Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Sweet Clover Community

Last weekend was my first time as a vendor in any kind of regular space, and it was also the first month that the new Sweet Clover Vintage Barn Sale was open (learn a little more about the backstory of the transition of the Stylish Patina barn to the Sweet Clover barn here).  The first weekend went pretty well for Sweet Clover! The Sweet Clover Vintage Barn sale is now in the capable hands of Cassie from Primitive and Proper, Sarah aka The Thriftress, and Celeste and Terri of Catfish Studios. They all had tons of visitors come out and support them on their opening weekend. You can read more about it on Cassie's blog.

Via Sweet Clover
Part of the deal with having a spot in Sweet Clover is that you work one day of each monthly sale. I worked on Saturday and we were busy for most of the day! Sarah managed that day, and she made it so easy for me to just jump right in and help. I've worked in retail since I was 13, and yet I'm still surprised when I realize how fast I snap into retail mode. Some people will always be able to wait tables, I will always be able to work in a shop (especially a small business). Like riding a bike.

One thing I realized from my first weekend in Sweet Clover was how many people have to walk through those doors in order for all the vendors to do well. I'll be honest, my sale wasn't as stellar as I had hoped. It's not like Lucketts where you're bombarded with a constant flow of people and you can lure them into your booth with super duper offers (most prices at barn sales are firm unless the vendor is there and willing to negotiate). But that's part of the learning experience and part of why I'm doing this, to hold myself accountable to figuring out how to establish my brand and work within the context of a larger design environment. I'll have plenty of months to figure this out, and I have fun doing it so I'm not stressing it too much.

After closing up with Sarah, I headed over to Cassie's house for a meeting/potluck with most of the other vendors. By the way, it's so fun to see someone's house in person when you've been seeing it on a blog for so long. What Cassie's blog has yet to show you is just how cool the actual house is. She does an amazing job on the inside, but seriously being in her dining room was like sitting in a treehouse. She has amazing views!

The potluck got me really excited about what more is to come for Sweet Clover. Cassie, Sarah, Celeste and Terri all have great ideas for growing the sale and bringing in new shoppers, and I love that so many of their ideas center around creating a community of customers and vendors. The other vendors and I did a lot of brainstorming with them and helped them take things a few steps further. One thing I absolutely love about working in a small-business environment is that every new idea and every effort to grow places you closer to the center of a community. I worked at the Christmas Attic in Old Town Alexandria for the better part of my life, and I always loved when people came in and talked about how they come there every year with their family, or they loved to come pick out a Nutcracker or ornament or something. I want that personal connection for Sweet Clover and our customers too.

Another thing that really struck me about Saturday night's potluck was the range of different vendors in the barn, and what a stage it sets for amazing collaboration. I'm the youngest vendor, and there are women who have children my age, and even grandchildren. There are husband and wife teams, teams of friends, and one sole dude who regularly picks the coolest stuff I've ever seen. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, along with a unique sense of style. We have industrial stuff, cottage-y stuff, traditional, retro, etc. In one trip you could decorate your living room in all white and grey farmhouse furniture, or you could snag all kinds of colorful mod stuff. Our vendors are also from all around the area. We have a vendors from Baltimore, Pennsylvania, the Eastern Shore, Leesburg, DC, Montgomery County, and Frederick, and we're all trying to snag the best pickins' possible in our area. There really is something for everyone, and I know it will only get even better!

Via Sweet Clover
All of the Sweet Clover Vintage Barn sale dates are listed on the Sweet Clover website. I encourage you to follow us on Facebook to get updates and see our current inventory. And while you're at it, check out my fellow vendors too!

