Is there a strategy or science to scouring flea markets?
It’s amazing how people who have one good thing often have another. There is also efficiency about the market. If there is one good thing in a bad stall, it usually disappears pretty quickly, so you have a short time frame. People with good taste are consistent.
Can you talk to us about flea market rules of etiquette?
The classic one is you put your finger on some thing if you are interested in it, and you make sure your hand is on it while you are trying to get the dealer’s attention. You want to convey ownership—or potential ownership—until you make the deal. If someone is talking about something you never come along and say, “I will give you your asking price,” and trump it. You give people girth until they make their deal or they don’t make their deal.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from your years of shopping flea markets?
When I first started I just had passion, and I probably paid too much on a lot of occasions. But if you go enough, you realize that certain things will reappear in markets so you don’t necessarily feel the anxiousness, like, “Oh my God if I don’t buy this I am never going to see it again!”
What are some of your greatest finds?
One thing that stands out, I bought a whole notions store from Barcelona.