April Wilks is a wife, a mom of two, and founder of Vintage Pickin’ in Fyffe, Alabama. Vintage Pickin’ is a semiannual market which showcases vintage, antique, and repurposed items from all over the Southeast. April started the business in 2015.
Before her inaugural Vintage Pickin’ event, she cold-called 350 potential vendors and asked them to participate. Let’s just say she got really comfortable hearing the word “no.” But she refused to call it quits, because this idea kept tugging at her heart.
Twenty-five vendors eventually agreed to take a chance on her first Vintage Pickin’ sale. She charged each vendor a booth rental fee, which paid for her to rent the space. Then she sold entry tickets to shoppers, which is how she turned a profit. And despite having less booths than she hoped for, she had a great turnout of shoppers—1,500!
As she planned and promoted her next event, she realized the business was running her instead of the other way around. “It’s hard,” she says, “Because we’re not selling a product—we’re an event. We make all our money at one time and then promote and promote until the next event.”
That’s why April decided to attend to the very first Business Boutique event in Nashville. She came away from that weekend focused, inspired, and with a strong business plan. She also became aware that she wasn’t utilizing a major tool for free marketing: social media.
“At that point, I was in the Starter phase and really didn’t know how to use social media for my business. So I hired a part-time contractor to come in and help me,” she says. “Once she got to work, our social media account really took a big jump in numbers!”
April’s smart social media moves rose awareness and directly affected the growth of her next few markets. Her last Vintage Pickin’ market attracted 2,100 customers! Now she only works at her day job part-time, and is adding a third event per year. How cool is that?
Another obstacle April had to overcome was “mom guilt.” She says, “I carried a lot of guilt in the beginning just because I was working two jobs. But my kids love it. In fact, I was lying in the bed with my son one night and I asked him, ‘What do you think about mommy doing Vintage Pickin’?’ He said ‘Mom, of course I love it. It’s the best thing ever. You’re so good at it!’”
Her 9-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter sell at the market now, too! Her son sells birdhouses he builds himself, and her daughter has a lemonade stand. “It’s so sweet to see them be able to wrap their minds around a business and being an entrepreneur,” she smiles.
April says the biggest fear she continues to struggle with is the fear of failure. “The month before, I end up thinking, We’ve told people we’re having this sale, and what if nobody shows up? There’s always that fear of failure.”
That’s one thing she says she loves about the sisterhood of women in Business Boutique. Everyone has the same internal struggles.
“To be part of this group, or at the Business Boutique event, surrounded by that many people . . . it really just gives you that sense of ‘Okay, I can do this. I’m not alone,’” she says. “It’s really motivating and inspirational.”
April learned so much from the first event that she decided to come back with her new team as it grew—that team being her husband and two part-time contractors.
“It’s just like anything else—you go to a church revival and you come home all fired up, and then three months later, you’re like, ‘I need to go back.’ Because you come home and life happens. And so I wanted to come back and get that fire again and get focused on that vision. And this time I had a team.”
I love how April found ways to make her business work with her life, and that she wasn’t afraid to get help in the areas she needed it.
If you’re like April and just need a little help running your business, I wrote Business Boutique for you. I’ve seen first-hand how chasing your dream has the power to change your life. You just need a plan to get there. This book is your step-by-step guide to starting or growing a business, and on every page I’m cheering you on!