Interior designer Elizabeth Bauer has a true passion for flea marketing. She loves mixing eras, patterns, colors, and textures, and finds that flea marketing is a great way to find inspiration and great products. Her love of unusual, unique home goods, all things lucite, and feminine finds can be seen in her West Village store Elizabeth Bauer Design. The store is filled with vintage high-end furnishings and accessories for the home, almost all of which are one-of-a-kind, refurbished antiques that reflect her modern eye.
Elizabeth recently shared her favorite flea marketing tips with me. She notes that, "Flea marketing can be very overwhelming if you are not a regular, since there is so much stuff to look at and in no specific organized format."
Eager to hear Elizabeth's tips? Then read more.
Elizabeth Bauer's Flea Marketing Tips
- Identify one or two items that you are looking for prior to arriving at the market. For example, I am looking for a great lamp and would like to add to my silver collection. By pinpointing exactly what you want, your eye is already trained to look for these items instead of getting lost in what sometimes can feel like a lot of junk.
- Trust your eye. Since there is sometimes so much to choose from at a flea market, it can be very hard to make quick decisions. Always go for what you noticed first. I have missed out on so many great things because I changed my mind at the last minute and, for example, decided to buy the item right next to it only to go back an hour later and find that it was gone! These mistakes have caused me many sleepless nights as I’m always on the lookout for unique finds to sell in my store, Elizabeth Bauer Design.
- The early bird gets the worm. If you are a serious collector, you must arrive at the markets early. Chances are you are not the only one out there collecting this certain something. I collect vintage, linen, cocktail napkins and trust me, they go fast! Last week, I arrived 30 minutes later than I normally do, at the Antique Garage, one of my favorite local markets (25th and 6th Ave in NYC), and lost out on a perfect set of six linen napkins with my monogram. They were one of a kind so I will never see them again.
- Network with the dealers. If you are looking for something very specific within a certain genre, don't be afraid to ask the dealer if they have what you are looking for. Dealers have so much more than what you are seeing in their booths on any given Sunday morning. I have gotten so many great things this way. Even if they don't have it they may be able to send you to one of their dealer friends in the aisle over.