Bmore Nestled  - Megan is my neighbor directly behind my space in the barn, who appears to share my love of bright colors and graphic elements on furniture. I met her husband Tom, too, who was nice enough to help her do some rearranging Saturday night before the Potluck.
Carolyn Elizabeth Designs - I was totally impressed with Carolyn's booth at Lucketts before I even knew she was a vendor in Sweet Clover. She has a very classic, comfortable sense of style that is so well put together in her space. Also, her husband makes really awesome farm tables. And she moved furniture into her space in a sundress, which made her look pretty cute the whole time even though we were probably equally sweaty. Note to self: black sundress will always be cuter than running shorts a and t-shirt, even when hauling furniture.
Catfish-Studios - These ladies have been doing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint since before anyone heard about it, and they do it well. They also have a space in On a Whim near Lucketts and offer products in our "Styled by You" DIY shop at Sweet Clover. They also have tons of retail experience and their shiznit together in that arena, and I've enjoyed learning from them in the little time I've gotten to talk with them.
Charm City Farmhouse - This is the sole dude I mentioned above. He's my neighbor directly in front of me and always has awesome industrial finds and really cool "smalls" as we call them in the biz. Think school maps, globes, old school paper cutters, metal cubby cabinets, industrial shelves, they're all totally up his ally. He also figured out a way to silver the inside of bottles and sells a bunch of them in his space.
The Green Doors  - I spent all Saturday working with Ronna from the Green Doors and had such a good time with her! She is one of the women who has kids my age, but you'd never know it by looking at her. Her furniture is beautiful and she is a pro with Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. Side note: she lives on the Eastern Shore and is driving 3 HOURS to load her space and work in the barn, and her sweet husband makes the trip with her. What a trooper!
Primitive and Proper - I'm sure half of you are reading this post because Cassie was kind enough to promote all the barn vendors, and that's how you found me. Not only does Cassie have a great eye for furniture and staging, she also has around a thousand blogger friends. She is one of those people who connects with people she met in the blogging world outside of the blogging world, which is seriously bold and awesome. Because I get really nervous thinking about it, like I'm online dating or something.
Repurposed and Refined - These ladies have their own warehouse up in Hagerstown, which I am sad to say I have never visited (Hagerstown is a bit of a hike for me). I'll have to make the trip up there soon! They have a space with furniture, and they are also selling Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint out of our Styled by You DIY shop.
Seasons NL - I met Sheree and Jackie of Seasons NL the first day I was in Sweet Clover and they were both so nice! I was impressed with how much stuff they managed to load onto an Explorer Sport Trec AND successfully get in their space. Their space is inspired by their native Netherlands and they bring in tons of Dutch decor and finds from their travels. I've been to the Netherlands twice, and I have to say that it is excellent inspiration. From Amsterdam to rural Holland, it's one of the most beautiful countries I've ever seen!
Surrendered Goods - Christie runs a creative business out of her home in DC, and sells some pieces at the barn and does other markets sometimes including the Georgetown Flea Market. She is lovely and has an excellent eye for design. I'm also glad she's reppin the DC crowd with me!
The Thriftress - I've been following Sarah along with Cassie for a while, and I always love the range of colors she works with. She's also super nice and made my mouth water for about an hour Saturday talking about her favorite Italian food and all the stuff her Italian family in New Jersey makes. My plan is to become her best friend so she will make me said Italian food. Or maybe volunteer to babysit her kids or something in exchange for meals. I'm just one person, I don't need much.
Traer Loves - I have yet to meet Traer in person, but I remember her booth so vividly from Lucketts this year and was thrilled when I realized she was also a vendor in Sweet Clover. Her signature is the red and white chevron fabric, often with some acqua thrown into the mix. She has an excellent eye for branding, and I'm in awe of how cohesive her space looks.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sweet Clover Vintage Barn Sale this Weekend!

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about how much fun I had at Lucketts and how I wished I could be part of the community of vendors more often? Yeah, I made that happen.

This weekend I will debut my booth inside that Sweet Clover Vintage Barn sale in Frederick, Maryland! Sweet Clover used to be the Stylish Patina barn, but Kelly gave up the barn sale so that she could get some warehouse space in Falls Church where she'll be having monthly tag sales.

The barn is full of amazing other vendors who have picked some great stuff for this weekend's sale. Make sure to "like" the Sweet Clover Vintage page on Facebook to preview all the great stuff that will be in the barn this weekend.

My mom is helping with the barn sale, so some of the pieces in this space are her work. I drove up to the barn yesterday with her and brother, and we loaded a bunch of stuff into the shop. I am leaving in a little while to go up and put some finishing touches on the booth and load a few more things in it. Even though it's a hike for me to get there, I really enjoy driving through the rolling hills and enjoying all the farm land out there. The barn is located on a horse farm, and the horses come right up to the fence next to the barn. It's so peaceful out there and I really enjoyed spending the evening out there yesterday.

Make sure to "like" my page on Facebook -- I'll be posting pictures of all my goodies on there later today. Come out to the barn this weekend and make a day of it! There's a ton of other great shops/barns near by too that are listed on the Sweet Clover Facebook page. I'll be in the barn on Saturday so make sure you come find me if you decide to come out!
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