Life in Red Lipstick | Tips for local treasure hunting

by Natalie Ulm

The birds are singing, the temperature is warming up and the sun is (mostly) shining. For a vintage and antique hunter like me, that means only one thing: flea market, estate sale and yard sale season. Dealers have been collecting all winter long, and I can’t wait to see what I can score in this summer’s treasure hunts.

I’m often questioned about how I discover such gems—I’ve been thrift shopping and digging through bins at yard sales since I was a little girl. My mother and grandmothers are amazing bargain-hunters. It’s in my blood, but these skills can be learned, too. Here are a few of my tips for attending any flea or estate event… Whether you’re a beginner or a historic hoarder, keep these points in mind and you’ll be golden.

Arrive early. Remember, the early bird gets the vintage.

Bring cash. I’ve never met a dealer who accepts any other form of payment (besides at some estate sales). Avoid silly ATM fees and come prepared.

Check the weather. For those of us living in Northeast Ohio, this might seem like a no-brainer, but I always bring rain gear, sunscreen, and an extra jacket.

Bring measuring tape. That way, you won’t get all mussed up awkwardly trying vintage clothing on.

Don’t be afraid to haggle a little. Pricing can be somewhat tricky when it comes to antiques, so if you’re looking for something specific, do your research beforehand to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Splurge on the unique. I’m a fairly frugal person and rarely spend a lot of money on anything. However, if I come across something like a 1930s evening dress in my size, chances are, it’s coming home with me. If you don’t pick it up, someone else will.

Bring a pull-along mini cart. I feel like someone’s grandmother pulling the thing around, but I wouldn’t dare leave home without it.

Here is an upcoming event you won’t want to miss:

Akron Farm & Flea
Saturday, August 1 from 9 am – 2 pm.
The Musica complex at Maiden Lane and East Market Street in downtown Akron
Find this local market downtown in our Historic Arts District. You can visit its unique local vendors on the first Saturday of every month until October (besides July).

Check the classifieds section in your Beacon Journal or West Side Leader for information about local yard and estate sales. Happy hunting!

[su_box title=”Meet the author” box_color=”f2ece6″] 

headshotNatalie Ulm is a 21-year-old vintage collector, bookworm and red lipstick enthusiast. You can usually find her at Akron Family Restaurant or at a rummage sale chatting with your grandma.