Darcy’s Top 5 Vintage Venues

My top five vintage venues
By Darcy Shepherd

Darcy CVE 12_4_13

Perhaps it was inevitable that I was destined to be fascinated by furnishings, fabrics and interior design. It could hardly be otherwise being brought up, as I was, in a home where my Mum (Irene) rarely if ever was without some ‘project’ or other – usually the grander the better.
Not only was she full of original ideas but she had the practical skills to put them in to practise and an eagle-eye for style and value, honed in the Oldham Market in north Manchester. With this as the ever-present background to my childhood it was pretty much foretold that I would take to the world of vintage and flea markets like a duck to water!
But it wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s before I saw the full potential. I was working out in Los Angeles at the time when a colleague suggested we take a trip to one of the world’s most famous ‘flea-markets’ – and we ended up at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. This is the therefore the first of my top five vintage venues.
The Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena, California (CA 91103)
It is one of my all-time favourite vintage haunts – the massive Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market – probably the biggest and most bizarre in the world, boosting 2,500 vendors/traders and 20,000 visitors for each of the events, which are on the second Sunday of each month.
Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea MarketThe market is held in the car park of the world famous Rose Bowl Stadium just to the north of the city and, despite the numbers it attracts, there is plenty of free parking nearby. There are admission charges ranging between $8 and $20 per head depending on the time slot you go for. The earlier you arrive the more expensive it is; so if you want to get there for 05.00, it will cost you $20.
If you are going for the early shift, don’t forget to take your headlamp – I’m not joking, they are de riguer, to say nothing of their practicality when it comes to rummaging in boxes and car boots before the sun creeps over the horizon.
Don’t be put off by the huuuuge size of Pasadena, it’s part of the fun! The choice is mind boggling, the quality can vary but given the range of choice you can always find what you want, prices are OK too and generally lower than the UK. And there’s always the chance you will be rubbing shoulders with some celeb taking time out from filming down the road at Hollywood!
So, if you’ve got a trip to California planned, take an empty case with you for all you’re booty – it’s what I used to do!
Sunbury Antiques Market – Kempton Race Course
The huge outdoor market at Kempton Race Course was established in 1970, so definitely one of the longest-running in the country.
Not only that but it must be one of the best kept secrets of the vintage community – and wow, it’s just fantastic, with about 700 traders at each event, come rain or shine! The ‘antiques’ market is held on the second and last Tuesday every month, please do not get confused with the weekly Thursday markets at Kempton, which are for food and household goods. Kempton Race Course Market
This is strictly for early starters – doors open at 06.30 – and you certainly will not be on your own; wrap-up warm and take an umbrella, especially in the winter months. This is where very many professionals come to do their buying and the big attraction is the amazing variety of great quality stuff on offer.
‘Kempton’ also boasts scores of traders from all over Europe including of course many from France, which adds immensely to the excitement of shopping there. Whether you are looking for antiques, vintage, collectibles, jewellery, books, clothes or even industrial salvage, Kempton is without doubt your destination.
You can find details at www.kempton.co.uk/Markets

