Thinking about renting an antique booth to sell your goods?

Tips for how to be successful selling in a booth at an antique store / Advice for how to rent an antique booth:

A little over a year ago my garage was full of finished furniture makeovers.  By “full” I mean there were about 5, but they left me very little room to work on other projects!  

I wanted to sell my pieces but I wasn’t too keen on the whole Craigslist process of writing a listing, answering emails, battling spam, and inviting strangers to my home who would haggle me on my prices and critique my work in front of my face.

How to rent an antique booth space to sell your goods. Vintage vendor advice from Girl in the Garage

I decided to search for a place to consign my pieces or to rent an antique booth space, and the thought of that absolutely terrified me!  It’s one thing to have positive comments on my blog or on Facebook, but it’s something else entirely to put your work up for sale and wonder if anyone will actually want to buy it!  (Not to mention paying money to rent an antique booth space and not knowing if you’ll sell enough to break even.)

After phone calls, meetings, and visits to several stores, I finally decided on a nearby antique mall/artisan gallery to rent booth space.  (Here’s my “new booth” announcement last year if you’d like to read it.)  It’s kind of funny to look back and think of how nervous I was- and I’m happy to say that this weekend (June 1) was my 1-year anniversary there!  A lot has changed since I first started.

How to rent an antique booth space to sell your goods. Vintage vendor advice from Girl in the Garage

Renting a space for one year does not make me an expert, but there’s a lot that I know now that I wish I had known when I was starting out.  So if you’re considering taking the leap, here’s some advice that might help you:

1.  Do Your Research

There are many factors to consider when looking for a place to rent booth space.  Location of the store is important- is it convenient for you to visit often?  Do they receive a lot of traffic?  Is the store clean and well-kept?  Are they open three days per week, or seven?  When you find a store you like, discuss fees and then take a tour and see which booths are available.  Often spaces near the front of the store or on the main floor will have higher rent than other areas of the store.  What is the monthly rent, are there commission fees, are there credit card fees, are taxes withheld?  

Read over the contract and also be sure you know how much notice you have to give to vacate.  If you change your mind after a few months, you’ll need to know if you have to give 30-days notice or longer.  You’ll probably have to pay a deposit upfront and you may also have to pay extra to rent a cabinet or locked display case.

2.  Displays and Staging

Assuming not all the items you’re selling are furniture, where are you going to keep smaller goods?  If you’re planning to set them on furniture that is for sale, you might want to bring squares of fabric to avoid scratching.  (I do this because I protect my furniture with Annie Sloan wax which takes 30 days to cure, and sometimes I take the pieces to my booth after 2-3 weeks of curing.)  I also have a bookshelf in my booth for smaller items- if you do this and don’t want to sell the bookshelf (or anything else you’re using for staging), be sure to label it “not for sale.”  

Also remember you’re not just renting the space directly on the floor- you are paying for vertical space as well as horizontal – so stacking will create more room and visual interest for customers.  (I also use scrap fabric when I stack, to avoid scratching.)  If you need ideas for staging, walk around and take cues from booths you are visually drawn to.  You can also get lots of ideas from blogs and from Pinterest.

3.  Pricing

Pricing can vary greatly based on your geographic area.  Your pieces may fetch higher prices in a neighboring town, but rent will probably be higher there also.  Pay attention to what similar vendors are selling items for.   You don’t want to give your goods away but you don’t want to scare people off either.  If you list a price and the item doesn’t sell for a while, consider lowering the price on just that item or offering a temporary discount for everything in your booth.  Especially if you’re new, it helps to build a customer base right away so people will buy from you again and also tell their friends!

4.  Littles

As you can see in the photo from when I first started, I just had some furniture for sale and that was pretty much it.  In my mind I was determined to only sell my furniture makeovers and nothing else.  After a couple months the store owner suggested I add some “littles” which would help with staging and also increase sales.  So I brought in a few things from home and then started looking at yard sales and thrift stores for unique vintage items (bottles, vases, anything old and collectible) that I could resell and make a profit on.  It really makes my booth look better and it helps with sales too.  (And it’s always fun going “picking” for my booth- although I often end up keeping some for myself!)

