May 2016 Brimfield Show Recap

Brimfield is back! Not that it ever went away, but the May 2016 show was almost unanimously the biggest and best in years. The traffic was backed up on Route 20 for miles every day, which hasn’t happened in years. The weather was almost perfect and the fields were chock full of dealers and shoppers all doing what they came to do.

We had an exciting, fun and exhausting week there promoting the smartphone app we developed specifically for Brimfield. Being in our position, completely independent of any show management, comes with lots of challenges. However, it also gives us a unique vantage point of the show as a whole. In addition to having our finger on the pulse of social media for the show, we talk to hundreds of dealers across practically every field, field owners, staff, food vendors and thousands of shoppers throughout the week. 
Brimfield is not for the faint of heart. It’s not the easiest show to shop and it’s even more difficult to work there. The dealers and food vendors are some of the hardest working people I know. Many booths take days to set up and it’s not easy work. The show days are long and some start at sunrise. You are outside and exposed to fickle New England weather which can be extreme. Most dealers are far away from home, either staying in hotels or sleeping at the field at night. All of this can be a lot of fun but it can also take a lot out of you. 
We are local so we usually sleep at home every night. This week we decided to stay on Monday to be there bright and early on opening day. Of course it was 32 degrees overnight! But sweet little Wilma (our vintage camper) kept us relatively warm and we loved being there to see the crazy show opening!
Click here to read more about our vintage camper renovation
One trend we definitely noticed were the large number of younger shoppers at this show. This has been building for a while as social media seems to be playing a huge part in creating awareness of what, when and where Brimfield is. Dealers kept commenting to us about the noticeably younger demographic. Brimfield has something for everyone at every price range, but this younger generation seem particularly interested in farmhouse style, mid-century modern and industrial decor. Vintage clothing was one of our most searched for categories and we spoke to many shoppers who came to the show specifically to seek out the growing number of dealers who specialize in it. 
Bird Brain Vintage has a cheerful vintage clothing booth
The Mahogany Ridge Fashion Tent is a multi-dealer vintage clothing extravaganza
Industrial salvage at Scrapped and Found  
Vintage Retriever always has a beautifully styled booth of farmhouse decor
Kingsbury Antiques always has beautiful mid-century pieces
Regardless of age, there were also a huge number of first time shoppers. They were all having a great time but there was literally no end to the stream of overwhelmed, confused first time shoppers who were happy for any help. Of course we always suggest that both new and veteran shoppers download the app to make navigating the show a bit easier. It has a handy show schedule, an overview map of the fields, all the port-a-potty locations, info on food vendors and it can help you find dealers you may have missed otherwise. Download it before you come to help you plan out some must-see booths. If you still need help at the show, use it to find us! We are always happy to help if we can and we are there every day. 
Tools & Things
The Textile Trunk
The number one question shoppers always have, is how they can find specific items or dealers. There is way too much ground to cover and there is no way to see every booth. This results in too many people leaving without that special thing they came for. A shopper once said to us “But walking around looking is what Brimfield is all about.” A man overheard our conversation and replied “You know what’s even better than looking for an item? Finding it.” We couldn’t agree more! Meandering around the show is part of the Brimfield experience but wouldn’t it be nice to make the most of all those miles you are going to walk anyway?
Last week we had a shopper tell us they had been searching for comic books for three hours and had only found one booth. Another was looking for musical instruments and not having luck. Those items were absolutely there somewhere and if people can’t find what they want, they are less likely to keep coming back! We are working hard at each show to sign up more and more dealers. We want it to keep growing into a live up-to-date directory that helps shoppers find what they came to the show for. If you searched for something in the app and didn’t get the results you wanted, try again at the next show!
Between now and the July show we will also be analyzing the 10,000+ searches done in the app during the May show and using that data to help us target more dealers. We will also use it to help existing dealers optimize their keywords. We want everyone going home happy!

This show brought lots of new shoppers but there were also a lot of new dealers. I have a feeling this is a trend that will continue as well. These dealers are learning how to do Brimfield their own way, just like the more experienced dealers did at one time. Using technology to connect to buyers seems to come naturally to them.

Maison Decor and Pioneer Goods combined efforts for their first Brimfield
Dan Kierstead Auctions set up at the September 2015 show for the first time
Emily Shellenberger was also set up for her second Brimfield
Fox Den Antiques was a first time dealer and is also a Brimfield resident
The show started off strong and kept it’s momentum up going into the weekend. Saturday and Sunday were both busy fun days too. The atmosphere was a bit different, but it always is. The crowd changes from mostly serious buyers to mostly casual shoppers just there to enjoy the sights and food and buy a trinket or two. But we heard lots of dealers say they sold more larger  pieces over the weekend than they typically do and everyone was generally in good spirits.
Eat Sleep Vintage
We had a very interesting and busy week of networking, promoting the app to shoppers, promoting our dealers to shoppers, signing up new dealers, supporting our existing dealers and helping shoppers. There was never a dull moment and nothing pleases us more than dealers having such a successful show. We hope the momentum will continue into July and September. Speaking of which, be sure to mark your calendars for the July and September show dates!
Did you attend the May show? If you did, we would love to see what you brought home! Share your #brimfieldfinds with us on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll leave you with a few more shots of last week while I get back into the swing of normal non-Brimfield life.
Thanks for following!
Silver Hippopotamus
The Mahogany Ridge Fashion Tent
the good home
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