I am crazy excited to start writing guest blogs for ‘Surrounded By Pretty’. I am a designer in Los Angeles, and a crazy obsessed blogger for Rhiannons Interiors. I enjoy writing about all things design and I look forward to having more posts featured on this site.
So, I begin with Flea Markets. Who doesn’t love a good flea market? There really is something about finding that perfect unique piece that no one else has. Then transforming it and bartering for a great deal. There is still time left in this years flea market season, so be sure to get your shopping in. Here are some tips to help you find, and then get, what you need.
Arrive Early. Most flea markets start pretty early in the morning. Some offer the option of paying more to get in earlier than others, and I say do it. This is absolutely a great benefit to you. You’d be surprised how much of that great stuff is gone just because you wanted to sleep in. Starbucks opens up early. Get a large caffeinated beverage of your choosing, and get to the market as it opens. You will find all of the great deals before someone else gets to em.
Come Prepared. There are some items that you really should try to bring to ensure a less stressful and more beneficial flea market outing. Be sure to bring:
A List (try to not stray too far off of your list)
Pen and Paper (Keep note of where your favorite items are, and you can keep track of money spent)
Cart or Bag (Don’t avoid something just because your scared to have to haul it around)
Tape Measurer (Don’t get something that is too big or too small. Check out the dimensions for yourself)
Good Shoes (Be ready to do A LOT of walking. Don’t tire out too quickly)
Go Through the Whole Thing At Least Once. I know they can be large and quite overwhelming, but try to walk through the whole thing. Yes, some times you will see everything you want from the first vendor you spot. However more often than not, you will be disappointed to find out you are seeing all of the good stuff after you have already made your purchases. This is also another reason why its nice to go early. You still have time to beat the rush even after you’ve made your way through the whole place. It helps to get a lay of the land.
Love it? Buy it! I do recommend walking around before buying too hastily, but if you pass on something you really love it might not be there later. You know what you’re looking for, and if you think you have found the perfect piece don’t hesitate. Chances are you are not the only person who likes this item.You can’t imagine how disappointing it is to come back for something and it’s no longer there. If an items scares you it won’t stick around, then just go for it.
Style and Shape Before Color. You can paint an item. You can reupholster an item. However it is rather difficult to change the overall style of it. So if you like it, be open to its possibilities.
Buy Used, Not New. Flea Markets are great because of all of their vintage items. They have a past, and real character. You can go anywhere for a new lamp. I’d avoid the booths that have new items. They are way too expensive and not at all worth it.
Go a lot. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it. You will become a pro after just a few short trips.
Haggle. I know, I know. This seems obvious to many of you. However I see it time and time again, people refuse to barter for a good item. This is just part of the flea market experience. The seller expects to hear some kind of counter offer for an item. Which is why they usually over price something. It is really hard for many to accomplish this particular task. Trust me, I used to be one of them. I have learned that if you are ridiculously nice, they want to work with you. Always counter with a number that is quite a bit lower, and they will usually meet you in the middle. Plus be sure they give you a price first. Haggling does take practice but its worth it. I love showing off my latest find, and then adding what kind of deal I got on it.
In the end, have fun and go with an open mind. Anything can happen, and this is part of the charm.