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5.  Visit Often

It’s good to visit your antique booth often.  Whether you’re bringing new merchandise, rearranging your items (since a simple change can make someone notice something they didn’t see before), or just making sure things are in order.   Unfortunately things happen and a drawer from one of my small tables broke, so I had to take it home and repair it.  It wouldn’t look good for me to sell a table with a broken drawer!  

Also, customers will change their mind and may leave something in your booth that they picked up somewhere else in the store- another reason why it’s a good idea to check on things often.

6.  Discounts

As I mentioned above, it may help to offer discounts from time to time to motivate people to buy.  Especially if you have too much inventory, an extra 15-20% off for a day or weekend should help make some room for you!  We had a horrible winter here and my sales for the first few months of the year were pitiful.  Then the weather warmed up, and my booth was jam packed.  I offered a couple discount days and it was my highest month for sales ever!  

Also- when you’re not running a discount, customers may have a store employee call to try to get you to lower a price.  That has happened to me several times and I sometimes agree or negotiate to a price we’re both happy with.  So make sure you answer the phone when the store calls!   😉

7.  Marketing

Most stores do some sort of advertising in local directories and on Facebook- but they’re probably not specifically advertising what’s in your booth.  Some ideas- you can list photos and prices on Craigslist and then direct people to the store and your booth number/location.  You can also advertise on your Facebook page or on your blog page or website if you have one (again, direct buyers to the store if you don’t want to deal with them directly).

Thinking about painting and selling furniture?

8.  Review and Reassess

Everyone’s experience will be different- but my experience is that there have been months where I have not made a profit, months where I broke even, and months where I’ve made a nice profit.  I like not having to worry about selling my pieces myself and bringing strangers to my home.  

I would suggest to rent an antique booth for at least 6 months.  If it’s not working out, then reassess.  Do you have the time and effort to put into it?  Is there another store that would work better for you, or a different location in this store?  Talk to the owner and see if they have any suggestions- they should have some helpful advice!

Some people are perfectly happy listing and selling their items on Craigslist.  You can also sell certain items online through eBay or Etsy – or locally on eBay Classifieds or even specific Facebook groups for your town or county.

If you’re considering renting a booth space, I really hope this post has helped you!

If you have additional vendor advice or questions about how to rent an antique booth, please leave them in the comments below.


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56 Comments on Thinking about renting an antique booth to sell your goods?

  1. Carole
    June 2, 2014 at 6:41 am (5 years ago)

    It did really help. Thanks for writing about this. I am starting my booth this month, actually tomorrow and I am so excited!! It has been a lot of work getting ready for this…I never realized how much work but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I will let you know in a year how it is going. Thanks again!!!!

    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm (5 years ago)

      Carole, that is so exciting! Congrats and good luck!

    • Debbie
      August 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks for your post! I recently started selling in a booth and find the information you gave to be very insightful! And, congrats on your first year!

  2. ARod
    June 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm (5 years ago)

    great info thanks so much for sharing congrats on your 1 yr anniversary
    ARod recently posted…Meet the Neighbors no 20My Profile

    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks so much ARod! 🙂

  3. Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs
    June 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm (5 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your first year with your own booth! I’m hoping to start selling items at our local farmer’s market booth, and it’s something like $30 a day to “rent.” Thankfully, I am only applying as a once-a-month vendor, but your post has prepared me for the possibility that I might not break even some months, but other months may be better. 🙂
    Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs recently posted…Mini Mudroom RevealMy Profile

    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm (5 years ago)

      A farmer’s market is a great idea to test the waters – low rent and short time commitment are a plus! Even if you don’t sell a lot, you can chat people up, hand out business cards, and try to get some custom orders. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Susan
    June 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks for all of the tips! It was truly an inspiration!

