A quandary, or is it a conundrum? & updated pics of our space in Camas

WHICHever word is the correct one; I am frustrated, confused and even a bit ticked off!  And I brought it all on myself.  (Not purposely, of course!)  Now I know most of you visiting my blog really only want to look at pictures ( I do the same when I’m cruising other blogs too!)  SO, I’m going to interject photos of the recent re-do of our Camas space; and try to keep my debate with myself short and to the point.

*Edited to add:  Camas Antiques address is 305 NE 4th Avenue  Camas, WA  98607

We’ve had our space at Camas for just under a year now; and our space at Stars for a year and a half (THIS time.  We left Stars for a time while we closed down our own store) .  Over our year and a half at Stars, I’ve noticed certain things have become ‘good sellers’, and the ‘personality’ and ‘individuality’ of our space has gradually evolved pretty much on it’s own.  The shoppers showed me what they liked best and I paid attention and worked towards stocking in THAT direction.  And our sales there have gradually built up to the point of the month of March being a RECORD month for us in sales!  Doing a HAPPY dance for that fact, but scratching my head over Camas!

We had a decent month out of the gate at Camas, and GREAT sales the following month, then the downward spiral began as we got into the summer months last year.  I didn’t think much of it at first, because sales at Stars were dropping a bit too, and I figured it was ‘just the bad economy’ catching up to us.  There is only street parking at both malls, and for several months, many of the streets around Stars were closed off for construction, and like Camas, sales had dropped off considerably.  But now that the construction is done, sales have bounced right back at Stars!

Since we were doing well in sales at Stars at the time we added on the space in Camas, I focused the majority of my energies on Camas.  In an attempt to ‘ferret out our niche’ amongst the plethora of other booths at Camas, at first I took in a ‘little bit of everything’, to see which sold first/best and let the space ‘evolve’ into what worked best. 

And THAT is the source of this conundrum and my complete confusion.  Because NOTHING has jumped out at me as a ‘best seller’ or even a ‘better selling style’.  Little bits of everything seem to sell.  And little amounts of the little bits of everything at that!  So I started piling in MORE little bits of everything until the space was just crammed too full of stuff,

So I’m just scratching my head trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong!  I knew I needed to ‘thin down the amount of product’, and pull items that had been sitting for more than a few months.  But then what?!?!

I was bemoaning the fate of my space to a fellow vendor and wondering if I was the only one experiencing such underwhelming sales.  Much to my surprise, the other vendor was experiencing pretty much the same!  We shared some analytical points and studied what WAS selling, and each came up with similar, but unique to ourselves, game plan.

And just in case you I haven’t shown you enough pictures for you to notice what has changed; I’m going over to the WHITE side.  I don’t particularly like ‘following the crowd’, but quite honestly I can’t afford to keep paying rent on a space that is barely paying for my gas to get there! 

I wasn’t quite able to go completely white just yet.  Not am I convinced that I WANT to go that far.  Will have to wait and see if it really boosts my sales this month to decide.

While chatting with a fellow vendor again another time, it was mentioned about another popular antique mall in Portland, that nearly EVERY booth is ALL WHITE.  whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe?!?!?  I’m all for the ‘freshness’ of decorating with white.  And the versatility, because it goes with everything.  But I’d get real bored REAL quick at an antique mall that was white booth after white booth after white booth!!!

And I honestly don’t know if I could ‘follow the crowd’ to THAT extent.  I think I’d start suffering from sensory deprivation after too much white for too long.  But, I’m giving it a shot for now in one last attempt to ‘revive’ my otherwise dying sales at our booth in Camas.

So for now, I’ve stripped away as much color as possible and brought in as much white as I have; to sort of ‘cleanse the palette’.  I’m not going STARK white though.  I need a little variety of shades of white and cream and some tea stained and neutral tan colors to add dimension.  Then after I see how the white goes over, I may start adding in other accent colors.

Are you seeing the ‘white trend’ being so overpowering where you are???  Seems like NO OTHER colors are selling right now; at least not at Camas.  My main color at Stars is the beachy blue.  And I’m almost to the point that that is the ONLY color I paint any furniture for that space now.  I change it up a bit seasonally; like adding black accessories and some black furniture in the winter. 

I’m also trying to find more really shabby items for Camas, like this old table. 

