In 2015 April Wilks went out on a limb and hosted her very first Vintage Pickin’ Barn Sale in her small town of Fyffe, Alabama.
So of course, as fate would have it, April emailed me February 2015 to inquire about how The Barn Sale Business could help get them started. Then through social media April and Vintage Pickin’ kept popping up on my news feed. I immediately hit that “Like” button and started following April and her amazing journey in this barn sale industry. We reconnected this past year and I have to say, she is doing GREAT things, has a wonderful attitude and a beautiful kind soul that truly loves people and her business.
In her latest blog post, What Sparked the Dream April writes, “After attending City Farmhouse and purchasing some AMAZING finds, I felt so inspired and motivated to put my PASSION into ACTION. It literally kept me up at night, it’s all I could think about. But still thinking I could never do this, could I?? My husband (who might I say, is the best partner I could ever ask for) and I traveled around the South to lots of shows over the next year gaining inspiration and of course always bringing home more pickin’ finds.
Our dream was to be able to bring the experiences we’ve had shopping at these sales to Alabama.
- In 2015 we hosted our VERY FIRST ‘Vintage Pickin’ Barn Sale’.
- In 2016 we hosted our second and our third Barn Sales.
- THIS YEAR we will host our fourth, fifth and sixth Vintage Pickin’ Barn Sales.”
So without further rambling, enjoy this quick Q&A session with April Wilks.
Where are you from?
I’m from the small town of Fyffe in the northeast corner of Alabama.
Where did the name “Vintage Pickin'” come from?
The name Vintage Pickin’ actually came from a late-night brainstorming session with my sister and brother-in-law. We were all literally just throwing out different ideas and trying to come up with something that matched my love of antiques & vintage. And, it was like once I said “Vintage Pickin’” it just stuck and we all knew that was gonna be the name.
What was your initial dream for your business?
The initial dream was to be able to bring the things that I was most passionate about and inspired by, to our community for others to experience. I really wanted to be able to share our farm, my love of vintage, and passion for decorating with our shoppers. It was my hope that women would be able to come to our farm with their spouses, closest friends or family and just spend the day together shopping, getting inspired, fellowshipping and hopefully leaving with a few items to help make their house a home using vintage and antiques!
What are your long term goals for your business?
We definitely want to continue to grow our show and the Vintage Pickin’ brand. We’ve tossed around lots of ideas for the future. One of those is to take Vintage Pickin’ on the road to other cities and states. We’re still praying about that one, but it’s definitely on the table. I would also love to be able to educate women and hopefully host some fun classes at our barn. I love to teach and help women find skills and talents that they didn’t even know was possible for them. Whether it’s making floral arrangements, learning how to stage your dining table or trying different paint techniques. So, that’s something we’ll be refining and hopefully developing in the future. I just hope to be an encouragement through my story for other women to use their God given talents, chase after their dreams and give them the confidence boost to do it no matter what it is.
What was your best lesson learned?
You can’t do it all on your own. In the beginning, I thought I could do this on my own. I realized real quick that it takes an army, a LARGE army and a lot of time and months of ground work. I am just one person and there are only so many hours in the day. Without God and his guidance everyday, and a lot of AWESOME friends and family, I don’t see how it could be done. Luckily, I do have great family and friends that help me. This is something I had to learn the hard way. I’ve had to become very comfortable with asking for help and that it’s ok, which was hard because I am a very independent person.
What was your hardest lesson learned?
The hardest lesson is that in the beginning not everyone is going to be as passionate as you are about your dream. Our goal was to get 35 vendors to believe in us and commit to set up for our first show. I bet we talked to over 300 vendors through cold calls, emails, dropping by their store, etc. We realized how hard it is to get people to take a risk on coming to a new show without statistics or anything to show them when you’re just getting started. But, I also learned how important it is to be confident and driven to meet your goals. I am so thankful to those vendors that said yes and took a chance with Vintage Pickin‘ and have been with us ever since! The lesson is: You can’t let a few no’s steal your passion…keep believing in your dream!
What inspires you?
Everything! Haha. But, really. Business-wise: I love seeing women succeed doing things they are passionate about. Watching women using their God-given talents to somehow manage a family all while running a business and doing the things they are passionate about is something that just sets me on fire and motivates me to keep on keepin’ on.
What is your best avenue to get your business noticed?
Social media for sure. In the beginning, we tested the waters and used just about every form of advertising there was. After 2 shows, we did a survey asking our shoppers how they found out about us and our shows. Around 87% said they found us through Facebook or Instagram. And, the other 13% was word-of-mouth. So, that let us know that the other forms of advertising was not where our audience was at. We decided to put the majority of our time and efforts into social media and good old fashioned ground work; meeting and talking to as many people as we can about our business.
Who is one person you look up to? Business or personal
Junk in the Trunk Vintage Markets (fb + insta) would definitely be a business I look up to. They started just as 2 friends having a sale in their neighborhood and have built a very successful business. I’ve followed them for a long time now and love seeing their business grow! The way they run their business, their setups and their passion behind what they do is truly inspiring to me!
What is something you look forward to the most at the barn sale?
I love the people. The shoppers and the vendors, both. The vendors become like family. I can’t wait for them to arrive. It’s like old friends you can’t wait to see again and catch up. I love getting to see all their amazing treasures that they’ve picked and wondering how their going to stage their booths. There’s honestly nothing better than on the day of, taking it all in an just watching everybody. Seeing how excited the shoppers get when they come through the gate. Watching them have a good time with their friends and run to their cars toting out armfuls of stuff that they couldn’t live without! It’s such an amazing feeling. It reminds me of why I’m in this business and I thank the Lord everyday for the opportunity.