A walk down Lucketts lane

Marian Parsonsbuying & selling antiques, my business story, Running a Business37 Comments

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)

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

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.

Letting Go

Lucketts Day 1

Lucketts Day 2

A Little More on Lucketts

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.

Fear & Comfort

Moving into a Booth

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 Recap & Peeps

Selling my dining set & what will make me cry

 

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!!

T’was the Night Before Lucketts

Lucketts 2012 Recap

Overwhelmed

 

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!”

Packing Day 

Day One Recap

Day Two Recap

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.

Shopping Guide 2014

2014 Recap Part 1

2014 Recap Part 2

 

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.

Shopping Guide 2015

Lucketts Eve 2015

Day one & what’s left

Recap Part 1

Recap Part 2

Market Video

 

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.

Shopping Guide & T’was The Night Before Lucketts poem

Recap Part 1

Recap Part 2

Recap Part 3

 

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.

Set-up

Lucketts Guide 2017

Lucketts Recap Part 1

Lucketts Recap Part 2

Lucketts Recap Part 3

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”…

Show Business | Part 1

Show Business | Part 2 | Tagging & Setting Up

Show Business | Part 3

Show Business | Buying To Sell

Show Business | Getting Ready for a Fair

Styling Tips | For Retail

 

If you’re anywhere near Berryville, VA, the Lucketts Spring Market is happening May 18-20, 2018.  You can visit THEIR WEBSITE for details.

A walk down Lucketts lane

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37 Comments on “A walk down Lucketts lane”

  1. Be thankful you are not going this year! It has rained for a solid week (Frederick flooded) and everything is a sloppy, wet, muddy mess!

  2. My son is getting married at Zion Springs! Such a beautiful place. Did you know they built a wedding barn? It must have been there when you stayed. I will miss you at Lucketts!

    1. They were using the barn rooms for the first time the weekend we were there for Lucketts. Bedspreads were arriving and they were putting up shower curtains. Barn was beautiful

  3. It has been pouring rain in the DC area for days and doesn’t appear to end soon. A lot of flooding and accidents.

  4. Ugh, yes, it is raining again this year! Rain all day today, 90% chance of rain and afternoon thunderstorms tomorrow. Sunday is cloudy with just a 20% chance of rain, so we will be heading to Luckett’s that day. Will miss your booth dreadfully!

  5. For the past four years, I have been going to the Lucketts Spring Market just to see you and pick up some ironstone. I remember the year So many cars were getting stuck in the mud. It seems like the worst weekend to have the market.

    This year, I am not going because of other plans. I won’t miss the mud and rain. However, I do miss all of the posts you would share leading up to the event and generating so much excitement. You always had wonderful little finds from your honey holes, beautiful furniture and displays. Last year, I snagged that blue step stool. I use it all the time in my home and it’s a treasured favorite of mine. I drive a little VW Beetle Convertible. When I carried it back to my car, two guys were talking and said “she will never get it in that car.” I put down the top and stuck it in the car, then put the top back up. After I locked the door, I turned and smiled at the guys. They just smiled back and shook their heads. Never under estimate a woman shopping at Lucketts! LOL

    I have wonderful memories of Mother/Daughter trip to Lucketts, snagging pieces of the ironstone for you, and unique little items. I will miss your beautiful booth and beautiful items.

  6. You’ve been on my mind as this weekend approached. My dear mother in law and I have been making Luckett’s the centerpiece of our annual girls” trip for the last few years. We certainly enjoyed meeting you and seeing your gorgeous space over the last few years. We had stayed at Zion Springs in 2016. Sadly, we decided to cancel our trip due to the weather. We always went to Chartruese and Sweet Clover and hit up as many estate sales as possible on our way. Last year that meant Luckett’s, the two barn sales, countless thrift shops and at least nine estate sales! Last year we had to have my husband drive up from Charlottesville to pick up things we couldn’t cram into the van. So I’m feeling nostalgic and missing our time together as well. You will know when the time is right to do another show, until then just keep doing the things that are feeding your soul!

