Retro to today transformation and pricing dilemma

I picked this table up for a steal.

I wasn’t really sure I was going to get it.

It just looked……ugly.

The lady in the thrift store I frequent was confident I could give it a new life.

Want to see what cute knobs and CeCe’s paint can do?

What do you think?

The drawers are deep and this could be used for a flat screen or I picture it in a little girls bedroom.

I pick up knobs on Anthropologie online when they go on clearance. These were $1.25 each.

They add a nice little pop, don’t they?

Now….here is my issue.

This piece is still sitting in my “booth” unsold. It has been there for over three weeks.

It is there because of pricing.

I am trying to “feel” my way out at Inlet Queens where I carry some of my pieces.

Want to know what is happening?

I am getting less for my product there than I did on Craigslist.

There are 50 vendors.

Many talented vendors with painted furniture and many who are priced way less than me.

Way less……


I have to figure this out.

Is it worth it, due to the amount of traffic, to price lower and sell more, or is it better to list higher and sell only on Craigslist?

Personally, I feel some of these talented vendors are under pricing their items. It is why their pieces sell almost the minute it comes in. I am also seeing the “mistake” that I have talked about in my “flipping furniture” series. Many of them price their pieces according to what they paid for them.

I hear the comment, I am pricing this at “$” because I only paid “$2.00”. Well, that hurts them later when they try to sell another similar item for more because they paid more.

I just wanted you to know that selling in a “booth” is not dilemma free.

You have to make sure that what you are selling justifies the expense to be there.

Right now….I’m not so sure.

The traffic there is unreal, so I may need to look at items that I can sell cheaply and can create a healthy cash flow.

So…the good with the bad. I don’t pretend it’s all roses.

Have any thoughts?

I know I have had to reel you guys back in after being gone so long.

I would love to read your input.

Have you experienced selling in a booth?


Anyone there?

You do know I’m back from Europe don’t you?

: )

Talk to me people!



18 thoughts on “Retro to today transformation and pricing dilemma

  • July 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    i,ve often thought the same as you.The prices are too low on pieces that have been reworked and are originale,one of a kind.

  • July 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    1st…… This is ADORABLE!!

    I believe that if your making more selling on craigs list then i’d keep it there. I am assuming there is a booth fee at the market. So it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay to be there and sell your items for less.

    If it’s exposure you’re looking for, you may be correct in offering lower priced items only with the intent of marketing your craigs list items or your blog via those items?

  • July 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I think the color of those knobs could be hurting you with this piece. While I love the color myself, I think a more neutral color might make it move quicker. I would paint the green knobs either black or chocolate brown and I bet you will see this piece gone in no time!

  • July 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    There’s my end of the bed bench again! Love!!! I’m no where close enough, but out of curiosity, how much are you trying to get out of it? My Craigslist never has repainted/repurposed furniture and you’re definitely an inspiration for me! I’d love to get a business going, but don’t really know where to start… Do you have an email address?? Man I’m a babbler!!!

  • July 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I think it’s a conundrum for all of us that do this for a living. If you were definitely getting more for your items via Craigslist, then I’d go back to that. And think of all the expense you save – no booth rent, no transporting of goods… The fact is, most people do undersell their stuff. Its something I’ve struggled with. I know what I paid for it. I know what I have into it in labor and materials. My husband keeps telling me, “You are NOT doing this for FREE!” Still, I worry that the items won’t sell because they’re too expensive. Fact is, what we’re doing and trying to sell is NEW. Most people scoop things up at auctions, etc and then just clean it up a bit and put it in their store/booth. We’re taking something old and making it NEW. And at a much higher quality than what people can find and ARE APYING FOR from furniture stores today. Keep doing what you’re doing and DON’T undersell yourself! If you decide that Craigslist is working better for you and you decide not to continue with a booth, it means nothing. It only means that that particular idea didn’t work. Whatever you do… Don’t undersell yourself! You’re talented and have a great eye!

  • July 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’ll be making a stop @ inlet queens, LOVE THIS PIECE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • July 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I love the piece and agree with most that have commented before me so the only thing I will add is:

    Don’t sell yourself short! Decide what is best for you. Maybe one or the other or both. A piece like above, if you can get more on Craigslist then that’s where I would put it. If you have things that will sell at the booth, put them there. Or give a certain amount of time, if it doesn’t move, list it on CL. Give yourself a certain amount of time and track your sales and time and amount sold for and review it at the end of that time and decide where you get what you deserve.
    Good luck!!

  • July 8, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I knew it was going to be cute, but really, that is super cute!!! You do amazing work!!!

    I’m in a different line of work but I think we all struggle with the same things. I co-own a theater, a youth theater for teens, and while we do amazing shows (and we truly do) youth theater doesn’t have a great name going for it. So, when it comes to ticket pricing we have to strike that balance of charging enough to make some profit and yet low enough to encourage people to come out and see our shows and give our kiddos an audience!:) Btw, I use the term “work” loosely as I don’t get paid!! lol!!!