  5. Breanna
    June 3, 2014 at 9:00 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing these tips! This is definitely something I am interested in doing at some point and this makes me a little less nervous!
    Breanna recently posted…Free as a BirdMy Profile

  6. jenny Tomson
    June 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm (5 years ago)

    I have been following your blog for a few months now. I have been refinishing furniture for myself and family since I was 18. (gulp) 20 years!! I am being encouraged and supported by my new husband to step out of my comfort zone and start a blog and start to sell. The website is live but still VERY MUCH in the development phase but the Facebook page is better. Anyways, this past weekend the hubs and I had this very conversation about which avenue to sell on (because I now have 5 pieces ready to sell and my garage is loaded with about 14 more pieces and who knows what in our storage locker! yikes. I could be on hoarders 🙂 lol. This was a great post & has offered good sound advice. So thanks 🙂 I also have a closer connection because I live in the same region as you. Only in Lake County! Your work is to be admired, thanks for the blog posts and inspiration! (p.s. my friend from high school just got approved to sell ascp & also lives in Valpo! Much closer than St John for you!)

    Best wishes,

    • Jen
      June 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm (5 years ago)

      That is so cool! There are so many great shops to rent a space in Crown Point if you’re close to that area. I considered renting there but the drive was a little further than what I wanted. And I totally understand what you mean about the garage- I’ve been trying to clear mine out so that I only have pieces that I really love and don’t just keep every piece that I feel needs to be rescued. 🙂 Does your friend have a store in Valpo? That is great news about the ASCP! So nice to “meet” you- congrats on the new blog!

  7. Melanie
    June 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Congrats on a one year anniversary! I have been a dealer in a mall now for a little over two years and one thing that helped me was to start with a very small space. It let me get the feel of what it took to keep it filled and how to stage it well for maximum profit, so when I moved into a bigger space with a bigger rental cost, I felt prepared.
    Melanie recently posted…Behind the ScenesMy Profile

    • Jen
      June 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you Melanie! That’s a great tip also. Start small and then once you figure things out (like how often you’ll need to restock) – you can always upgrade to a larger space. If you start too big then you can easily feel overwhelmed! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      • Carolyn Smith
        June 19, 2015 at 10:19 am (4 years ago)

        I have followed in your footsteps Jen. One of my issues has been pricing. I have seen items sell in my booth immediately and show up in someone else s booth later. So its always a guessing game. One thing Ive learned is don’t let your merchandise get stagnant! Move your booth around. Stage small items to make your furniture (bigger ticket items) more sell-able.

  8. Dawn
    July 10, 2014 at 11:05 am (5 years ago)

    Hi Jen! I’ve read this post several times and am finally hoping to attempt something like this…but I’m having trouble finding a place like this locally (and I’m near a big city…St. Louis…so I’m thinking there must be something!). Any tips for what to search? I looked up craft malls and flea markets without much luck finding a place that’s “permanent” booth space. Thanks so much for this post. Pinned and shared on FB. 🙂
    Dawn recently posted…Coconut Crusted Oven-Baked Onion RingsMy Profile

  9. Leigh Ann
    March 17, 2015 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)

    Hi there! I’m getting started on a small consignment space, and I have everything worked out EXCEPT branding. Should my little bitty space have an identity in addition to the overall store name? I ask because you recommend advertising items on FB, which of course would require a brand unless I post to my personal page. I LOVE the idea of advertising my services both as a “picker” and as a seller at this specific store, but I have no idea where to start with choosing a brand.

    • Jen
      March 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm (4 years ago)

      Leigh Ann, I think branding is a great idea! Do whatever you can to help people remember you. I have business cards in a pretty dish in my booth and all of my price tags are actually mini business cards also. You could also hang a sign in your booth with your name or business name on it – that’s something I’ve thought of doing but haven’t gotten to yet. I’m sure there are lots of other ideas too! It may help to visit other booths and antique malls in your area and see what others are doing that you like.
      I hope that helps – good luck with your new space! Jen

  10. Kristi
    October 4, 2015 at 11:50 am (3 years ago)

    Great advice. Really really great advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us what you have learned. Your wisdom has been absorbed and taken to heart.