  7. I’m going to say what we’re all thinking! Whoooo-weeee! Your Dad has SOME legs! LOL!!!!

  8. I saw you every single year at Lucketts, there is even a picture of me standing in line the last year at Lucketts above. But last year, I think was my favorite year. I was #3 in line on VIP day, and I walked straight to your booth, I was the first person in your booth/barn. Both of your sons greeted me, they were so sweet. I didn’t get to talk to you, there was a mob around you, by the time I had my arms full, I went for specific things. I look around my house and little log cabin and I see Miss Mustard Seed collectibles everywhere. I’m not sure if I will get there this weekend, I will be disappointed not to see you….One of your Lavender topiaries is still going strong and sending out buds. But yours is the first blog I read every morning, and I look forward to seeing what you are doing. Hugs from the East Coast, we miss you!

  9. LOVE that blonde hair!! Is THAT your natural color?? Gorgeous. And like everyone else I miss the prep and had hoped to go this year now that I am retired but the rain!

    1. Yes. The blonde in the first picture is my natural color and I’m trying to get back to it now. 🙂

  10. I so understand Marian~ You first Oronoco Show ( “Gold Ruth Days”) happened just after I moved to Colorado :(. It’s hard to let go of those things we loved doing but exciting to see what’s beyond our vision! I think your creativity has soared and you are reaping the benefits of many years of dedication to what you love!
    Stay well,
    Cynthia

  11. Last year, my husband and I planned a vacation around Lucketts. I was so excited to see your tent–bought a sweet crazed tea canister that I use every day. When I got home to Western New York and read your blog, I was actually in one of the pictures. This year, we again planned a Spring vacation to Virginia that included Lucketts. Just got to our hotel in Altoona on the way home. It is a rainy mud hole this year–still fun, still found some great treasures, but not quite the same without you, and seeing all the pieces from the blog in person.

    My son and his family live in Minneapolis, so maybe we will be planning a Junk Bonanza visit in the future–I hope so!

  12. Just drove 3 hours home from Lucketts. It was so muddy. In places they had straw but none the less muddy. It was misty while I was there but poured all the way home. I was looking for white ironstone. I didn’t find any to add to my collection.

  13. So glad my niece and I got to meet you at Luckett’s 2017. I love my marmalade jar and have scored 2 more since. We loved our road trip and all our treasures. Our team was so friendly and it was a wonderful time.

  14. Since I recently found you I had no idea about your journey.
    You are intrepid..an entrepreneur and talented,creative and have great taste.I could just keep adding so many qualities Marian:)
    So impressed.
    Monique

  15. You have put together a wonderful recap of how you’ve grown over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if this post finds new life in other forms, it’s so rich with insights. Thank you for spending the time it took to put it together.

    You have earned a break from Big, physically demanding sales like Luckett’s. The participation of your boys was a touching turning point. I wonder if there’s a way to do something on a smaller scale that the boys could be more involved in? They obviously love being included in your business adventures. I’ll bet it was a wonderful education for them. Who knows, MMS might even become a multi-generational business!

    I’m proud of you for your success over the years and all of the hard work you have put in to earn it. You are an inspiration!

  16. Thanks Marian for these recaps, know it was tiring but, so fun to meet people. I have enjoyed the last year of seeing you get ready and know you will miss all those friends you have made.

  17. Hi Miriam, loved this posting. I was wondering about the apron you wear. Did you make it and where I could get that pattern. It does a lot of coverage. Thanks , Louise

  18. Marian, I am so happy for you and everything you have done this past year. This post actually made me tear up a little. I saw you at Lucketts years ago before I knew who you were, and tomorrow when we visit I will miss seeing you and your crew there. Thank you for all of the inspiration you have provided throughout the years (and continue to – right now I am learning to upholster through your tutorials. I kind of have to since I can’t buy from you anymore!!).

