Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time in flea markets. And like all collectors and dealers, we're inspired by the hunt. There is a magnetic pull that entices you through alley ways of junk in the hope of spotting elusive treasures that no one else see’s or falls in love.
So whether you’re in the puce in Paris or your local weekend market give these flea-market tips a try when perusing stalls and trestle tables.
Tip No. 1 | Take time to get your ‘flea-market’ eyes on.
Time is your best friend at a market; slow down and enjoy the search. Even when not working I love to spend a morning wandering through markets and garage sales; especially with a girlfriend in tow who has a different eye to mine. My favourite flea-market wanderer is Carmen, who has an uncanny knack of finding small objet from which she refashions into whimsical one-of-a-kind brooches & jewellery. It pays to go with someone who is not looking for the same thing :)
*Take a girlfriend, this way you will be able to buy whatever you want!
Tip No.2 | Starting early is often the key...but not always
Whilst we are often up with the birds to make it to the markets, don’t fret if you’re not an early riser. I have found some gems later in the day, like this delightful collection of ceramic ladies in 1920’s bathing costumes on a rather crowded table at Port De Vanves & a good 20thC table lamp at Surry Hills market... not at the crack of dawn but at quite a leisurely hour later in the morning.
Tip No. 3 | Be regular, get to know your market
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this could not be truer of those that visit markets; both the stall holder and the hunter. Every stall has its own charm and character - if you go often enough you will find that special someone who seems to have the same taste as you. But buyer beware it can become an expensive hobby or habit…
Tip No.4 | Be friendly & BYO cash!
Personally, my goal is never bargain hunting at flea markets, I'm really looking for beauty at a good price. It could be the colour, shape or the way something is made, it may be useful or useless. But if you see something that you love & it seems like a bit of steal, have a haggle and enjoy the fun of buying it - with cash :)
Tip No.5 | Make Memories
Sometimes in your travels you might find something that you love, but have no plan for it, (like these Italian wall lights). Pieces like this can be a sweet reminder of a particular trip, a place and a time. We picked these two 1940's scissor action lights off a table of pre-loved wares in Italy and just had them installed in our shack in Byron. They're perfect!
Tip No. 6| There are no rules in what to collect – Create your own.
When visiting clients in their homes they'll often ask me what to do with heirlooms and hand-me-downs. Pieces that are sentimental but don’t really have a place. Depending on the item, these pieces can be the starting point for a collection. Be it is silverware, glass, ceramics, old books or even breadboards. By grouping objects together there is an opportunity to create your own curated collection; as well as giving you a focus at your next flea-market or garage sale :)
Scouring second-hand places and flea markets is in my blood. I cannot not un-see a roadside market or a garage sale sign ! But like so many things in life it has become second nature - a familiar old friend. These days I tend to stumble upon treasures when I least expect it (like this little clock) … so my advice is to just keep looking you may be surprised by what you find 😊
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