Guest Editor Shine by Three: How to Savvy-shop a Market

More exciting adventures  from our Guest Editor Margaret from Shine by Three, as she gives all her tricks to savvy market shopping all the from Brooklyn’s Flea Market in New York

I feel intensely lucky that I’m sharing market advice with you using the world famous Brooklyn Flea Market as an example. Admittedly that comment, “Can I have these for $10 each? I’m Australian” really works in your favour when you’re here in New York (so if you’re around, and you’re shopping, then there’s a trick for the cards). However, regardless of what market I’m at, there are always ways of getting prices down on incredible vintage clothing and jewellery that I’m always a sucker for. Here are a couple of my favourites… that work (almost) every time:

1) Hard to get. There’s a fine balance between wanting to sell something for a certain price, and just wanting to sell it, period. If you declare that you are absolutely smitten with a piece but that you’re a struggling student and couldn’t possibly forgo lunch for such a necklace, then walk away looking upset, and come back 2 hours later saying that you left the market and walked all the way back from an hour away just because you kept thinking about said necklace, they’ll ‘awwww’ and give you $10 off. Because at that point, if it hasn’t been sold, all they want to do is sell it.


Following? Next.

2) Bulk buy. Markets can never be conquered alone. I’ve tried it, and spent way more money than I ever wanted to (then you can’t buy food and things get awkward). Always shop with at least two friends with very different style to yourself, so you never end up fighting over anything wearable, and follow these steps:

– browse a stall at the same time and pick out the things that you want, then mass exodus to the next (maybe keep a list so you don’t forget)

–  once you’ve combed the market, come back around and check if the pieces you wanted are still there – if not, it wasn’t meant to be. If so, give them all to one person and figure out a reasonably bulk price… e.g. if three blazers cost $40 each, it would be fairly reasonable for you to ask for all three for $100 (make sure the comrade sent in to battle is the ultimate bargain-downer: my Mum is the bomb)

– split your winnings and pay up, then go spend what you saved on pide (or in Brooklyn Flea’s case, homemade smores – om nom nom)

3) Hurry up. This is a sneaky one – and you really need to train up your skills at picking out good things just by looking at them and maybe (maybe) feeling the fabrics very quickly. Turn up at your favourite market just before closing time when vendors are starting to pack up, are kind of hungry, and want to make that last bit of cash before they bail for drinks with friends, and tell them about the strange people who came and bought old clothes from them that day. Sprint the last block there (so you’re breathless), and do a really quick walk around the market and spot some pieces you’d like.


Run up to the seller and say something along the lines of, “Oh my goodness, I know that you’re packing up already but I just saw this [insert piece] from the other side of the road and I have to have it. It’ll be so perfect for [insert super important event/occasion here that may or may not be real]… it’s $[insert amount], right?”. And I’m going to tell you now (as hilariously terrible as it is – but whatever I’m a student and I can be a massive stinge because I need to eat), I have gotten away with saying “It’s $35 right?” to something that was marked $135 – simply because you’re ‘in a hurry’, clearly know what you’re talking about with vintage, and they want that extra $35 to buy an extra 10 beers at the pub, it often works.


This is not to say, however, that the markdown will be that extreme… and if it doesn’t work, you can just try one of the other tricks above and you’ll still get a good deal because you’re awesome.

4) Talk like that. This last is probably the best life advice I will ever give you guys. Who has shame these days anyway? Befriend that vendor. Friends give friends discounts. The logic is flawless. If you shook hands with Barack Obama the day before, throw that in there and start a conversation.


Works in all walks of life.

My favourite markets back home in Sydney are definitely Rozelle Markets and Surry Hills (though I’m told Paddington is beautiful for jewellery – not that I’ve been). Here in NYC, I’ve only been to Brooklyn Flea so far, and I plan on going to the Manhattan Vintage Fair this coming weekend, so if you’re following on Facebook (linke) and Twitter (link), you’ll definitely be hearing about that!


What are your favourite markets in your home towns, and your sneaky market tips, bloglovers? Would love to hear them!






  • Reply yslyenom Monday 21st April, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Nice sweater’s colour.

  • Reply SuperStylish Monday 10th June, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    LOVE the green/blue sweater…so pretty <3

  • Reply SuperStylish Monday 10th June, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Reply SuperStylish Monday 10th June, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    This is an amazing post!