Brooklyn Flea – Fort Greene, New York (NY 11236)
A couple of young entrepreneurs started the Brooklyn Flea just as the recession began to bite in 2008 and in a few short years have turned it in to one of New York’s major tourist attractions. In fact they have scored such a success that the market is now spread over three sites (including in the Williamsburg and Smorgasburg districts of the city).
Brooklyn Flea Market NYSmorgasburg plays host to an indoor artisan food market offering fashionable ethnic delicacies. My favourite memory of my first trip to Brooklyn was, on a freezing cold morning, huddling round the outdoor wood-burning pizza ovens and then munching in to an over-stuffed hot lobster roll. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. (See right pic of my friend Loz and me with our booty.)Darcy & Loz at Brooklyn Flea Market NY
Tempting though the lobster rolls are, they are not the main reason why I find Brooklyn Flea such a massive draw whenever I get the opportunity to shop in New York. Actually, it is quite simply the wonderful atmospheric buzz that surrounds the place. That, coupled with some of the most eclectic vintage collections you are ever likely to see make it a must.
Not for nothing did Travel & Leisure Magazine describe Brooklyn Flea as ‘one of the world’s coolest bazaars’; go there for jewellery designers, furniture makers and restorers, hand-tooled leather goods and original artworks, you won’t be disappointed. Details can be found at www.brooklynflea.com/markets . The Green Forte venue is the flagship and with about 150 traders it is on a sufficiently human scale to make it easily accessible.
Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair, W Sussex (RH17 6TL)
Ardingly Antiques MarketI guess most people in Sussex will know about the South of England Show held annually in early June at the Ardingly Showground, but how many know about the 2-day antiques fairs mounted there every other month? If you have been missing out on these fantastic events you have some catching up to do, but don’t worry the choice is vast ranging from bric-á-brac to high-end antiques, quality jewellery, fabrics and upholstery.
This is probably the biggest fair of its kind in the South and there is a very definite international feel to Ardingly which gives it that extra attraction. Not only are there regular high quality and friendly traders from the near continent, Ardingly also attracts more than its fair share of celebrities and TV crews – Tim Wannacott of the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip has been spotted more than once! As you might expect ‘the trade’ is also very well represented – they always arrive early hoping to scoop-up the best deals.Tim Wannacott at Ardingly
The scale of Ardingly with more than 1500 vendors spread right across the showground as well as in the permanent builds means it is not for the faint hearted, but intrepids will have a whale of a time – the next event is scheduled for 15th & 16th April. Find more details at www.iacf.co.uk/ardingly/ ; an entrance fee covering both days of £20 per person is charged on day one (parking is free), and its half price if you only attend on day two.
Annecy, Savoie, France (74000 Annecy)
Anncey is absolutely stunning – and definitely one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns in France. I got to know it first in my early skiing days as it serves as a gateway to arguably the world’s most spectacular downhill ski area. Situated on a picture postcard lake with massive snow-capped mountains in the background it has got to be the most inspiring setting for your vintage shopping ever.
The market itself is held on the last Saturday of every month so you will need to plan your visit carefully – but you will not be disappointed. This is a fairly big market with over 100 vendors and in the summer months often nearly twice that number; it starts around 8 in the morning and goes on for the whole day.
Annecy Vintage MarketThe market is located in the arcaded old part of town starting in rue de l’Isle and then twisting its way through the back streets, alleys and bridges that intersect the canal as it meanders through this charming quarter (photo opposite left by Emily Laxer).
You will find lots of pottery and ceramics decorated in the traditional Savoyard style with bright colours; there’s plenty of home and kitchenware on display too and loads of hand carved artisan items including wooden shoes/clogs, farm implements and other rustic items.
Annecy has a reputation for fair prices, good quality and friendly traders – and as it’s France they are mostly happy to bargain, so polish up your franglais – you are going to need it! Details can be found at http://en.lac-annecy.com/markets-70.htm


I hope you have found this review of some of my favourite vintage shopping locations useful and give some of the markets I enjoy a go – next time I’ll be offering tips on how to succeed as a vintage trader.

Notes: Darcy Shepherd is a director of Cloud Howe Events Ltd and the curator of a monthly vintage fair – Cuckfield Vintage Emporium. She has been organising small and large scale vintage fairs since 2008. Her next event is on 15t March at The Queen’s Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, W Sussex RH17 5EL. For further information call Darcy on 07773 360631 or email darcymaclean@yahoo.co.uk


Darcy’s 6-point Vintage Shopping Guide

Darcy’s 6-point Vintage Shopping Guide.

Darcy’s 6-point Vintage Shopping Guide

This article was originally publish by Alice Hancock of Homes & Antiques: http://www.homesandantiques.com/feature/vintage-shopping-how-guid

Vintage trader Darcy Shepherd shares her top tips for rummaging at the fairs

Few pleasures are greater than finding that elusive vintage piece at just the right price but, whether you are looking for stylish furnishings on a budget or are a bit of a treasure hunter, there are some fundamentals of shopping for vintage that everyone needs to know.

Here are six tips to get you started:

1.     Take plenty of cash with you. Most traders will not have access to credit/debit card facilities and you cannot rely on there being a cash machine nearby. Some traders are happy to take cheques but nothing speaks louder than cash, especially when it comes to haggling.

2.     Do speak to stallholders. Invariably they are well-informed enthusiasts who can’t wait to relate the background of a particular item or tell you how they got involved in vintage. Not only will you gain some valuable insights but you’ll make a friend too – one who might be less inclined to reject an offer on something you have your eye on. Starting off the conversation with a question like, ‘What can you tell me about this item?’ could prove a useful ice-breaker.

3.     Unless it is specifically stated to the contrary, assume that prices are negotiable. Always ask, ‘What is the best price you can give me on this?’ and then say, ‘That’s a bit more than I was hoping for’ but don’t say how much you are prepared to pay. If you want the item and think agreement on a price is close, examine the item in detail and point to any flaws or blemishes and then say, ‘Would you take £X for it?’

4.     Buy what you like. This is the easy answer to the question of what to buy. If you are looking for longevity however, it is sometimes hard to know what represents best value and what will hold its price. I was always look to three general guidelines. Number one, look for things that are in first-class condition (no chips, scratches, cracks etc) and are well made. Second, anything that is genuinely beautiful and decorative will always be in demand. Finally, look for character in a piece, whether it be shabby-chic, rustic gardenalia or kitchenware.

5.     Get to the fair or market early. This is a fundamental point and essential if you are serious about getting to buy the best stuff on offer. Some fairs and markets operate an earlybirds or VIP policy. Though aimed at the trade, it allows anyone willing to pay a higher entrance fee (£10 is not uncommon) to see what’s on offer before the general public does.

