills" and make your own art better...I love that this is what you took away from this show and it inspires me, as well, thanks so much.

Comment by Cindy Welch on April 11, 2017 at 9:18am

Christina, the $$ was not there, it was not being spent in big quantities.  When that happens it forces me to figure out what I can take away from the situation.  Reaction to my booth and products is consistently positive.  So I don't think that is the issue.  Gotta go with being a better maker and booth designer.  :D

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on April 14, 2017 at 11:11am

I really enjoyed your review, Cindy, including the mention of eating establishments.  Thanks for the time it took to do this.  I made a decision similar to yours a few years back, trying to boost the quality of my jewelry and changing my booth design.  It has been paying off, slowly but surely as I try different shows, adding to the "really good results" list and letting go of the mediocre.  It's been interesting to see how my expectations of "results" has changed over the last few years as well!  Good luck with your endeavors. 

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on April 14, 2017 at 11:12am

Sorry, I must have clicked "add comment" twice.

Comment by Cindy Welch on April 14, 2017 at 12:03pm

Quite alright Kathleen.  Our booth has been a work in progress since we started and is much improved over our initial look.  We want to take it up a notch to make it feel warmer (in the look, not the temperature) and more like a warm, friendly, relaxed boutique.

Comment by Joel Lockridge on April 16, 2017 at 6:37pm

I was hoping someone would review this show. They sent me no less than a dozen emails wanting me to apply. I looked into it a bit, and no matter what questions I asked the show, the answers just weren't forthcoming. I suspected it would be a bust for my kind of work and skipped it.

Comment by Cindy Welch on April 16, 2017 at 8:01pm

Wow, Joel.  Talk about being heavy handed in the invites.  Speaks of desperation to me.  Was it one particular location that was seeking you out or the main office in Oklahoma?

Comment by Joel Lockridge on April 16, 2017 at 9:44pm

It was for the show in MS. That alone throws a red flag -- nobody wants ME that bad, LOL.

Comment by Connie Mettler on April 28, 2017 at 3:25pm

People were lined up out front to enter at opening ... especially on a Friday ...then you expect BUYERS. Sorry to hear that didn't happen, Cindy. Sounds like you had plenty of time to think/rethink what you are bringing to the show and time to see the other offerings. Are you thinking of making more expensive work? repackaging what you have? trying for more exclusive events where you won't run into the b/s? 

Thanks for all the information on this event and organization. Not everyone here is doing the top shows. People are participating in event from flea markets to farmers markets and also shows with $1000+ booth fees. There is room for all and we all learn from one another. We really appreciate hearing from all levels of events. May the $$$ be with you for the next one.

Comment by Cindy Welch on April 28, 2017 at 6:32pm

Thanks, Connie. One thing I know I will NOT do is to stoop to selling buy/sell. The only thing I had that my hands did not alter or completely remake was a couple of coaster holders. To me, this is equivalent to a photographer or artist buying, but not building, frames for their art.

I have found out in the last week that this event, going on in several states, is put on by Country Living. It helped me better understand the allowance of buy/sell, though the contract forbid more than 10%. I would figure that someone copied someone else's contract and never gave the buy/sell ratio a second thought or even what it would entail in jurying before and during the event.

Other than that (about the buy/sell), I am undecided about what to do with my work. My work ranges from $7.00 for coasters to $60+ for a large vase. I still have to be able to transport what I bring and we are still just using our Suburban. Large pieces like dressers, tables, etc. require time to upcycle and a place to store it till the shows come around again. Also they require a trailer for transport and I am not sure dh is willing for that yet. I understand he is skeptical about the economy. I still am too but hopefully by year's end will see a definite upswing.

The top shows seem to be too far away or at the wrong time of year for me to travel to at this point. {We still have a brick and mortar to run unrelated to craft business.} I know my products are excellent for what I offer. They are not fine art, I get that, but they are great quality crafts, not the cheap kind you find at some very low end craft shows such as at schools and churches. I think there is still a mentality that if the show name has "craft" in it, then the goods that are sold there should be sold cheaply, which is disappointing in my viewpoint. I am bolstered by the comments that my work and my booth are both beautiful. One lady who came in my booth was quite honest and said she appreciated the order and how things were arranged. She said she had a hard time focusing in booths where things were not so orderly.

I still have a lot to think about and will update on what I decide about what new products I'll bring.


You need to be a member of Art Fair Insiders to add comments!

Join Art Fair Insiders

Want to sell more online? Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Top 10 Reviewers on for January and February

© 2019   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service