Today it is our GREAT pleasure to introduce you to talented fellow Lausanne blogger Sofia of SofiaClara.com. When we first started The Lausanne Guide over 4 years ago (!), there weren’t many other people in Lausanne cultivating the blogosphere, so you can image our delight when we first saw Sofia’s gorgeous culinary and déco creations. Since then, we’ve been gaining inspiration in the kitchen and in our homes from her ideas, stunning photos and adorable short videos.

She’s got an eye for the potential in the cast off, used items that fill the region’s flea markets, so we asked her to share with us her tips for a successful flea market haul. We hope you enjoy and encourage you to head over to her blog today to see how she’s turned one man’s trash into her personal treasure!

Over to you, Sofia…

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I think lots of us living here in Switzerland struggle with having an IKEA showcase apartment – an apartment pretty much furnished solely with IKEA furniture because it’s the most affordable option around. I had the same issue and continuously try to balance it out with unique pieces I find at flea markets or brocantes/vide-greniers in the region.

I thought it would be fun to share my top 8 tips for flea market shopping around here because I have learnt a lot along the way!

1.    Plan ahead and note the dates in your agenda

This is the best website to keep track of up-and-coming flea markets in the whole canton. Also, keep an eye out for banners along the roadside. Don’t expect to find out about them on Facebook.

A few good ones coming up are the Brocante de Lutry and Cully Broc.

2.    Remember, the further away from town (and the lake), the better

As you probably know, the last Sunday of every month there is a huge vide grenier in La Riponne. They have great stuff but the prices are pretty ridiculous. I find the best deals are always outside of town and away from the lake in places like Oron-la-ville, Moudon or Nyon.

3.    Have an idea of what you’re looking for beforehand

I always have a little mental list of things I would like to buy. Don’t expect to find them immediately, but having a list makes you more likely to see them and see the potential amongst mounds of what can sometimes just feel like mess.

At the moment, I’m on the look out for copper saucepans and silver cutlery for food photos, pretty pots or big mugs to plant succulents in and old dining room chairs that I could paint.

4.    Lower those expectations

You’ve got to be ready to drive somewhere fairly remote and not find anything you like – that’s just the way these things work. I tend to take my mum’s dog along and walk around with her to make the most of the drive. Most of these places are outside and very dog friendly.

5.    Get there very early or very late

I would recommend getting there super early for the gems that everyone will want or very late (1-2 hours before the stalls close) when the vendors are most willing to drop their prices.

6.    Bring change and a big enough bag

Most brocantes around here aren’t very close to an ATM so make sure to take cash and no big 100 CHF notes that will just annoy the vendors. Bringing a basket is always a good idea, too, as they rarely have bags.

7.    Don’t be afraid to negotiate but know when to stop

Initially, when I started going to flea markets here I was hesitant to negotiate because I didn’t think it would go down well. Don’t be afraid to negotiate but don’t push it either. Oh, and don’t try the whole I’m not interested approach hoping they will lower the asking price themselves to keep you there – it won’t happen. State how much you’re willing to pay straight away and go from there.

8.    When you’re not sure, ask

I remember buying a glass caraf  or pitcher once and being really happy with it. A few days later I saw the exact same one in the Migros for 1 CHF less than I had paid. I felt like a total idiot. I am still no expert but now when I think I might be being ripped off, I just ask a little bit about where it came from. People around here are pretty honest if you take the time to talk to them and show a real interest.

9.    Consider travelling a little further out of town

I didn’t include this one in my 8 tips because it’s not regional but I had to tell you about it! My all time favourite flea market is in Lyon and if you’re really into thrift shopping, Les Puces du Canal is definitely worth the drive over.

I hope I’ve been able to help some of you thrift shoppers out there and thanks so much to Tanya and Sarah for having me!

If you want to check out my favourite flea market purchases in my home, they are on my blog today. Have a great day! xS

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