    One thing I learned years ago was that on yours smalls, it’s a great idea to put a electronic tag on them so they are harder to steal. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life, people steal, and unfortunately, even with these tags sometimes things disappear.

    I really appreciate your efforts in teaching us. I will definitely use what you have said. If I had known years past what you have said in this article, my space may have been much more successful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  11. Lisa N.
    January 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm (3 years ago)

    Great information and advice, I have been renting a booth for over 10 years and love it. I have all sorts of items, I love to go to auctions, garage sales, clearance sales and even sell some of my own items I get tired of, this is a great way to be able to change the decor in your own home or even buy a new purse and sell an old one to pay for the new! (: I also love to craft ( cards, floral arrangements, mixed media pictures, refinish furniture and more) so this gives me a place to sell those items too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Laura
      February 22, 2017 at 7:16 pm (2 years ago)

      I want so much to be able to rent a space the way you do, but I’m at a loss at how to find one!! I live in Portland Or. and when I look on line for a store type place to rent, all that comes up are these trashy little flea markets that are really nasty in Portland. How can I find a place for my stuff to sell? Any ideas would help. Thanks so much!!

      • Kristen
        January 14, 2018 at 2:25 am (1 year ago)

        Not sure if you’re still looking (almost a year later!) but I am looking into spaces right now. Search for “antique mall” in Google, there are a number of antique malls in the Portland area.

        • Karen
          January 26, 2018 at 12:06 am (1 year ago)

          Laura and Kristen, about 15 years ago I rented space in Aurora, south of Portland. Back then, it was known as an antique mecca of sorts. I lived in Happy Valley and the commute on 99E was a lovely scenic drive. I don’t know what the market is like now, but depending on where you live in the Portland area, you might check that out.

  12. Annette
    March 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm (3 years ago)

    What a great post! And I loved your before and after photos of your booth. Very nice. I own an antique “mini-mall” and we are always encouraging our dealers to do everything you just listed – stir the pot, flip the merchandise, visit often, re-assess your commitment in a few months. It really does help everyone in the shop!

    • Jen
      March 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much – I’m glad you like my post. 🙂 Definitely the harder you work on your booth, the greater your reward!

  13. Sheila
    May 31, 2016 at 2:15 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there. I just opened my first shop ever. I am renting a shelving unit in my area. Most of my items are small, so the shelves works for me better than a booth. Thank you so very much for all of your tips and information. You have no idea at how many times I referenced your page for help. God bless you and thank you. Hope to keep you informed that I needed to even enlarge my space!!

  14. Lisa
    August 7, 2016 at 7:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there! How did you go about finding spaces to rent from? I am looking for a store to rent booth space and feel like I’m hitting a brick wall. We are central to Will County, Illinois, so areas like Lake County and even Crown Point, IN are doable for us … But I can’t seem to find any…?

    • Jen
      August 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Lisa, I talked about this briefly in the blog post – but you should check any antique stores/malls or even little shops that sell refinished furniture near you. I know there are several places in Crown Point where you could check; there are lots of antique stores in that area. 🙂 Or even if you visit a vintage market, talk to the vendors – many of them probably rent spaces in a store too. (At least they did at the market I sold at.) Sometimes smaller stores will only let you sell items on consignment instead of renting a big space, but that might be a good place to start if you’re just starting out. Hope that helps – good luck!

  15. txgrandma
    September 9, 2016 at 5:42 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for this great article. I just recently took the plunge and boy is it a lot of work. I go between loving it and hating it but I am embracing the challenge as it’s something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I have been in business before and sold my stuff but this is different and so it has a big learning curve. It’s a good idea to have the 6 month lease to find out whether it’s for you and then reevaluate, which is what I plan to do.

