…sort of. I’m frequently asked how an IT executive, with a grown child, who is supposed to be saving for retirement, got started in the vintage and antique business. Well, it’s HGTV’s fault.
I had a friend with a bucket list dream of being on national TV. Coincidently, I was sent a casting call for a HGTV special filming at the 127 sale (the longest yard sale in the USA!). One annoying giggly audition tape, and a couple of phone interviews later – DREAM COME TRUE – we were cast on “The Endless Yard Sale”. Show Premise: Three teams compete by buying vintage/antique items, and the teams whose items appraise for the most wins. Spoiler Alert: We came in second place. My friend and I showed up in coordinated feather boas, ready to shoot, knowing absolutely nothing about antiques. Needless to say, we were slaughtered by the seemingly sweet and cute yoga instructors. Last place went to the adorable, and even more clueless than us, frat boys.
Even though we lost, I acquired just enough knowledge about the vintage biz to be dangerous and decided to fund the family vacation by buying project pieces at flea markets, repurposing them, and selling them for a profit (sound like another HGTV show?). That’s it in a nutshell, HGTV took a respectable middle aged professional, and turned her into a flea market addict, who is just one step above a carnie. I’ll cover how I went from part time to full time store dealer, launching a new store in a future post.
Here’s a few 127 sale tidbits/tips I picked up from doing the show:
· The 127 sales officially runs the first weekend of August. However, I shop early (like the weekend before type of early). Note: Several cities, including Crossville TN, do not start early and will fine vendors who sell before the official dates. Plan your dates accordingly.
· You have to pick through a lot of baby clothes, tires, and Tupperware to find the gems. There are some “big” fields with several vendors. You’ll have better luck finding treasures there, than at the single tents set up in front of someone’s home.
· There are no real bathrooms. Thank god for the Dairy Queens and McDonalds along the 127 highway. (Bring wipes for emergencies)
· Borrow or rent a truck. It’s murphy’s law; If you bring a compact car- you’ll find only large bulky items. If you bring a truck – you’ll find only small delicate pieces. However, you’ll be really upset if you have to pass on the deal of a lifetime due to space constraints.
· Hotels book up fast and are expensive. Make reso’s early and off highway 127.
· Tennessee and Kentucky are my fav spots.
· Have fun, eat the fried pies, and let me know what treasure you find!