  • Reply yslyenom Sunday 3rd February, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply SuperStylish Thursday 13th December, 2012 at 11:15 pm


  • Fashionista8P
    Reply Fashionista8P Saturday 28th July, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Loved the article, i am so bad at haggling though :/

  • secretculture
    Reply secretculture Friday 27th July, 2012 at 11:56 am

    my favourite market atm is the cherry blossom markets in newcastle Australia held the second Saturday of the month.It is in an old harness racing stadium so it is lovely to walk through

  • moonwarrior20
    Reply moonwarrior20 Friday 24th February, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I work in a clothing recycling place and have found some good bargains at work, but I have not had much of any luck with the markets here in West Aust though maybe going to the wrong ones.
    I like market shopping…

  • Reply Zerotolove Monday 20th February, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Looooooooooove <3

  • Reply adnrew Saturday 18th February, 2012 at 12:19 am


  • Reply chris Sunday 12th February, 2012 at 9:09 am

    we have shinebythree for feb too, how lucky are we 🙂

  • Reply BellaB Wednesday 8th February, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Just being nice to people is often helpful.

  • Reply chocolatelace Sunday 5th February, 2012 at 1:21 am

    love her posts

  • Reply Xiaxiao Saturday 4th February, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    really good tips i wish aussie markets were like those in america:(

  • newbie
    Reply newbie Saturday 4th February, 2012 at 11:50 am

    awesome article, thanks heaps!

  • Reply thugsy Friday 3rd February, 2012 at 8:45 am


  • Reply doogs Friday 3rd February, 2012 at 8:42 am


  • Reply bardie Friday 3rd February, 2012 at 8:41 am

    nice 🙂

  • Reply jarjar Friday 3rd February, 2012 at 8:36 am

    great tips

  • Reply whatsupmonkey Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 4:13 pm


  • ivysaurus
    Reply ivysaurus Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Love your tips

  • Reply dapperdolly Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I don’t like haggling to that extent or lying so much. I think it’s good to find and try and get bargains but I also believe in a fair price for the seller, I don’t want to rip people off. I remember when I used to go to markets a fair bit and it was after the huge popularity of bargain hunting/auction/buying cheap selling high etc tv shows and the sellers would be so upset with people constantly asking if they can have more off the selling price and then asking things like ‘is that your lowest price’ or ‘what is your lowest price’ and then ‘howabout…’, basically things along that line. The sellers would get annoyed and ask ‘do you think this is [insert tv show]?’ I don’t blame them, people already treat them less respectfully then name brand stores. Basically I think it’s easy for either side to get carried away to the point of taking advantage but value for money doesn’t always mean the most money saved or profit gained. It’s fair to realize that if we’re buying things through a middleman and not the source then we have to pay for their time/labour as well, not disproportionate amounts of course but not buying at cost either or a loss either. A loss is a risk of any trader it’s true but just as we shouldn’t have a ripoff culture for consumers, it should work both ways.

  • Reply aalana Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 10:48 am

    haha thanks!

  • spunkx
    Reply spunkx Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 10:33 am

    tricky tips, I love it! Camberwell & Elwood markets here in Melbourne are my favourites although Camberwell gets crazy!!

  • Reply linhyy Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 10:15 am

    yay for our accents

  • Reply teekendall Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 10:13 am


  • Reply xoxoMayy Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 9:23 am

    great tips! now i really need to go to the markets and try them out 😀

  • Reply lara.heaton Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Gaaah, I just want to go to those markets right now!

  • Reply midnightstarfish Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Awesome ;)Thanks

  • Reply tessarella Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Must try some of these, especially the australian one if overseas!

  • Reply juliew Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 3:23 am

    wonderful finds

  • Reply chocolatelace Thursday 2nd February, 2012 at 2:15 am

    love the photography!

  • Reply ichigolove01 Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I absolutely love your tips!

  • Reply tina_cats Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    love the green outfit, grren is my fav colour

  • Reply shell0606 Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Good article

  • Reply MelanieLilly Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Entertainingly helpful

  • Reply mandystsai1 Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Haha, “Can I have these for $10 each? I’m Australian”

  • Reply lynn Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    awesome tips! 🙂

  • Reply lieuloves Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    youre the best lol!

  • Reply chris Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Good advice by Margaret and in the comments

  • Reply Sarahh Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Great tips! Haha!

  • Reply JENNIFAARRH Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    hahahahah love your tips! 🙂

  • Reply traanster Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Great tips! Haha, love the Australian one.

  • Reply kymheaton Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Love markets, sweet tips.

  • Myra
    Reply myra00 Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Haha, some great tips there!

  • Reply sallync Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    In NYC I think the best ploy is be polite and play the Aussie Card…they love listening to our accents, works most places in America where Australian tourists are rare. They also love stories about how expensive things are here…people couldnt believe the price of joggers. We were paying US$90 of shoes that were A$270 here and the salespeople LOVED our stories and hunted out other bargains for us!

    • newbie
      Reply newbie Saturday 4th February, 2012 at 11:50 am

      ooooh thanks for the heads up 😀

  • Reply coyleshana Wednesday 1st February, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Great advice, love market shop!

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