This weekend is the Lucketts Spring Market and it’s the first time since 2010 that I am not there. Lucketts has been such a huge part of my business since the beginning, but it’s now over 1,000 miles away. It’s hard not being there, but I’ll admit that it’s nice to have a break from all of that physically taxing work and stress!
I know that many who read my blog love watching the furniture makeovers and frenzy as we prepared for this event each year, so I thought I would share one big walk down memory lane, starting with my very first Lucketts event.
Old Lucketts Fair 2009 (August, shared 10 x 10 space)
This actually wasn’t the Lucketts Spring Market, but the Old Lucketts Fair, which is a craft event with some antique dealers held on the grounds of the old Lucketts Schoolhouse, across the street from the Lucketts Store. I was selling out of a small consignment shop in Gettysburg and I knew that market wasn’t where I belonged. I had gone to the Old Lucketts Fair as a shopper, so I knew it was a well-shopped event and worth a try.
Along with the woman who owned the consignment shop, we rented a 10 x 10 booth. August of 2009 was also the month I started my blog, so sharing about Lucketts was one of my first blog posts.
This First Lucketts Fair kicked off with what became a signature for the market – rain! A huge thunderstorm blew through just as we were setting up, so we sat under the shelter of the Lucketts Store porch and watched our small shade tent get pelted with rain and wind.
The weather ended up clearing for the event and I had modest gross sales of around $1000, which was my goal. I learned a lot, though, about what worked, what didn’t, and what I wanted to do better in the future.
Lucketts 2010 (First Lucketts Spring Market, shared 10 x 10 space)
As soon as the notice arrived in the mail, I promptly signed up for the Lucketts Spring Market. Again, I shared a 10 x 10 space.
This time, my dad and I ran our little tent. The big story of the 2010 market was rain, again!! It poured all day on Saturday and dad and I were miserable and soaked through. He doesn’t look all that miserable, but he was putting on a brave face!
This was the first market, though, where I had people come who had read my blog and wanted to stop in to say hello. Despite the rain, I did well enough that it was worth coming back again and hoping to sunshine.
Old Lucketts Fair 2010 (August, first solo 10 x 10 space)
This was a big year of transition for me. The consignment shop I sold out of was closing and I had no idea what was next. I already had the August event on my calendar, so for the first time, I went on my own. It ended up being a turning point for me.
It was the first year shoppers drove to Lucketts just to buy things they had seen on my blog. I sold so much the first day that I had to raid my house, paint pieces, and make more things when I got home from a long day at the market! Amy from the Lucketts Design House bought half of my booth both days and that started my relationship with the Lucketts Store.
That was also the first year my mom was able to come and help.
Lucketts 2011 (10 x 20 space)
This year, Lucketts moved the Spring Market to the grounds of the Lucketts Store, instead of having it at the old school house. I reserved two spots this year, so I had more space to spread out and more cover in case it rained.
I was one of the first to arrive at set up, and Heather, the manager of the market at the time, led me to a sad space in the middle of a large mud puddle. “Hmmm…. let me get you in a better spot.” She moved me over to a gravel area and that became my corner of the Lucketts Spring Market for the next few years.
This was the year of madness. First, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to bake mini cupcakes with fondant toppers branded with my logo. I stayed up past midnight baking these stupid cupcakes that ended up melting in the sun, anyway. Lesson learned. No bakedgood giveaways!
Also, my mom and I were the only ones manning the booth that year and that was a big mistake! We were still just writing tickets and handling cash out of apron pockets and were not prepared for the rush of people who read my blog and knew they wanted to buy specific things. We ended up selling the same piece to two different people at the exact same time, which ended in disappointment for one.
It was a great event, though, and the first time I was catching onto the idea that I needed to think bigger.
Lucketts 2012 (10 x 20 space)
When the 2012 market rolled around, I was a full-time vendor at the Lucketts Store, so I had to fill my inside space as well as my tents outside. I was also starting to find my signature look and products that would become staples in my booth, like dried lavender bunches and boxwood wreaths.
(I just realized that those two pillows on that chair didn’t sell and they are still in my house!)
This was a solid, but uneventful market. We had additional help and a better plan to handle the busy times. We also had no rain!!
Lucketts 2013 (10 x 20 space)
This was the year that I got a little overambitious and had more stuff than I could possibly set up the morning of the event. I had always packed my wares tightly under my tent and brought it together the morning of. Well, this year, I ran out of time and didn’t get to see my booth completely come together. This was another Lucketts that was plagued by rain, so my new pretty white tents were covered in a huge, ugly, blue tarp.
On the upside, though, this was the first year I had tons of help and a set checkout table, so we were able to serve our customers even better than the previous year!