  19. Marian, what a post you gave us with your trips down Memory Lane at Lucketts! Yes, you will miss it but, in time, you will get involved in something in Minnesota! Minnesota will be great for us Canadians who are just across the border!

    You did such a wonderful job at Lucketts! It was so much work for you but oh how much those who could attend enjoyed it! This really gave you joy in your heart and worth all the hard work you put into everything. I always wished that I could get there but it was just a little too far for us!

    In the meantime, just enjoy a bit of a rest and continue working on all those personal touches you are adding to your beautiful home! Blessings!

  20. I thought of you when we walked into the barn on Friday morning where you were set up last year. It wasn’t the same without you. I bought a table from you last year.

  21. What a fun recap! I love seeing the development of your style and brand over the years through your displays at the Luckett’s show. I’m glad I’m not the only one who considers doing a show ‘torture’ – there is nothing quite like the fun and the excitement of selling in person and meeting your ‘tribe’, but the preparation and physical work is overwhelming! It does sure scratch a creative itch, though, as setting up displays is one of my favorite things to do, too! So glad you’re in the Midwest now – once you decide to sell at a show again, I’ll gladly road trip to Minnesota – just say the word!

  22. Marian, I loved reading this post! So great to go back and see your “road to success” in one blog. I had forgotten some of the issues that you had faced at Luckett’s, but you always remain positive 😉

  23. Marian, I met you at last year’s Luckett’s Market (my first year there) and it was a real pleasure! I went back this year with my son, daughter-in-love and their youngest son (11 months – still nursing). It was wonderful, but of course, as you know, it RAINED! We went to Target and bought rubber boots for Saturday and shopped through the mud and all! Really missed you being there.

  24. What a great trip down memory lane! 2011 was the first year I went when my photographer friend Jody (for whom you painted the Union Jack dresser) introduced me to you. One look at your stuff and your ironstone and I was hooked. I started following your blog religiously. Every year after that I got more and more excited to see you at Lucketts. Like I had an “in” with a celebrity! You wowed us every year. We missed you so much this year at Lucketts. It was another rain-disaster. They had about 5 or 6 vendors in the one barn you had last year. It just wasn’t the same without Miss Mustard Seed and the extended Mustard Seed family.
    Caroline English

    1. Yep, I remember all of that! 🙂 I saw the muddy, rainy pictures and, while I missed all of the people and buying for the event, I did not miss lugging all of the furniture and the RAIN!

  25. I was so disappointed I couldn’t make it last year to Lucketts Spring Fair, I was out of town, but enjoyed seeing it through your posts. I did manage to make it this year, and thought about you when I went into the Show Barn. Wow -she must have had a lot of stuff!
    Don’t know if you heard, but it rained everyday the week before, and both Friday & Saturday….parking was a mess!
    Anyhow, we missed ya!

  26. This was such a fun walk down memory lane! I enjoyed seeing the photos from year to year and see how big your business grew.

  27. I enjoyed reading about your Lockett’s Business Adventures. I have never been to one of the fairs where you were at, but my sister went to Lockett’s when you were there and she raves about your merchandise.
    Reading your post on Lucketts sounded like you have another book you may be working on- and not just about Luckett’s , but a book about the art side of business or selling at Fairs and how to go about it, or something of that nature.

  28. I just found your blog, what a lovely treasure. I just started out blogging and have a long ways to go but I enjoyed reading this post. I grew up in Leesburg and attended ballet classes at the Lucketts community center right next to the Lucketts store many years ago. Their use to be a girl that lived in the building that is now the store and would stand in the second story window. Her spirit still lives there. Not sure if any of the shop owners ever told you about her. When I revisited last year, I could feel her in the upstairs bedroom facing the community center. What a neat space and to see how it’s evolved over the years even neater.

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