Think you have the creative eye to become a flea market flipper? Well, you’re in luck! Chances are, with a little help, you could have a thriving side hustle!
Ever hear the phrase, “A good one is hard to find,” ? Well, in this day and age, the majority of us consume instead of reuse. We tend to buy cheaper for lower quality items. Not only is this bad for the earth it ends up costing us more in the long haul. Replacing items several times is never the most cost effective way. Since the market is more about quantity than quality, it makes finding good, solid items harder to locate without some searching. It seems daunting but this is actually good news for you! If you’re willing to do a little bit of looking and throw in some elbow grease, you’ll be on your way to success!
Know What You’re Looking For
Before you hit up every flea market in town make sure you know exactly what it is you’re looking for. There really isn’t any item you can go wrong with. As long as it’s worth more than you paid and what you’ll put into it, everything is fair game. The best starting items to look for are simple: Furniture and Designer labels.
–Furniture: When you’re on the lookout for furniture don’t waste your time with the cheap stuff. Look for solid wood, things with caning, and other vintage textures. If it has good bones then it’s worth investing in. Avoid materials like laminate and pressboard. These are not only harder to polish up but are not meant for longevity.
*Bonus Tip: Give it the sniff test. We are totally serious. If you smell lingering smoke odors or pet scents, give it a hard pass. While it’s possible to fix, it’s time-consuming and costly. You’ll see an avid flea market flipper use this trick before purchasing a piece too.
–Designer Labels: Solid designers never go out of style, even decades later. In fact, the more vintage the piece, the more you’ll likely be able to get for it.
Some designer names like Chanel, Gucci, and Dior are obvious wins. But don’t stop there! Lots of others will bring in a pretty penny as well. Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and even Ralph Lauren are brands that age nicely too.
*Bonus Tip: Always check the labels. Tags with “Union,” sewed into it are common markers for a great vintage find. If the City and State are on the label it’s likely vintage as well. If you’re not sure, check with The Vintage Fashion Guide’s Label Resource and see if you can find a match. It’s definitely a great resource to have as a new flea market flipper.
Check Your Sources
While becoming a good flea market flipper is relatively easy, you need to make sure you know what you’re buying first. If you see something you think you can profit from, check your sources. Don’t leave that up to chance. Never buy a piece before doing your research.
Along with verification checks (like the Label Resource above), make sure you pull out your phone and do a quick search. It only takes a few minutes and will ensure you’re not wasting your efforts.
Just because a piece has a designer name doesn’t always mean it’s worth a lot. The value becomes higher the rarer it is and what condition it’s in. If a company mass-produced something years ago, it’s likely it won’t fetch a good price. A quick search on eBay, Poshmark, or even OfferUp will give you a good idea of what you could actually sell it for.
*Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to factor in any repairing, updating or shipping fees into your pricing. If you only walk away with a $5 profit after all is said and done, it’s probably not worth your time.
Read More: Fun Thrift Store Finds
Use Your Imagination
This is where your creative brain will need to flex a bit. If you find a furniture piece that is solid, and great quality, get creative! As is it’s likely not appealing. Use your artistic imagination to see what it could be as opposed to what it currently is.
Take this cabinet for example. It’s not a lot to look at. It’s boring, dull and most people would walk away from it. Don’t judge a book by its cover just yet. Take in the dimensions, let it marinate in your brain. Try to see how you can transform seemingly boring pieces into stunning furniture people will want to buy.
The folks at Making Manzanita’s saw past its shabby appearance and saw the potential. After playing with a few ideas and grappling with their imagination, they were able to create a masterpiece. By simply adding paint, legs, and a few details, it’s completely transformed. That is the kind of creative work you’ll need to envision when looking to be a flea market flipper.
Read More: DIY Rooms Designed Just How You Imagined
Flea Market Flipper Tool Starter Kit
You’ve found a piece for a fantastic price and you’re ready to go for it! That’s wonderful! The next step is to properly prepare your tool kit for this project and any future projects.
The good news is you won’t need a lot! It’s amazing what you can achieve with just a few basic tools.
An Electric Sander: All good flea market flipper alumni have one of these bad boys. Sure, you could sand things by hand but the effort isn’t worth it. Grab one for under $30 and save yourself hours of time. Not to mention fewer blisters.
Paint Drop Cloth: Things tend to get a little messy. Throwing down a drop cloth like this one is key to containing the chaos. Save your floors from random paint streaks or spills by having one of these on hand.
Measuring Tape: There’s nothing worse than buying a piece of furniture and finding out it won’t fit in your car. Having a tape measure handy will save you from these sorts of blunders. The more time you spend as a flea market flipper, the more you’ll be able to eyeball and estimate but always, always measure.
A Quality Paint Brush: Many items will be able to get a fresh, new look with a coat or two of spray paint. That being said, vintage pieces tend to have more ornamental details than modern furniture. Engravings, texture, and the like will all be tricky to cover with spray. Investing in a good paintbrush to ensure all the nooks and crannies are taken care of is a safe bet.
Starting a new side hustle is always a little bit of a mixed bag. Some parts of you will be nervous, some parts excited and some ready to get out there! With these tried and true tips on your side, you’ll be a master flea market flipper in no time!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on DIY Flooring Installation.
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