It was also the first year Jeff’s parents came to watch the boys, so Jeff was able to come. It was fun for him to be able to see and experience it first hand. At the end of the event he said, “You have to do this every year!”
Lucketts 2014 (10 x 30 space)
This year, I was able to grow my space to a 10 x 30 and I added more layers of branding and prettiness with a homemade counter, white pennant banners hanging from the white tents, and a planned layout. I also set up the day before, so it wasn’t a scramble the morning of.
This was the last year before Lucketts added the VIP day and it was nuts. The crowd swelled, parking overflowed, traffic was at a stand-still, and our tent was slammed. It’s the first time our booth was wall-to-wall people, to the point where it was claustrophobic and, even though we had plenty of help, it wasn’t enough.
My crew handled it well, though.
Also, this was the year when Kriste started working for me. She came to mind as someone who would be a good help and she agreed to come work the checkout. Before the event ended, she let me know she was available to work for me more, if I needed any help. That started our three-year-long creative partnership.
Lucketts 2015 (10 x 30 space)
Lucketts was extended to three days in 2015, so it was a whole new ball game! I brought more stuff and packed my booth full. The overflow was such that if it rained, I was toast. There really was no plan B.
This was the first year I was working out of the studio, though, as opposed to my house, so I was able to do a lot more. The VIP day ended up being relaxed and slow, with only 250 shoppers, so it really was a private event. I knew it was nice for the shoppers, but I was missing the rush and energy that comes with the larger crowds.
It didn’t rain until day two and we had already sold enough to get all of the inventory under the tents.
This was my last year in my corner of the gravel lot. The next year, I was moved to one of the rented circus tents.
Lucketts 2016 (Lucketts, VA in a 20 x 40 “circus tent”)
This year was probably the craziest year… Rain all day Saturday, the event closed on Sunday, an ambulance had to drive through the market to take my dad to the hospital (he is fine now, but he was having some heart arrhythmia), etc. All of that aside, this was my favorite year. I loved the display I poured my heart into for five months. I loved the mural backdrops, the color palette, and the vignettes.
I also had an amazing crew that worked like a well-oiled machine.
When the gates opened for VIP day, though, we were expecting a slow trickle of 250 people (like last year), but Lucketts had sold around 800 tickets and we’re pretty sure about 750 of them came straight to my booth. We were mobbed and had a line that was 45 minutes long and wrapped down the length of the aisle. We did our best, but I know it was frustrating for those waiting in the long line.
We sold about 80% of our merchandise in the first five hours of the event, which was a good thing, because it rained Friday night and all day Saturday.
We still had a good amount of hard-core shoppers come, despite the nasty weather. It was a problem, though. Tents leaked, some collapsed, the parking fields flooded, cars got stuck in the mud, and the organizers had to make the tough decision to cancel the Sunday sale.
Lucketts 2017 (Berryville, VA in the huge Show Barn)
After the mess of 2016, it was either time to retire the Spring Market or move it. They decided to move it to the Berryville Fairgrounds where there was room to grow and parking would never be an issue. Their fields had never flooded from rain. The other advantage was many vendors could be under pavilions, so rain would be less of an issue for the vendors.
I was put in the Show Barn, a 5000 square foot pavilion at the center of the fairgrounds.
Knowing I would most likely be moving that summer, it was a perfect way to end my Lucketts Spring Market career. I had amazing help, including my two boys, who were finally old enough to come work. They helped with set-up and were “greeters” on Friday and Saturday. They made quite the sweet little salesmen! It was so nice, after years of telling them “Mom is getting ready for Lucketts” or “Mom is going to be at Lucketts all weekend”, they could finally see what Lucketts was all about.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Marshall asked if we would be going this year and was disappointed when I said no.
I loved my booth this year, too, and my crew. They worked so hard and we sold almost everything we brought.
We also had the chance to stay in a beautiful B&B near Berryville, Zion Springs, which made the entire experience all the more special.
So, will I ever be a vendor at an antique market again? Probably! I needed to take a break, though. I wanted to take time to work on my new house, get settled in a routine, explore my art, focus on designs and writing, and give my back a break! I also need to find my new “honey holes” here, so I have go-to places to hit up as I pre pare for an event.
Between Gold Rush, though, and Junk Bonanza, I have the opportunity to have a booth again, if I want to. And, I’m sure at some point, I’ll be ready to put myself through that torture again.
As you might have noticed, I included links to posts about each year at Lucketts, if you want to check them out. I had a fun time reliving those years and looking through the pictures. It was encouraging to see how much I’ve grown over the years.
If you’re interested in selling at markets, here are some posts I wrote about the process and how I approached “show business”…
If you’re anywhere near Berryville, VA, the Lucketts Spring Market is happening May 18-20, 2018. You can visit THEIR WEBSITE for details.