When I fly, I am most stressed at takeoff and landing.

Everything in between is easy.  Sort of like Vintage Garage Chicago.  In the vintage market world, the real trouble is usually in the takeoff.

 Load-in can change the personality of even passive, constantly sweet vendors can slip.  I admit it. My own personality can take a dramatic turn.  I know the feeling all too well as a dealer, and now as a promoter.
What causes this dark phenomenon?  Stress. 
It's a LOT to do in a short amount of time. There is planning and strategy on both sides as dealers and promoters.  It's completely understandable.  In our case, doing the Garage in one day makes it really tight.  It adds an element of stress you might not have felt otherwise. It's not a leisurely set up for anyone.


You load your vehicle full of  merchandise.  Get gas, make sure the oil isn't low. You head for the city.  The usual route has a closure you didn't know about.
It turns you in a completely different direction and now you are behind.
By the time you arrive you're behind 10 cars. You start to calculate minimum set up time and how you can make it up and add a little pre-shopping. Time gets tighter and tighter. The line is not moving. Tapping and starting to sweat,  It's finally your turn.  Booth is right ahead, it should be OK.   Now can't find you on the list. WTH?  This builds into possible panic or explosion.  "I know I paid.  I saw it, I know I have the receipt!!"
Two long minutes go by while they try to find out why you're not on the list. This makes your face red. Two more minutes and they found your info and your space. Time to get moving, all fine.
You drive up to your space and someone is loading into it already. Your head explodes everyone gets upset. The rest is history.  It happens to the best of us.


A big specific plan goes forward each month to get vendors in as quickly as possible. It's a matter of numbers and sizes.  We try to put together a puzzle of dealers and fit them together in the best configuration possible. Shit happens all the time when those pieces start moving around.  We all want the same thing, show success but promoters are people too and will lose it.
It's a good reminder that getting upset and angry just makes it worse. This isn't good for sales.  I am lucky I'm not normally part of the load-in process. I focus on the parts I'm good at it and it reduces my stress level by about 1000%. All thanks to my logistics director, Jim.  Just try your best to be kind and we will do the same.  Take your time, smile and breath!

How to relieve some pre-show stress 

 Don't be shy

It doesn't hurt to reach out and say hi, I'll see you Sunday for my full space and two tables! It's smart until you get into the routine and on a consistent basis and this should go for any show.  Make sure if you are going to do this, you do it about a week before, not the day before.

Read the information given AND follow the rules and instructions.

If you have a question, READ IT FIRST.    I know we didn't put our load in info together for fun.  We did it so we are on the same page.  I've been guilty of not reading the instructions emailed or mailed. Sometimes I just want to GO.  But it's annoying to others so I try not to.

 Prepare ahead

 You set yourself up for disaster if you're doing everything at the last minute.  DO NOT WAIT until the morning of to load your car, get gas and anything else you need to do. You are starting off under pressure.
Put together a plan. Start 10 days out.  Work up to the day of the show so that you're not in a position to do everything at once.  If you're calm when you arrive the gate and you have a situation you won't be as stressed about it and it's harder to get ramped up if something doesn't go according to plan. This is because of your prior planning and you aren't worried about what still needs to be priced.

Join the group

 Not all shows have a private group on Facebook but we do and in the event of a change, notification, a new show or any kind of announcement, I post there first.  The dealers who are most involved are the ones with the least problems. Insider info and knowing everyone involved always helps defuse stress.

Be nice

Nice always wins. We know anyone can lose it and it's usually a one time thing. We also know those who can always lose it.
 When you're rude to people who can solve the problem, whether they created it or not,  they might not want to help you anymore.
That's just human nature.  At a market you aren't going to get extra attention or extra booth space if it came up. That's the last thing you want to do if someone has just verbally ripped you.
Same goes for promoters, be nice and take it out of line.
We are all there to sell and make money. Just like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, when problems occur we should take it outside or away from the other vendors.   Promoters and vendors should always be on the same page.   Groups are strong when they work together.  The Vintage Garage is lucky to have GREAT consistent dealers.
Load-in freak outs from staff or dealers are rare but when they happen, we overcome!
Our combined success is so important. Commit to working together whether you are a dealer or a promoter and start every show you do with a smile on your face.

P.S. Check out the video below for a great example of what NOT to do! 

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Don't be like her.

Why load-in makes vintage dealers crazy

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