Jun 28, 2006

Flea-marketing 101

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What a thrill to open the current issue of St. Louis at Home magazine and see a photo of me grinning with my latest find at a local flea-market. In this July issue of the magazine I give the readers some of my tips on shopping a flea-market and how I use my finds in my apartment of the store. The feature also shows several photos of my apartment which houses my one-of-kind finds. (By the way, the apartment photos were taken by me.) If you get a chance, pick up a copy for the full article…or go to my website www.elizabethhouse.us to view it….I will be uploading it in the near future.

Flea-markets are really more about the thrill of the hunt really – at least for me. I think that back in the caveman days, I wouldn’t have stayed behind in the cave to “gather” and prepare food with the cavewomen – I would have been with the cavemen (much to their disdain, I’m sure) “hunting” for the best “kill.”

But if you approach flea-marketing with a good sense of humor and fun, the experience will be great. Now, I do this for a living, so I would not be a great companion at a flea-market….I am very fast, I talk very little (I am constantly calculating my costs and resale value in my head), and I move – really move through the booths in what has been described by some as a “crazy” way to shop. But believe me, there is a method to my madness. Really – there is a method…okay maybe more madness than method….

But below are “normal” tips for the novice and the seasoned alike:

Wear a purse – do not carry one! Keep your hands free.

Go early – REALLY early to avoid crowds and to get the best pickins.

Do not suggest a reduced price to the dealer – that is rude.

Instead, ask what is the best price he/she can do?

If you buy several items from one dealer, ask for a group discount if he/she is able to
Bring handy wipes – your hands will get dirty!

Bring durable shopping bags – not all dealers provide them.

Load blankets and towels in your car to protect breakables and

avoid scratches when loading them all up to take home.

Bring a tape measure – and your measurements if you have specific needs.

Be willing to pay more than you wanted to – if you really, really love something.

You will be sorry that you didn’t spend that extra $5 for something you really loved.

Bring a buddy that isn’t looking for the same items/style as you –

you will be competing all day long with each other - which can test even the best of friendships!


I have shopped at flea-markets all over Europe, the East Coast, well basically all over the U.S. And they all have one thing in common: every dealer wants to sell and every shopper wants to buy. That is a good formula for success if you ask me.

Happy hunting and the next time you are at a flea-market and you see a little whirlwind of dust being kicked up… there is a good chance that I am there doing some serious shopping!

From my house to your house,
Elizabeth

1 comment:

tongue in cheek said...

The rules are the same in France!

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