Monday, November 25, 2013

Tips on selling your items at a flea market

Hey, guys!

First of all, thank you so much for all your lovely feedback on my previous post; I am so glad you enjoyed the peek into my makeup bag! It will be very interesting for me to draw comparisons as I update it along the way.

Also, hello to the new subscribers, you guys make me smile every day and even though this was never about the number, I am starting to plan small giveaways along the way just to make things more fun, so I am looking into it as we speak.

Sorry about being a bit MIA this weekend, though, I was busy and after reading this post, you will know why!

I am also on my last week of internship and then it is home again for this happy girl :)
Image from the actual event, but not my photo

Anyway, as you can see from the title, today I will share with you my tips and personal experience with flea markets and how you can be a smarter buyer and a more successful seller. If you’re an impatient reader or hate rambling, feel free to scroll down to the actual tip part, while I chatter on for a while more.

For a little disclaimer, I will be focusing mostly on selling/purchasing used clothing items, as I have most experience with this, even though I believe that some of the principles stand regardless.

As a background info, I used to shop at second hand shops considerably often as a kid during my growth spurt, because it didn’t seem to make sense to invest into me (as the youngest child) knowing I’ll only wear it for a few months.

We later on stopped, partly because I stopped growing, so I could buy more substantial, basic, re-usable things and sadly partly because it was too cool for me as a high-school-er.
After going through a phase of not buying anything (and I mean ANYTHING) I went through a phase of buying a lot (as much as I could, anyway, which meant, cheap things and the occasional splurge) and have not been buying much since.

I have also become much more aware of my personal style, what I like and don’t like and the whole… culture of buying and purchasing items starting from home wear to beauty, fashion and even food; meaning I have developed my own opinions of what to invest on vs what to save on or do without all together.

As some of you might know I have become increasingly unhappy with my current wardrobe. I have been wearing the same clothes for more than 5 years (which is a lot, when you’re 22) and feel like my appearance is not reflecting who I am as a person (talk about taking fashion seriously).

A way of changing up my outfits has been second hand markets, which I have found to be quite fun here in Denmark. A lot of young girls buy too many clothes that they have to get rid of before purchasing new things. Sometimes they order things online and aren’t happy with them, but instead of sending it back they sell them here. I have been visiting the local university bazaar a few times over the last months and have to say – those have been the only occasions I have bought clothes. All in all I have developed an appreciation towards the idea and think it can not only be fun, but money saving and helpful in developing a unique and personal style.

Long story short (like that’s possible), I decided to do a major closet cleanout of my own and therefore booked a table at another version of the uni bazaar at another school over the weekend.
It went well and I ended up earning twice as much as I paid for renting the table, so I didn’t lose any money AND got rid of a few items.

Here’s what I have to conclude:

Do your research

What I mean by that is to think about the things you want to sell and find the best arrangement to suit that plan. Is it furniture? Books? Clothing? Your homemade beauty products or food creations? Jewelry? From then on you can research the different events in your local area (preferably, but not necessarily) and try to find a spot. You want to be different to some extent, but still fit in the context of what the visitors will expect to see and pick up.

Find out all the details

Once you find a nice arrangement, get in touch with the organizers and see if there are spots available, if not, how often the arrangement is held and can you book a board in advance for the next one. Don’t be shy to ask a lot of specifying questions. If you have to pay for participating, what is provided? Tables? Stands? Even food, drinks, changing rooms etc. can make a big difference. Ask for parking and how close the ATM is.

Book your spot in good time

Tying in with the last tip, try to be quick, if you have decided to participate, these arrangements usually work after first-come-first-serve principle, so the sooner you sign up, the bigger the chance of getting the most out of what the organizers can offer – clothing racks and hangers for example.

Choose your items

Once you know you’re up and running, it’s time to decide upon, what you wish to sell. Try to be harsh, but reasonable, if you’re unsure, wait, you can always sell it; however, if you can feel you’re holding onto something just for the sake of it, you probably won’t miss it, once it’s gone.

Prepare your items

No matter what you’re selling, be respectful and tidy up your stuff. If it’s clothes you’ll sell, wash and ideally even iron them; if it’s shoes – clean them and give them a nice treatment; if it’s jewelry – untangle the necklaces and pair up the earrings; if it’s home wear – dust it and polish it etc. You catch my drift – you want the things to look nice – you might want to get rid of them, but somebody else might be interested, don’t make them change their minds ;)
Also, if you’re selling clothes, I can speak for myself and say, that I tend to imagine myself wearing the potential items, for example, if I see a cute top, I imagine myself having a fun lunch date with my girlfriends, hence, having a good time, hence buying the item. However, if that top is wrinkled, dirty or worn, I’m likely to imagine myself drunk and/or crying, hence, doing whatever I can to avoid that scenario, hence, putting it right back.
Make things attractive! (And by that I don’t mean cheating people.)

Sort your things by category

It’ll be easier for you and everybody else, if things aren’t a mish-mash of random items. Some people are very specific when they are on a lookout for an item, which is often why they also visit flea markets. If they can easily see your candle holders in one place, they’ll happily go through what you have. Similarly sort books, jeans, jackets etc.
Price your items & label them

This might be a tricky task, especially if we have gotten attached to things, but try to stay objective – how much is the item worth in your opinion? We tend to link our memories to our belongings, so you might feel like your 2 year old New Years dress is worth millions, because you had such an amazing night, but try to be honest and fair.
Keep in mind, it is a flea market and you are selling used items, so you can’t be too ambitious (meaning, expecting to sell things for the same price you bought them for, let alone making a profit on them – that sort of beats the purpose), however, if you have something that’s either very good quality, very new or very well preserved, don’t be shy to ask a fair price – chances are people will still appreciate getting it cheaper than in the shops, even if the price seems high for a second hand market’s overall mark, part of visiting them as a customer is finding the hidden gems – I bought my leather jacket at one and still consider it to be one of my best buys ever.
As for the labels, I always (khm, two times that I’ve done it, khm) like to label mine, so people can easily see for themselves how much I expect. We are all different and not everybody enjoys approaching strangers, even though they might still want to shop cheaper. I respect that. Labeling my items allows them to check out the items and think about it individually, before deciding if they want to approach me or not; same goes for bargains. It also allows me to relax a bit more, I don’t have to remember what I had in mind for each peace or make up prices on the spot, I can do that at home, calmly and considerately. Think about bargains - are you okay with that or is your prices set? Make labels easy to read and easy to find and consider adding extra information. I, for one, have a habit of cutting off the original labels, so they don’t show from my clothes and don’t tickle my neck for example (don’t ask, I have a thing), so you might need to write the brand, size etc. on manually.
Fold and pack

After all of this you are ready to pack up. Depending on the time span between you packing and the actual arrangement, consider how wrinkled your pieces will get sitting in a bag or a box; be gentle.
Speaking of clothes, I like to fold things very neatly, so they sit well and take no time to arrange at the actual market.

Pack the accessories

Now it’s time to pack all the supporting bits. If you’re selling clothes and there are none at the market – pack your own hangers; if you’re selling jewelry – pack a stand or take a shallow box or a plate to arrange them on.

Be prepared beforehand as much as you can

A bank here in Denmark has developed an app that safely transfers money using only the receiver’s phone number. In case there aren’t any ATM nearby or you’re out of change, solutions like that are a great option. Try looking into it.
Similarly, make sure you DO have enough change and bring a wallet or a purse you can easily manage. Bring something with lots of space for coins, you will most likely end up with a lot and don’t want them falling out of your wallet everywhere. I’ve seen people use jars, fanny packs etc, whatever works for you.
Think about how much help you’ll need and make arrangements

Now, when you’ve packed and gotten an overview of your things, decide whether you can do everything by yourself or you need help. I needed a lift, since I can’t drive and had too much stuff to take the bus. Think about setting the whole thing up – if you need to put together a clothing rack (I, for one, have never done it) and packing down. Whether it’s your parents, your boyfriend or your friends, think if you need a man’s help, for example. Are you selling boxes of books? Furniture? Can you do it yourself or you need to arrange for someone to come and help you? If so, do this in advance. Most likely it’ll be a weekend thing, so it’s their free time off as well, respect that.
Considering all that, decide how early in advance you should arrive to set everything up. If you’ve prepared in advance, it won’t take you more than half an hour to an hour. However, I often see people both arriving at least a couple of hours in advance to fold, arrange etc, and still pricing items 15 min before the market starts. Try to plan your own time and maybe it’s a good idea to ask the organizers, when everybody usually shows up to get a frame of reference.

Think about the details and be a nice seller to do business with

Whatever you’re selling, try to be service-minded; it makes the experience much more fun, when you hear positive feedback.
Bring a bunch of empty bags for example to offer to people, who have just bought something. I know I’m really glad, when sellers do, because I either forget my own or have underestimated how much I’ll buy.
Likewise, consider bringing a mirror, if you’re selling clothes or shoes, it’s always a huge hit and hey, if you’re one of the only persons offering a “service” like that, people will come to your stand a lot and are more likely to take a second look at what you’re selling.
I have also seen (and taken advantage of) people, who bring snacks to put out on their stand. Trust me, seeing a plate of cookies after a two hour flea marker raid makes me feel super thankful (and low on sugar), so it a great attraction and also increases your chances of more customers, because then they’re already there, most likely talking to you and what do you know – checking out your stand (let’s be honest, they are also lingering while they eat, because we all know, they want another cookie).
Take care of yourself too

Now, while you are so focused on being the perfect host, don’t forget to plan ahead and take care of your own comfort during the market.
It will most likely take the entire day, so bring snacks and water! Stay hydrated, it’s really important. Stay warm, especially if the market’s outside! It’s such a bummer standing still, being cold, while other people are slowly passing by checking out things you own; you’ll get cranky without noticing.
I would also highly suggest doing this with someone. It’s totally up to you and you don’t have to, but at least try to have a stand next to someone nice and/or familiar, so you can take a break, go to the bathroom and maybe take a walk around the market yourself, check out the other stands.
The day goes by fast, but it’s also a bit boring, when you’re all alone, even if you talk to the people passing by. Consider pairing up with a friend or at least organizing a friend dropping by and keeping you company for a while.

Have fun! It’s a really cool thing to do, be open and nice to people, also the fellow sellers, but don’t push on your things, stay cool.
Be honest with people, if they want to buy something that’s broken or has a lack, I think you’d want to receive the same treatment, however, to some extent, of course they have to keep their own eyes open, I’m talking about the invisible lacks; you don’t want to get a bad reputation, especially if you plan on doing this more than once.
Try to be a good chameleon, some people like to talk, they want to know the story behind the items and why are you selling them, some people, as I said, get irritated by overly enthusiastic people, I have a hard time buying something, if the second I put it on, the person can’t stop going on about how amazing I look and that it’s faith and I MUST have it. I might be exaggerating, but you can see, what I mean. Some people will need your opinion, though.
I also suggest doing some sort of book keeping. I know it’s hard to keep up, especially if you’re selling little bits, but at least know how much money you had in your wallet before the market, so you can compare it afterwards and if you can manage, write down the items you’ve sold, because it’s so easy to forget and then you lose the overview.

These are all my tips for you guys today, I hope you enjoyed it and found it fun! I am definitely glad I did this and am already looking forward to the next time, keeping in mind what I learned.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever participated in a flea market no matter as a buyer or a seller and what are your feelings towards it, even if you haven’t? I would love to hear from you!

Talk to you soon and have a great week!



  1. i like ur blog!

  2. great blog :) would you like to follow each other?via GFC and on Facebook too:) just let us know, we always follow back <3


    The Scarlet Diaries
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  3. These are some great tips. I love shopping at flea markets, you find so many great items, things that others may consider a waste and we consider them treasures. Those shirts are all cute, and I love the colors.


    1. Thanks, hun :) I think I love the not knowing - you just can't predict, what people will offer and it's sort of fun!

  4. These are absolutely great tips! While I enjoy shopping at flea markets, I don't think I can ever sell any of my stuff there. Every time I feel like there are items in my closet that I wouldn't use anymore, I'd either give it to my sister and cousins or donate it to charities. But again, this post is really wonderful. Thanks for the time and effort you put into creating this awesome post.

    *Would you be interested in following each other on GFC and Bloglovin?
    Confessions of a Late Bloomer
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    1. Thank you very much :) I absolutely know, what you mean, I do the same and definitely will donate a good share too, I just figured, if somebody can give these pieces another year of life, why not and I have always wanted to try. Sure I would, I'll check it our right away ;)

    2. You're awesome! Thanks for visiting back and following my blog. I'm now following yours on GFC! <3 I hope we could stay in touch. :)


  5. great post!

  6. Awesome tips! We don't really have flea markets like that here but you can get a stand at a fair that happens every year or so. x

    Živa from Nothin' Fancy. Really.

    1. I think we have the same in Latvia, it's a bit different here in Denmark :)

  7. great post!! follow you back!

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed it ;)

  9. great post. Would you like to follow eachother?

  10. love this post been looking for tips for this

    1. Thank you, that's very nice to hear! Hope you can use it :)

  11. This is such a great post, always fancy doing a boot sale but its a bit daunting

    Please come check out my latest post if you have time :)

    Fragile Bird |



    1. Yeah it can be, but it's also a lot of fun :) Of course I will! Thank you so much :)

  12. I read your tips with withdrawn breath - so thoughtful and detailed. A definite must-read before deciding on going that route. Loved it. xx

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I'm glad you found it helpful :)