Belle Roche Brocante

My new business is 5 weeks old today! The concept has been years in the “what iffing” and, back in October, I finally took the plunge and decided to give it a go. I’m now the proud online seller of authentic French vintage decorative items at 😀 Quite a change from a career in technology!

It’s been a huge learning curve….getting the website up and running was trickier than expected (my tech skills came in handy, but not as handy as you might expect!), but the end result looks pretty good, and I’ll continue to tweak it. Shopify tells me that I’m in the top 3 online stores that launched on their platform that week 👍

Online marketing is something I’m still getting to grips with, getting good traffic from Google Ads and FaceBook, people are signing up to the newsletter, but SERIOUSLY need to lift my Instagram game and start reaching out to the interiors professions. So, lots to get stuck into in the coming weeks 💪

Wishing you all a happy, healthy & peaceful 2018 xx

So, what have I learned (so far)?

F19C2E4C-10C3-412F-903B-A93E823975B3First and foremost….yes, it’s possible to source interesting, well-priced items in reasonable quantities. Yes, that involves a reasonable amount of digging around in manky cardboard boxes at the crack of dawn…..but that’s what those hand wipes are for! The best sources are the larger, regular markets which attract professional & semi-pro sellers. Yes, I had some lucky finds at some very dodgy markets, but need to consider time/effort trade-off. Have also got a much better idea now about how to identify the better markets (reading between the French lines, so to speak).

Lots of really funky mid-century stuff surfacing, gave me some new inspiration, and lots of slightly bigger pieces that I would have loved to have bought. Definitely need to sort out local transportation & storage….again, starting to refine my thinking 🤔 and btw how brilliant is the TGV?? Australia seriously needs one of those 🚄 Sooo wanted to source some old French linen, but, the one time I found a promising seller, I had to leave early 😐 this is definitely on the list for the next buying trip….

My accent and semi-mangled French are not a disadvantage, and led to lots of friendly banter with brocante sellers. It has also helped when asking for a discount, once you’re polite and not taking the piss. Also, a smile goes a long way 😀 Over the entire trip, the vast majority of French people I met were friendly, helpful & interested, even when they were completed baffled by what I was doing! 🤓 It was also interesting that older women, in particular, were incredibly supportive of my having a go at doing something completely different 👊💪

I’m still not a morning person! Don’t think that’s going to change…no matter how early I get to bed 😴 that said, even though the markets do start super-early, it wasn’t unusual to see sellers pulling up in their vans at 9.30/10.00….so, all is not lost if I don’t get there by 7.00 😅 also figured out that it’s better to give myself more time (not just 24 hours) in a place. There are other sources besides the official markets, so best to have more time to explore up your sleeve. TBH there’s also a need for some time out….lots of travelling, early starts, carrying heavy loads around and speaking another language are pretty tiring (am sure it gets easier once you know where you’re going).