    Congratulations on being there for a year.

  16. Diane growdon
    October 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm (2 years ago)

    My husband & I started a consignment store March 28, 2015. Now we are moving into a 3,000 sq ft space. An old thrift shop, it hasn’t been painted in over 50 years. We make our own displays & have collected a lot of recycled materials for the renovation. What we can’t figure out, is what booth sizes to build & how we figure out what to charge??? Also, any ideas, for an inexpensive way to lower the ceiling; even with fabric, due to cost of heat? I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve read here & am very grateful to find this blog. Thanks & God Bless!!!!!!

  17. Cheryl
    January 18, 2017 at 10:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you Jen! I have been thinking of doing this but not sure if it will work. Will let you know what happens. Love your furniture and help!
    Cheryl recently posted…Taking a breakMy Profile

    • Jen
      January 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! Keep me updated if you decide to do it! 🙂

  18. Sandy Ryan
    January 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I am just getting started looking for a booth to rent. What is a good size booth when you are just starting out? I have a lot of inventory.

    • Jen
      January 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Sandy, it depends what you’re selling (how large or small) and how often you’ll be able to work to keep the space full. My space that you saw in the photos is about 9×10 ft. It’s larger than it seems- and remember you can stack items too, so you’ll really have more space than just 90 sq ft, for example. Hope that helps- good luck!

  19. Mary
    September 19, 2017 at 9:02 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you for this information. Just rented a booth and starting today! When i click on the link of the best types of furniture to buy for profit and which to avoid it doesn’t bring me anywhere. Just has me sign up for future emails….

    • Jen
      September 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you, and good luck Mary! Once you enter your email address, then you’ll receive an email where you can download the list. If you don’t feel like you’re receiving value from future emails, you can unsubscribe at any time. 🙂

      • Laura
        January 3, 2018 at 9:03 am (1 year ago)

        Hi Jen,
        I want to sign up & get your most current information. 2017.
        Hope your still at it! Love,love ,your journey & I have previous experience in other states, second year in Tucson & exploring options.

  20. Mary Jean Zajac
    October 24, 2017 at 11:06 pm (1 year ago)

    I stubbled across your post looking for a place to rent. Very informative and I will come back to this. Thank you!

  21. Debi
    February 25, 2018 at 10:22 pm (12 months ago)

    They must vary, of course, but what would be an average cost to rent a space monthly?

    • Jen
      February 26, 2018 at 9:37 am (12 months ago)

      Hi Debi- You’re right, it varies a lot depending where the store is located (big city, small town, affluent part of the country) and how popular they are. I pay about $2 per square foot and I’m one hour from Chicago. From what I’ve heard, that’s pretty low compared to a lot of other metro areas. If you’re thinking of renting a space, your best bet is to call local stores near you to get an idea. Spaces may also cost less near the back of the store or upstairs. Hope that helps!

  22. Suzanne Kloss
    April 6, 2018 at 3:11 am (11 months ago)

    Thanks for this info! It will help me as I prepare to set up my booth. The link to the best kinds of furniture to sell didn’t work. It took me to a screen that asked for my email. Is there some other way I can get it? Thanks.

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      April 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm (11 months ago)

      Hi Suzanne. Once you enter your email address, the guide will be emailed to you. After that, you will receive occasional emails from me – but you can unsubscribe at any time if you’re no longer interested. Hope that helps. 🙂

  23. Barbara McKinnon
    April 19, 2018 at 6:18 am (10 months ago)

    I rent a spot right now in Alabama and plan on moving back to Charleston. Would love to find a space to rent could you suggest any that have openings?

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      April 23, 2018 at 10:50 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi Barbara, I’m not familiar with that area. I’m in northwest Indiana. Good luck with your search!

  24. Sathi
    May 1, 2018 at 11:01 am (10 months ago)

    Hi Jen, I started out recently and my garage is already full and I was thinking about renting out a space as well. This article was so very helpful!