And I suppose I should change out my blue Sophie’s Cottage sign, since it now sticks out like a sore thumb!  I have an idea for making something bigger that will fit on the ledge across the back of the booth.  Gonna wait and see if our sales really improve enough to justify investing my time to create the new sign though. 


Another idea ‘creatively borrowed’ from Pottery Barn . . . old books with the covers removed.  The ones above (same sizes bundled together) are paper backs.  The bundles with various sizes are hardback books.

It’s fairly easy to remove the covers (especially the paperbacks!).  The hard part is finding the right hardback books with ‘interesting’ looking spines, and covers that are easy to cut off.  I’ve spent nearly an HOUR trying to remove a cover from the wrong book!



Sooooooooooooooo . . . Whaddya think?!?!?   Too ‘vanilla’?  Too many other colors still lingering?  (I do plan to change out the signs to neutral colors, next trip)   Only time will tell if it was the right move to improve sales.  Here’s HOPING!


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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have only been to your booth at Stars ~ but I love what you have done in Camas. I would love to go see it, I just don’t know where it’s at. I love what you have done in both stores!!! It’s beautiful!!

    • It’s in historic ‘downtown’ Camas; pretty small downtown so it’s easy to spot the antique mall. I’m TERRIBLE at giving directions, ( I just know how to get from my house to the antique mall; totally UNfamiliar with the rest of the area!) The address is: 305 NE 4th Avenue Camas, WA 98607 if you have a GPS to direct you there, or look up driving directions on an online map site.


  2. The white looks very nice but I’m like you I like color! But if white seems to be selling… Red is the color for me that really sells. Anything I get in that is RED is usually gone quickly. From apple and strawberry nicknacks to primitive faded red furniture. Next favorite around here is (I call it) dirty green. You know that old beat up green color? Keep us updated on the white. Your spaces always are inspiring!

  3. I love a neutral palette! Easy to add a touch of color to change up a display that way! Let us know how the sales go with your new look.

  4. Your white booth is beautiful. It’s funny how different areas like different things. Your aqua blue is beautiful too, but I don’t think it would work where I am. It does seem that if everyone is doing white, it would be too much, but hey, if it works…! Might as well give it a try.

    I’m going to start experimenting with red. I noticed someone else commented on red selling quickly. I recently painted & distressed a cupboard in a deep bright red, with black drybrushed on top. I was surprised at how much attention it got, people seemed to be drawn to it, & it sold within a few days.

    Black, mustard & burgandy are still the big colors here, but maybe I can add red to the mix 🙂

    • ‘Back when’ we still had our brick and mortar store, AND were still doing primitive folk art along with the cottage style, RED was a very good selling color for us too. VERY flexible

      I liked to do ‘basic items’ (shelves, frames, candle holders, chairs, benches etc) in red. Then I could use them in LOTS of different displays.

      It all worked well with Christmas and Valentines, with kitchen and ‘chicken’ stuff, Americana (with blue and white) also did a lot of Reggedy ann stuff back then. Red was a popular color for kid’s room decor, and went well in garden displays.


      • P.S. Red is also a GREAT accent color (in moderation!) for the turquoise I do so much of at our space in Stars. Just littel bits of it though, like I did with the ‘cantaloupe’ color this year.

        LOVE red and bright lime green together too! So energetic!


  5. I understand completely. I was a vendor for years. I believe what it really boils down to isn’t color but price. I don’t know your booths at all, but I hope to get to both places sometime soon. It’s hard to sell for less than you think an item is worth, especially if you’ve put a lot of work into it, but it really is about volume in this market, and keeping things moving. In the long run you will actually make a lot more money, and move things a lot faster if you’re priced a bit lower than other booths.

    Best wishes,

    • Thanks for the input, Sheila. I frequently get comments regarding how GREAT my prices are. So I’m not entirely sure that THIS current issue is JUST about price. Plus, if price were such a predominant factor, you would think that I’d sell a lot more stuff when the mall has it’s storewide sales and I offer 20% off. But the sale seems to have NO IMPACT on generating a boost in sales. It’s weird, but this particular mall just seems to be a ‘totally different ; and I just can’t figure it out!! I think that sometimes when something is marked a super low price, that they (shoppers) pass it by expecting it’s not a quality item. BECAUSE it’s too cheap. Go figure?!?!


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