    I agree with all of the advice given already. My 2 cents is to decide on your goals and see which one fits the best. Or maybe they both do? If you think the exposure of the booth might lead to something down the road, then it would be worth lowering prices and moving more product. (But I do understand your reluctance and shame on the other ladies for under pricing as it forces the market price down.) But, if you think selling privately through Craigslist suits your goals, then the booth might be frustrating. But, possibly, both is the way to go as you get the exposure you might want and the higher profits from Craigslist.

    Another idea would be to do a reselling class, charge some good dollars, and schooling the ladies at Inlet Queens!! I bet they would be thrilled to know they could make more!! 🙂

  • July 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My partner and I have this discussion frequently… It is beautiful. Be patient & give it a little more time. IMHO, passive selling does have it’s advantages (a plug for keeping your booth). We are in 4 (soon to be 5) booths; most different demographically. We will move an item if it does not sell in time. We will also start an item “high” (not insult pricing, but a fair price for the materials, effort & labor involved) and then reduce the price in small increments if it does not sell.

  • July 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I know exactly how you feel! I’ve sold reworked furniture on Craigslist for more money than i get in both my booths. I am in the #1 antique mall in Illinois, and yet I feel their pricing is just above thrift store. Our store is out far south of Chicago, so is that the issue? Ive heard many times that all the dealers from the “north” side come by and buy all our product to sell in there stores since they can command higher pricing. I have two pieces in my booth that I don’t feel I want to lower the price, 1 a buffet I paid 85 for, and am selling for 250, dealers are telling too high and your’ll never get the price for the “hours” put in. So then why am I giving it away free?

    I have two booths, 1 a 9×10 and just took another 10×15, I will be giving up the smaller one in a few months. I will keep the larger booth because now that I am retired it is a creative outlet for me.

    But I struggle with “is this worth it” thing all the time. Thanks for a great article, and sharing.

  • July 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I have just recently started redoing furniture myself and will be opening a booth soon with a couple of friends. So, I cannot comment on the booth yet. Do you mind me asking what kind of price you put on this piece? Price would be a big factor for me if I were buying. (Having done several pieces now myself I know what kind of work goes into a “renewed” item. Someone who has never done this may not get it.) I have to admit, although I like the piece itself, the green knobs do not attract me. They make the piece a little to busy for my taste with the decorative green knobs and the decorative drawer panels. Just a personal thought ~ maybe the knobs could be kept for another piece that needs a bit more decor and the drawer panels could be the focus ~ like I said, just a thought. Love that little red piece you did. I went out and got the paint matched. The color is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

    A quick question if you will ~ how do you like working with CeCe’s paint in comparison to Annie Sloan’s chalk paint (if you use it)?

  • July 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    This is great advice. I have been toying with the idea of getting a booth, but I would be one of those people who would want to price low…which is why I haven’t signed up for one–I wouldn’t be able to make enough to cover the rent! I hadn’t really ever considered the other caveat of getting myself “stuck” with low pricing. Thanks for sharing. And, I think it looks great.

  • July 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I was an antique dealer for over 15 years and I did have two booths but I also sold through auctions, privately and I hunted for items for private clients and stores. At the end of my time as a dealer I found that the market was flooded with people that really didn’t know the business and thought they could do it anyway.

    Maybe this is the case right now. Too many dealers chasing a small market in your area and they are keeping their prices low hoping they can raise them latter.

    Personally I think that you should use your booth to market your “brand” have your name or logo on everything and continue to sell on Craigs List. If you really want to make this a successful business for yourself you need to look at a lot more options of where to sell.

    If you would like to discuss any of this with me I am on Wizpert.

    All the best, Ingrid

  • July 18, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I think the lady above is someone to listen to. I was a interior designer for over 20 years. Then I thought I would take my talent and do several booths. I bought and re finished and painted furniture. The money is in the smalls. Sell on Craig’s, and sell in the booth. But have things you do not spend time redoing also. Buy cheap. I do think the knobs are keeping the sale from happening fast. And last but not least. Take your stuff on the road. Go to places that someone else has advertised for. Market your logo as the person above said. I gave up booths and opened up my own place in a warehouse. Much better sales.

    Best of luck and love this blog. Judy. The Estate Warehouse Arlington Texas

  • October 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I love the piece but have to agree with others that the color of the knobs are a deterrant. Maybe something a little less ornate and bright – not said in a critical manner, just an observation. I also think that you might want to keep smaller pieces in Inlet Queens – I have been there and find that there are not too many large pieces there – I have bought a couple of unfinished pieces there though and redid them for myself. I think that if you kept your less expensive pieces there they would sell faster because – the prices are, for the most part kept fairly low by the higher percentage of vendors. If you are getting better prices on Craigslist – you certainly don’t want to give up your “honeypot” where you can actually see profits. Did you know that there is a FB page for Horry County to place your furniture for sale – there are a few people who post there that refinish and paint furniture. It’s an interesting site to look at if nothing else. Good luck on your decision – whatever you decide will be the best for you.


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