How to Become a Seller in an Antiques Mall

Have you ever wondered if you could be successful selling your wares in an antique mall?

I have.

My guest today, Terri from Finders Keepers Antiques and Treasures,
who has her own booth in a mall in North Carolina, and has become a dear bloggy sister of mine, shares some of her advice
on how to get started.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Terri!


Thank you, Leslie, for inviting me to do a guest post today.
I have been involved in antique malls for many years and I enjoy it to the hilt.

Most of us start out as collectors 
and then we become obsessed collectors of more than one thing.  
The day arrives when we decide that we need to narrow down our collectibles.  
We want to get our money back.....
we want to purge.....
we want to collect something else.  

We must pass our treasures onto someone else.
Why not make money while doing it?

How to find and set up a successful Antiques Mall booth:  
  • Find a good location. If you’re fortunate to have several malls in your area, check on them all. Compare rates, but also compare traffic. Low rent with no traffic can put you out of business very, very quickly.  
  • Determine what you are willing to pay for monthly rental.
  • Know how much space you will need. The going rate around NC is $2-3 per square foot for a booth. A 4'x6' space will run $48 -$61/month. 24 sq. ft. will not hold much, especially if you have furniture. (Some malls also rent out bookcases or showcases, if you have fewer or smaller items.)
  • Some malls only rent large, room-sized booths. Know your space needs and your budget.  
  • Typically, in addition to monthly rent,  you are charged a 10% "mall fee" on each sale. This covers charge card fees, bags, wrapping paper, etc.  
  • You will be asked at most malls to sign a 12-month lease.
  • Make sure the mall has a good reputation.  Shop there, talk to dealers servicing their booths. Ask the owner how they advertise. Do they purchase billboards, TV ads and trade magazine ads? How often will they pay you?  Can you can check with them weekly to see what you have sold?  Will they save your tags or do an inventory report so you will know what items you have sold?  Take heed of how you are being treated.
  • Have the owner show you the booths that are the most productive, the "Top Ten" people.  What are they selling?  How full is their booth?  Do they have a variety or a lot of one thing (like old tools)? 
  • Once you have decided on a space, think wisely how you will show your items.  Do you have tables, shelves, book cases?
  • Not all antique malls ask you to sell antiques only. You might want to choose the mall that will let you sell anything old, not necessarily antique. It is difficult to find much over 100 years old.  
  • Try to make every inch work for you because you are paying for it whether you choose to use it or not.   
  • Educate yourself by looking through the mall at other booths. Ask the other sellers questions: Which months are the "slow" months and what type things are "hot" now? (However, this can change in a heartbeat!)

Common errors that cause your booth to fail:
  • Not being willing to work hard. Most people do not realize how much work it takes to have a successful booth.  By successful, you should expect to produce 3 or 4 times your rent.  For example: if you expect to make $400 per month you will need to stock 3 to 4 times that much inventory. 
  • Dropping off your goodies, arranging them and then not showing up again for 1 or 2 months. It takes weekly (in busy seasons) or bi-weekly (in slower seasons) visits to arrange, rotate, and re-organize your treasures to keep your booth fresh.  (Some sellers plop their stuff down, come back to move out 6 months later, wonder why their stuff didn't sell, and why they didn't make it.)

I hope I have answered some of your questions.
If you still have here to come visit me.  
I'll do my best to help.  
One of my favorite things about getting to know antique collectors/sellers 
over the years is that they love to talk shop and to educate the new dealers. 

It is amazing and inspiring to watch!


Some ideas from my booth of what sells well for me.


  1. Thanks for a great post! I have often wondered how that works out and it's great to get the inside info!

  2. Fantastic tips, Terri! It's definitely a lot of work to do it right -- and it looks like you do it right! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is a great post! Thanks Leslie and Terri! I have often wondered if I could do it, but never had the nerve to try. This answered a lot of my questions. Lisa~

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  5. Hello and thanks so much for this post. I am very interested in adding the option of booth space to my business. When renting a booth space do most malls already have booth walls in place or is it most often the person renting the space responsibility to frame up their own space. I notice lots of people's booths are done in lattice or peg board. Right now I just have an empty room with 4 empty walls......blank canvas just waiting to be used:)
    Thanks so much.


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