  25. Kappy
    May 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm (10 months ago)

    I’ve got a pre-newbie question 🙂 A friend already has a booth at an antique mall and I asked her if I could put some stuff in to see how I would like re-selling. What is the best way to handle booth cost? Percentage of total sales, percentage of my sales to her sales, give her a straight percentage? Each one gives a very different number! And what if sales don’t meet rent? I can’t really afford half of the rent, plus she has far more items than I do. I want it to be fair for both of us. Any input is appreciated.

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      May 7, 2018 at 11:31 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi Kappy. Since it’s your friend’s booth, she may have an idea of how she wants to handle it. I would think you should pay for the amount of space that you’ll be using. Or maybe she’ll just take a percentage of your sales. Also, be sure that your pieces compliment hers well, so it still looks like a cohesive space. I wish I could help more – Good luck to you!

  26. Catherine Schirmer
    June 21, 2018 at 9:23 am (8 months ago)

    Hi Jen, I just love that you wrote your amazing tips in 2014 and you’re still getting questions/comments in 2018. Fantastic! I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum, I will be renting out space that I have available in a 300 year old barn, in Connecticut, where I currently selling antiques. I’ve reached out to others in the area to get an idea on what they charge for rent. I really want to build food traffic in the barn. Can you tell me anything creative you’ve seen from the shop you’ve rented from in the way of marketing. Thanks so much. Cathy

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      June 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm (8 months ago)

      Thanks Catherine! Your new venture sounds very exciting. I actually switched stores about a year ago, and the one I’m in now does more marketing. They regularly feature finds on their FB page – they’ll set up a themed album and share a bunch of related photos there (spring, flowers, clocks, etc). They’re in a historic downtown area and they do events with other local businesses. They also sometimes offer crafty classes or charity fundraising events with special evening hours. I do wish they would use Instagram too – I find that’s a quickly growing marketing tool that a lot of vendors use, but not enough shop owners in my opinion. Using hashtags on Instagram is a good way to find others and grow a following. You can also do a pop-up market a few times a year and invite other vendors to set up tents outside the barn if the property is big enough. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Lucketts Store in VA – that might be a good one to look up and see how they market themselves. I hope that helps some – I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

  27. Ryan Austin
    July 24, 2018 at 9:42 am (7 months ago)

    Hey Jen,

    I am thinking about opening a booth at a local antique mall in Virginia. I am having trouble finding information about requirements/advice such as business registration, tax status (LLC vs Sole Proprietor), business regulations, etc. Do you know any good resources or any personal advice

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      July 25, 2018 at 3:37 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi Ryan, I would start by asking the store that you’re considering renting space in. You can also contact your state’s SBA to ask about requirements for a merchant/vendor space. Hope that helps – good luck!

  28. Rosalinda Rivera
    August 21, 2018 at 11:57 am (6 months ago)

    I would love to talk direct to you. I run a non profit and I am interestedd in this as a fundraiser.

  29. Gina
    August 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm (6 months ago)

    This is a great article for many I’m sure. I am VERY new, still in the “Do I want to try booth renting” stage and find your information very useful. The one question I still have is WHERE DO I FIND PLACES THAT RENT BOOTHS?? If in an online search what do I look under? I live in Colorado Springs and am struggling to find a starting shop.

    • Jen, Girl in the Garage
      September 5, 2018 at 7:49 am (6 months ago)

      Hi Gina,
      I would start by looking up antique stores and vintage shops within 45 minutes or so from you, and then visiting them to see which you like best. Once you find a couple, it should be easier to find others. You can ask the owners if they know of any others in the area. Or if there’s a vintage market in your area, visit and talk to the vendors. They will always know where the stores are, since a lot of them will have spaces in a store also. One other (last) option would be to look into consignment stores – but they usually want a big cut of your sales price, maybe 50%. I hope that helps some – good luck to you! Jen


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