Hey, guys!
So for the last year or so, our family has worked together to run a little antique booth at a local vintage shop [HERE] called Sailor Antiques in Claremore, OK, and it has been quite the adventure! While I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, there are a few tips and tricks I’ve uncovered along the way, and if you’ve ever thought of renting booth space at your local antique shop, maybe this can help! If you’re a vintage lover like me, my guess is your garage is spilling over with treasures that were too wonderful to pass by…but it’s gotten out of hand, ha! A small booth is a great way to purge the garage AND continue the glorious hunt for vintage treasures that is quite the addiction in and of itself…😉

TIP 1 – DO YOU, MAN…but also do research.

After choosing your booth location/shop, next it’s time to fill up the space with antique finds and goodies! The best part! However, it can be a little overwhelming trying to decide what to buy and then sell or part with from your own stash. For me, I decided to stick with things I love and believed others would love, too! Like I always say over on IG, do you, man! But also…do some research. What’s popular in DIY right now? What vintage trends are showing up on Instagram and in magazines these days? While most of what I sell in my booth is simply what I’d like to (or have!) put in my own home, I also keep an eye out for fun vintage trends, too!


Another tip I’d add in as you round up items for your booth is something I learned the hard way upon starting: the big, medium and small theory. I made the mistake at the first by filling my booth with either mostly big, awesome show-stopper items OR by filling it with only smaller, easier-on-the-budget items. What I’ve since found is that it works best to do probably 50% small items (ex. dishes, books, spindles), 30% medium items (ex. accent tables or chairs chairs, signs, printers tray) and 20% big items (ex. chippy doors, larger furniture pieces).

More often than not, people only leave with a few small items and call it good. Here and there depending on the piece, my medium sized items will find a new home, and then less frequently, the largest items will sell. Of course, the profit is higher on the larger individual items, but since they don’t sell as quickly, I earn most profit on the quicker turnover of “smalls.”

**Extra tip: always have at least one or two medium/big items stored and ready to fill a large hole left by the purchase of one of your booth items! I’m not drawn to emptied booths personally, and I’ve seen the most sales when my booth is full and full o’ options!


Next, it’s time to actually price and set out our items, so where to put them? Personally, I prefer a full booth but not a super cluttered one, and I’m especially drawn to ones that are easy to pass through and in which items are easily accessible. I try to keep an open space in the middle of my area, or if something is featured in the middle (say a fun farm table), then I make sure to keep the area surrounded my center focal piece clean and clear for an easy and enjoyable trip around the booth! Some people don’t mind the clutter, and a little digging is part of the fun of vintage shopping! But I will usually enter booths that are open and airy vs. crowded and crammed any day.

**Extra tip: consider adding inexpensive shelving to the walls of your booth, or, if you aren’t allowed to put nails in the walls, maybe source some NFS (“not for sale”) display pieces that come with shelves. This will help add surface area on which to display your treasures for sale without cluttering up the floor too much!


Even though it’s just a very small booth within a larger antique shop, I like the idea of keeping a mind toward branding to create a cohesive and unique vibe. For instance, my girls earn a little fun money by helping me stamp my logo onto price tags, and I later add the description and investment on the back. My personal brand is obviously Cotton Stem, so I include, you guessed it😉, a few cotton wreaths or stems to further enhance the branding vibes.

Another way to think of branding would be the types of items included in your booth. We can’t be all things to all people, nor can we be expert treasure finders of ALL types of treasure. Do you have an eye for vintage mommin’ related items, like antique high chairs, used children’s books and games or furniture that could be repurposed as kids’ playroom props? Boom! Branding. Are you an expert DIY’er who personally loves repurposing outdated furniture with a coat of chippy chalk paint to give it new life? Branding! How about your penchant for unique dishes, hand-made vintage ceramics and ironstone? Yep, branding. The booth doesn’t have to ONLY be these things, but if we can use the booth’s items and item placement to help customers see the potential uses for these pieces by repurposing them or grouping like items together for a seamless theme, I feel like that equals more sales for my family’s booth!

**Extra tip: add ambiance! Don’t need to spend a fortune, but I know I’m personally way more drawn to booths that are styled instead of cluttered and those where there has obviously been some effort put toward creating a lovely experience while shopping: twinkle lights and lamps, a custom booth name sign above, or even soft music playing in the background from a discreet radio. 😉 Just some ideas!


This is a tip given to me by the awesome owner of Sailor Antiques and Collectables in Claremore, OK (hi, Ms. Brenda!) where my booth is located: simply moving items around every week or so increases sales! The essence of an antique store is stuff, stuff and more stuff, and sometimes the eye can miss the perfect piece on the first or second pass through. Simply shuffling item placement on shelves or on the floor has resulted in an item previously gathering dust being sold like that!!

**Extra tip: consider shuffling not only item placement but item price, as well. If an item hasn’t sold in awhile and you’re ready to move more pieces in and need the space, perhaps discount the item or create a fresh price tag with a lower price. Might catch a new eye or entice a previous looker to finally grab it up for themselves!

