Wink & Flip
Many of my peers look at my business success and think it was some kind of wizardry that got me to where I am now. It’s true that I’m 21 years old, have a thriving fashion jewelry business, a website (struggling), accounts with boutiques, and my products in magazines like Teen Vogue. But my success did not come overnight.
I began with a table in the basement of a church in Queens, NY where I live. Then I added one more church. At the holidays I tried to be at a church flea market on every Saturday and Sunday from Thanksgiving to December 25th. Most times my mother came with me because she wanted to look out for me. I was handling a lot but I was still only 15 and dealing mostly with adults.
It was a lot of hard work. Sometimes the event was not well publicized and the only customers I had were the people who wandered in after a church mass. But I stuck with it. I learned to give change, make my set up look good, and I talked to other vendors. I ate more than my share of chips and soda while waiting for the end of the day to come. But I also made some money. Church flea markets usually charge just $25-$35 to rent a table at a flea market, so it’s a good way to get started. My business grew slowly, but that’s why it’s still around. I graduated from church flea markets to street fairs held around the city. Overnight I went from less than a hundred customers to thousands of people walking past my table. For two years, that’s how I made money.
The work never stops. Two years ago, I opened a website, www.winkandflip.com , and started selling every Saturday on the Lower East Side at the Hester Street Fair. The fair is a mix of vintage/antiques, gourmet foodm, and crafts. I’m part of a community of vendors there. It’s new to me to work every single Saturday but I enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to balancing work and school this semester.
If I had to name three secrets to my success I’d say they were: