This weekend, another lovely season of Portland Flea kicks off. This makes my heart happy for many reasons.
- I love old stuff.
- I love supporting local businesses.
- I love good food.
- I love Portlanders.
- I love that I can find all of these items in one spot on a handful of Saturdays this spring/summer/fall.
To kick of the begining of flea market season, Kate from Portland Flea is stopping by to give us the low down on all things flea this year! Take it away, Kate.
What’s the story/inspiration behind Portland Flea?
I have always been drawn to dependable, well-loved goods that have stood the test of time. “Stuff” just means more when it has a story and a soul. I grew up in Portland and moved back not too long ago after a stint in London. My husband and I bought an old house in NE, and while restoring and furnishing it, we found ourselves yearning for the convenient, one-stop access to antique and vintage goods that the markets in London provided, in addition to their energy and charm. Portland has such a great vintage culture – so many incredible shops – but it takes time to visit each one! Why not bring everyone together?
What vendors will be at the flea?
We’ll let the postcard take this one:
What can shoppers find at the flea?
Well, I’ll start by telling you what you won’t find: anything new. Well, not brand new at least. Like many Portlanders, we are passionate about re-use and have made it the guiding light of the market. Our 20+ vendors specialize in items that have old industrial, vintage or antique appeal. This typically rules out anything manufactured within the last 25 years, but does not rule out handmade or refurbished items made from recycled antique/vintage materials. We have phenomenal furniture dealers (mid-century especially), clothing, jewelry, ephemera. A little bit of everything.
Flea logistics – schedule/place/time/ect?
WHEN: Third Saturday of the month. May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15 & October 20.
WHERE: We’ll kick off the season on May 19th indoors at UNION/PINE and, permit pending, we’ll move outdoors in Jun
Any spring design trend predictions?
Heather Joy just did a photo shoot in my house about decorating with neon. She brought all of these great accessories over and the vibrant pops of color were so energizing! Think Portland folks could really benefit from this trend given all of the gray days. I bet fewer people suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the 80s!
Flea shopping tips?
First, it’s all about negotiation. Don’t be afraid to make an offer that is lower than the asking price.
Second, cash is still king. I know everyone takes Square these days, but always bring cash to the Flea. A great negotiating tactic is to hold up a set amount of cash and say “this is what I have to spend. Take it or leave it.”
Third, don’t forget, you have your own little Antiques Roadshow appraiser in your pocket! Read the tags/labels/engravings on Flea finds and look them up on your phone before you purchase. You can usually find some indication of what a fair price would be.
Favorite item you’ve ever found at a flea market?
I found an old Picasso print when we lived in London nestled in a dirty pile of horrible art and frames. It is one of his lesser known paintings and the frame was filthy so you couldn’t see the signature and edition number. I grabbed it, paid next to nothing and literally ran away from the market before anyone could ask any questions. Thinking I held my retirement in my hands, I immediately looked it up when I got home. It was a fake and not worth a dime. I still love it though.
Where do you see the PDX Flea in 10 years?
Hoping it will continue to be a destination spot for members of the community. Have a cup of coffee, meet your friends, walk around. A place where people can find quality one-of-a-kind goods that will last forever. I’d like people to think twice about heading to Ikea if they can find what they need at the Flea. The Brooklyn Flea guys have been really supportive of Portland Flea and have offered some great advice. I hope I can foster something similar to what they have created, but keep it uniquely Portland.
You bet your bottom me and my crew will be at the flea on Saturday. Hope to see you there:).
P.S. Get sneak-peeks of Portland Flea goods by following them on Facebook and Twitter.