Hope this was helpful, pals! Again, not saying I’ve got this gig down pat just yet; I’m learning along the way each month! And if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, head over to Claremore, OK to Sailor Antiques and maybe you’ll find me knee deep in treasures and dust. Perhaps I’ll put ya to work, ha! 😉

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  1. Gwen says:

    Hi Erin! Did you sell the round butcher block table you had? Haven’t seen it in your photos in a while.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Sadly, I had to part w that beaut! I just didn’t have a permanent place for it, and it was taking up so much room in the garage. Sad to see it go, but I loved it while it was mine for a bit! 🙂

  2. Melinda McHugh says:

    Last fall on a trip out to the Grand Canyon, my family came back through Claremore, OK to specifically stop in at your booth. I came out with 5 or 6 things for my husband to give to me for Christmas last year. I so enjoyed shopping your booth. I refer to that as my “Erin” Christmas! Also, the ladies that worked there were so kind and gave us great recommendations for lunch! We enjoyed our brief visit in your town!💕

  3. Janelle says:

    Hey Erin! Quick question, how do you find your items to sell? 😊

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Lots of the pieces are items I’ve used in my home, or I’ll go pickin’ at flea markets or garage sales or on FB Marketplace/Craigslist for items I think people might like!

  4. Alexis says:

    This is adorable and is something I would love to do some day! Thanks for the tips! Quick question: where did you find the brackets for your shelving? Looking for something similar:)

    Love following you on all your platforms! Thanks for always staying true to who you are.

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for tips for booth. Thinking of getting booth for local antique and booths. But l used to be teacher was thinking of school supplies booth.💝

  6. Marms says:

    Looks good!! Those are two cute helpers!!

  7. Kelly Depetro says:

    Hey Erin, I’ve had a booth for 7 months, love it, love it love it. I actually got it to showcase my succulents. I plant them in vintage containers.
    Love your tips. Sales are great this month and it’s 110% here in phoenix.
    Call it new, Call it Antique
    Mesa, az.
    Take care, God bless you and your family.

  8. Chelsey says:

    My Mamma always had a booth and I love going and seeing all her finds! Maybe I will finally take the plunge… when I collect more antiques! How do you find your inventory?

  9. Ashley says:

    I saw this question was already asked, but I thought I’d ask as well! Where do you find your items to sell? Do you collaborate with brands to sell in your booth?

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      So much of what’s in my booth comes from my home! Items I used for a fun decor idea or DIY and furniture pieces I no longer want or need. I’ll also go out hunting to source items I think my shoppers would like, too! I don’t partner with brands for my booth though.

  10. Cat says:

    Erin, I have been inquiring at antique stores for a booth. I am so ready! 40 yrs of collecting and need to lighten up! One question I have for you, should I sell crafts items I make as well? I love sewing and crafting seasonal items like gingerbread dolls, Santa sacks,to name a couple. Do you think that things like that would sell? Seasonal crafts? Thank you, Cat

  11. Lynsey says:

    This is such great advice, it is a dream of mine to have a booth one day. I love your booth, it would defiantly catch my eye.

  12. Lindsey P says:

    Oh how I wish I was closer!! I will admit, I tried to drive there to get your fireplace mantle but they said it was already sold! :::tears::: I don’t know how you parted with that beaut but whoever scored that is one lucky gal! I’ve been on the hunt for a mantle like that and just can’t find one that speaks to me 🙁

  13. This is some really good information about getting good shelving that will be sturdy. That does seem like a good thing to do if you are having a lot of china on it. Also, it might be smart to have a good display for any antique furniture.

  14. Sydnei says:

    Thanks so much for a great post! My mom and I own a vintage warehouse store in Sacramento, CA. We are constantly telling our vendors these tips to help increase their sales. I’m so happy I found this to share as a reference with them! 💗

  15. Kane says:

    Speaking from a dealers point of view. I will never understand the question “ where do you find your stuff” most dealers would rather stand on a corner handing out secret family recipes than tell you where they pick. It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. There is no one “gettin place”. When people ask me where my stuff comes from, I give the same standard answer “everywhere” It’s hard work. If you don’t have a good eye
    your time spent may be fruitless. It helps to know a little history too. Hunting for Pyrex can be fun but knowing the really good stuff when you see it can be monetarily beneficial.

  16. Robin says:

    Great tips and love the idea of shopping in your booth. Your colors are fabulous and inviting. I love the idea of having music in your booth. I’d like to add a suggestion…please make price tags or prices viewable without picking the item up if possible. I prefer not to pick up everything in case it might break or in case it is in there in a way it needs to go back the same. I like to just see the price easily. If you were closer I’d be shopping

  17. Carl Green says:

    I liked how you mentioned that you should brand an antique shop to make it more unique. My wife is getting older and her dream was to open an antique shop and she was wondering how she could do it. I’ll be sure to tell her to brand her shop to make it more unique.

  18. Max Beck says:

    It’s a great point that you should consider putting things int the shops that you think other people will want to buy. My spouse and I are going to open a new store soon that will have a lot of antiques. We need to start looking online for good deals on other antiques and memorabilia that people will love.

  19. Linda Sentell says:

    I could relate to so much in this article. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Your booth sounds amazing! My friends and I have a booth in Salt River Antiques and More in Saint Mary’s, GA. I guess we are the “and more” part of it:). We are the “Bluff Babes”. Take care and happy hunting!

  20. Jill Thompson says:

    As a new booth owner, this was super helpful! Thanks for sharing. Your booth is beautiful!

  21. It sure was interesting when you suggested adding ambiance to your antique booth to create branding and make it look more styled. This is something that I will share with my best friend whose mother passed away more than two months ago. She is considering selling the estate items that were left to her to gain some income from them. Maybe, she can do some of your tips to speed up the process of selling her items.

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