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Flea Marketing Shopping Tips: It’s in the Bag

on Apr 30, 2014 in Home and Garden

With spring finally here, flea market season kicks into high gear. Brimfield is a month away, the Brooklyn Flea has returned to its outdoor venue, and for those that run year-round, like Les Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen, warmer weather means bigger crowds, fierce competition, and the need for a game plan.

We caught up with interior designer Scott Sanders who has been shopping the Brimfield Antique show for 13 years to get his advice on how to prepare for your day of shopping, navigate the hundreds of vendors, and sift through the thousands of items to ensure you don’t walk away empty handed.

Dress in layers. With pre-dawn arrivals and afternoon departures, temperatures can vary wildly at outdoor shows. Sanders recommends multiple, lightweight layers that you can easily take on and off.

Leave your Rolex at home. Don’t wear expensive clothes, jewelry, or watches. “If you are trying to negotiate, you’ll have a better chance if you’re dressed down.”

Come prepared, but travel light. Sanders recommends bringing a backpack with water, a snack, sunscreen, and a hat. “It sounds like you are going into the army,” says Sanders of his list, but he warns, “You don’t want to bring anything extra, you might be walking around for six hours.”

Wear comfortable shoes. Sneakers are essential. If you arrive early and spot something you really want, be prepared to go for it. “People run!” says Sanders of the eager shoppers who will literally race to a booth once the show has opened. “The first time I saw it, I was in shock.” Now, Sanders admits, he has become one of them.

Bring a friend. To cover the most ground, shop with a companion. “You can divide and conquer.” Sanders has often divvied up the aisles with a friend—he’s even used walkie-talkies to communicate at the bigger shows.

…But don’t take your clients. While he’s taken clients to Brimfield on a few occasions, Sanders cautions against it—especially if you’ve never shopped the show yourself.

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