Sure, we're looking forward to spring's warmer temps and gorgeous flowers. But there's another big reason we're eyeing our calendars: the start of flea market season. To get into the bargain hunter mindset, we spoke with Lara Spencer, lifestyle anchor on Good Morning America and creator and host of HGTV's “Flea Market Flip” about the show's upcoming second season premiere, her best go-to tips for thrifting and her favorite antiquing haunts.
"The concept of the show is simple," she told us. "It's one part treasure hunt, one part design and one part competition show." Each episode takes place at a market, where teams of two are unleashed with $500 and a list of specific items to hunt for that they can reinvent and resell for profit. For example, Spencer tells us "they may need to find a piece that has really good bones, and is solidly built, but it just needs a new life." She says it's so fun to see how the teams respond to the different challenges. The winners, those who are able to resell their revamped pieces for more, win a grand prize of $5,000.
We couldn't resist asking Spencer what her favorite finds of all time are, and she told us she particularly flips over 1960s club chairs -- she's bought too many to count. One pair in particular that she scored for only $80 had "a hideous floral fabric and was covered in plastic." Yuck! But, she told us, the key to flea marketing is looking past the surface to see the potential.
Lara Spencer shared her other wise tips for a successful day at the sales:
1. Always carry a notebook with ideas, dimensions and inspirational photos. Spencer says, "Finding you style is like putting puzzle pieces together."
2. Have an open mind.
3. Get there early.
4. Go to the last row first and make your way back. (OK, this one may be superstitious!)
5. Go through the entire market twice -- you'll catch things you missed the first time.
6. Don't hesitate to buy something you love. You snooze, you lose.
7. Cash is king. It's much harder to negotiate for a good price when you paying with a credit card.
8. Kill 'em with kindness. This one's from Spencer's mother -- don't ever insult a seller's goods or prices.
9. No idea where to start? Spencer suggested first going to high-end antique shops first so when you're hunting for bargains at the markets you'll know when you've found a deal.
"Flea Market Flip" premieres Friday, March 15th, when Spencer and contestants head to New York's Stormville Airport Flea Market. Click through photos for a sneak peek.
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