Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tremendous Tips for Braving Spring Flea-Markets!

As the Spring season draws in, there is nothing better than getting up early on a Sunday morning and going for a meander around a flea market. One of the must-do's on the agenda of Lola & James' Berlin adventure was getting to one of the hugely popular flea markets that were littered around the City. After checking out a few online first, they opted for the Arkonaplatz market, located in the Mitte district, advertised as a haven for fans of Sixties & Seventies. Nom. 

The problem is, with the warmer weather also comes the larger crowd and the competition to bag yourself exquisite antiques and beautiful bargains heats up! At this time of year you need a plan as well as a good eye and it's also easy to feel overwhelmed by the vast array of knick-knacks on offer. So today we are sharing our top tips, that will hopefully help you have a successful trip around the flea-markets and as girls that love shopping, we like to think we know a thing or two... 


1. Arrive early - we're starting with an obvious one, it goes without saying. Not only are you putting yourself in the same privileged position as the rest of the savvy, flea-market frequenters to bag the bargains first, but it's also wise to be careful of item hoppers - a self-penned term ;)! That is, vendors browsing around the market early on, buying items and selling it on their own stall later in the day at an increased price! Apparently, it happens a lot more frequently than you think and sometimes items can jump from several stalls throughout the day and the price multiply each time!
2. Take cash - another obvious tip but in a day and age where we rely on carrying around our cash cards, it's so, so easy to forget to cash out for occasions like this and it would be simply tragic (we're not even being dramatic, tragic!) to miss out on something that you love, purely because you didn't have the cash on you!
3. Have an initial browse - As we mentioned earlier, it's really easy to be overwhelmed by the fast pace  and bumble of people crammed into compact markets not to mention the thousands upon thousands of items on offer.... just where do you start? We found that the best thing to do was to have an initial browse up and down all the aisles to get a feel for what sort of things were on offer before heading back to take a closer look at the things which caught our eye! Remember, most flea markets are open all day (9am-5pm) so take your time :) 

4. Make a wish list - it's so much easier to find something you'll love for years to come if it's something that will have a place in your home. Make a wishlist beforehand, even if you divert from the list for a couple of impromptu bought items, it keeps a sense of focus when browsing amongst the variety of knick-knacks available... it's easy to get carried away with no-so-practical purchases when it's all sittin' pretty! 

5. Buy old - Resist the urge to buy something new. At the Arkonaplatz market, vendors had also set up darling stalls full of home-made and vintage looking jewellery (Egyptian inspired beetle jewels & cameo necklaces, gah!) as lovely as they looked, it seems a shame to browse around a flea market, only to come home with something brand new that you could search out online. Keep to the old and the antique and then you'll truely feel like you've found a treasure!

6. Colour vision - Seems silly but it does work...use colour to scan out items from your favourite eras. Colour pops of bright orange kept catching my attention and pulling me towards wonderful stands full of 60s and 70s delights!

7. Do your research - This really does help! If you have access to internet on your phone, use it! This way you have a much greater idea of how much an item is really worth before you pay or barter... you could even show the vendor the prices that you've found to see if this will encourage them to knock off a little more dollar! James fell in love with a beautiful sounding harmonica from the 50s on one of the stalls, the vendor was adament that the price offered was a bargain... a quick browse on ebay soon uncovered that you could get them a little cheaper online! There's nothing worse than feeling fooled by a confident seller! 

8. Stay friendly & polite - although it might not aid your quest for lustrous bargains too much, remember that the majority of items on offer are probably from private collections or the seller's own possessions. Be respectful of sentimental value and use this to your advantage to find out as much information as you can about the items - it's always lovely to have a bit of backstory! 


9. Take a tape measure - At Twee Towers, practicality is not always our forte... remember we bought our sofa without even considering the shape or size of the living room before moving in... luckily it fitted! For bulkier, house hold items, being able to measure will be a useful tool and will save you tediously lugging around a chest of drawers only to find it's too big to fit anywhere!


10. Look past the wear and tear - we all get suckered in by pretty, visual merchandising and artistic set ups but some of the best antique junk looks just like it sounds... junk! We stumbled across a stall that at first glance looked like boxes upon boxes of recycled metal, on closer inspection they housed the most charming, ornate brass door knobs that would make an amazing feature on wooden drawers and dressers... and sooo much cheaper than you would pay elsewhere! At Twee Towers we live by the mantra that almost everything can be fixed, scrubbed up and upcycled!

11. A bonus tip - enjoy yourself! How often do you get to spend a day drifting around troves of vintage and antique treasure? Buying is much more interesting when you have to work to find your goods! 


We hope you enjoyed today's tips... happy shopping :)

Much love, 
L&R xx


Lisa {A Piece of Lisa} said...

Lovely photos and some great tips!

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