As Shipshewana Flea Market season approaches, it's time to once again start featuring our current vendors! Each vendor has an amazing story to tell, but I really think you'll love today's spotlight on Bloom'n Things.
We had the chance to send some interview questions to long time vendor Brenda La Rue, who co-owns the business Bloom'n Things with her husband Jon. Find Jon and Brenda at booth 588-590 / 605 at the Shipshewana Flea Market every Tuesday and Wednesday, May through September.
How and when did you get started selling at the Shipshewana Flea Market?
"My first year was 1987 – the very first week I only had one card table in the entire booth! I sold enough stuff to pay my rent and was THRILLED! I lived my entire life 15 minutes away and had never been to the market before. At that time, I wanted to be a stay at home mom with my kids.
My husband – Jon - worked at Jayco in Middebury and was supportive of that decision. I took my oldest daughter, Carin with me after that. My next two kids came in 1989 and 1993 - Mattie & Jared. I mention my kids because they were such a huge part of my business over the years.
This opportunity gave me what I needed to be able to be with my kids during the winter and help provide an income during the summer. According to them, I had kids because I wanted slaves……yah right! It was awesome. They all learned how to be great salespeople, meet deadlines, and have fun at your job.
As my business kept growing, Jon came on board after 10 years at Jayco. We started then branching out and doing some additional shows in the fall and winter. He has been an awesome partner as he is good at so many things. He is a great fix-it kind of guy and we are able to design and create awesome spaces. He is also the best salesperson we have on our team. "
What kinds of products do you offer?
"Over the past 31 years, we have sold a lot of stuff! It started out with a product that was a flower basket that would come in different colors and you could put either silk or real flowers in it.
We kept expanding our selection and currently, we sell great home décor which includes signs, kitchen items, lake items, remembrance items, garden stakes, man cave items and much more. This season we are excited to be adding a new location (space 605) and will be putting beautiful jewelry and accessories in that location."
What makes Bloom'n Things unique?
"Bloom’n Things is a unique business because we specialize in the customer experience. We realize that our customer has many choices as to where they spend their money. But if they can have a positive experience when purchasing their unique items, they will return again and again.
Our goal is to be the friendliest booth at the market. We make sure to greet every single customer that comes into our booth. Along with the many inspirational signs we carry, customers love the great vibes going on in our booth."
What is your favorite part about being a vendor?
"Our favorite part of being in this business is the great people we get to meet!
Whether it is the show promoters, our vendor (who we buy from) relations, or our customers, it truly is a small world and the rewards we have received by being friendly (see question above) has been remarkable!
All of these relationships have contributed to our continued success in the flea market business – and we are grateful for all."
What advice do you have for new vendors just starting out?
"This path of being a retailer is a exciting journey. It’s true what they say – if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. You will not have all the answers in one week – there is a lot of things to learn along the way.
I would say that listening to your customer is one of the best things you can do. Don’t be afraid to bring new items into your mix – you can always discount them and move on.
One of my favorite things I always think about is this: If you are a vendor that looks to other vendors in order to copy or sell the same things as someone else, you are not taking care of your business. Your customers are looking to you to provide them with unique items – not what everyone else is selling. Create your own specialty. It is a win-win for everybody.
And lastly, take a good look at your space – is it inviting, clean and organized? I get a lot of compliments from people on how neat and clean everything is. It catches people’s attention. Where do you want to shop? Make it a fun experience for the customers. Many have driven several hours just to come and see you. You are worth it!"
Stop by Brenda's booth (588-590 / 605) at the Shipshewana Flea Market (view map), and say hi!
Want to get more vendor testimonials? Read our vendor case study E-book.