6.    Check your purchases thoroughly before you take them away. There is no harm in asking for a receipt in case you have to return something, and most traders have a card or brochure with their contact details so don’t leave without making sure you pick one up. Also, be aware that all electricals must be fitted with an approved plug.

Good luck and enjoy!

Darcy xx.

Darcy Shepherd is a director of Cloud Howe Events Ltd and the curator theCuckfield Vintage Emporium in Sussex. Cuckfield Vintage Emporium is held monthly at The Queen’s Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, West Sussex, RH17 5EL. The next events take place on 22nd February and 15th March.

Darcy’s January 2014 Press Release

Banish the blues and bag some bargains in Cuckfield Vintage Emporium’s special January event


Sussex vintage expert Darcy Shepherd says her January event is the perfect opportunity for vintage lovers to spend their Christmas money or stock up on gifts for the year ahead.

At the January 18th event which takes place at The Queen’s Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, West Sussex, exhibitors will have some special offers at genuinely reduced prices – a brilliant way to banish those January blues.

Vintage, and all that surrounds it, is part of a country lifestyle trend that has been developing over 20 years. It is a reflection of the centuries old love affair with gardens, the countryside and romantic notions of pastoral life.

Regular exhibitors include Heather Lees of Courtown Craftshttp://www.facebook.com/Courtown?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser with her lovely painted furniture and vintage china. Darcy will also be welcoming back Vicky of Fleurie with her ‘up-cycled’ designer label clotheshttps://www.facebook.com/fleurieboutique?fref=ts plus Macaroon’s beautiful artisan jewellery http://www.macaroonjewellery.co.uk . Another firm favourite is Krystyna of Parkminster Products www.parkminster.co.uk selling handmade scented candles and oils.

Newcomers to Cuckfield Vintage Emporium include twin sisters Avalon and Misty of Avalon & Misty Vintage Creations. Both are art-school trained and it shows in the originality of their handmade fabrics, posters and hangings. These girls, young as they are, show remarkable promise and are well worth following. You can see their work at www.amvintagecreations.co.uk

There’s also a free prize draw for every visitor – the winner gets a fabulous bottle of internationally acclaimed English sparkling Rosé wine by top Sussex winegrower Bluebell Vineyard Estates – a perfect gift in itself. _4343004401

Darcy Shepherd, whose fairs are fast becoming known for the quality and range of the wonderful decorative antiques and vintage giftware on offer from her expert exhibitors, regularly brings together a host of specially selected traders with a vintage feel to offer visitors a pleasant, stress-free shopping experience as well as delicious food.

Darcy explains: “We give people the opportunity to take advantage of some special offers from their favourite vintage traders and exhibitors who are new to the vintage scene. Our events are always fun and the next one is guaranteed to help banish those January blues.”

The Cuckfield Vintage Emporium special January event is being held at Queen’s Hall, High Street, CuckfieldRH17 5EL on 18th January 2014 when there may be some bargains to be had.

Darcy came up with the idea of hiring a venue in Cuckfield and holding regular events to give vintage traders a place to sell their products and offer shoppers a regular, one-stop-shop for everything vintage in a fun atmosphere with fantastic food.

Darcy said: “Thanks to celebrities like Kirsty Allsopp, there is a huge demand for everything vintage from gifts to homeware and country antiques. People seem to love the events and the idea is to give them a special shopping experience that you can’t get anywhere else and certainly not on most high streets. Our traders are very carefully selected and are genuinely enthusiastic, deeply committed, knowledgeable and offer unique ranges of goods.”

As well as running Cuckfield Vintage Emporium, Darcy is a founding partner of Village Vintage – recently named as one of Britain’s top three vintage events by Homes & Antiques Magazine. Inspired by TV’s Kirsty Allsopp, Darcy started Cuckfield Vintage Emporium just over a year ago. Since then, Darcy and her team have attracted more than 1,000 visitors to the events.

Both traders, shoppers and national children’s charity CHICKS benefit from every event with each pound donated at the event matched by Cuckfield Vintage Emporium organisers and donated to CHICKS. CHICKS provides respite breaks holidays for some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children. Please visitwww.chicks.org.uk to find out more about CHICKS. CHICKS Logo

Doors open from 11am to 4pm. every visitor gets a free cup of tea or coffee when buying any cake or snack, plus a free prize draw gives an opportunity to win a bottle of double silver-medal-winning Bluebell sparkling wine. Entrance is just £1.

For more information go to https://cloudhowemedia.wordpress.com/home/  or https://www.facebook.com/CuckfieldvintageemporiumFacebook


For further information contact Suzi Christie and Blueberry PR on 01435 830031 or e-mail Suzi@blueberry–pr.co.uk Image are available on request.

Darcy’s November Press Release

For immediate release​​​​​18th November 2013

Continue reading

Darcy’s October Newsletter

Darcy Shepherd

October 15, 2013

With our switch to Saturdays things have come around very quickly, in fact we have got only 4 days before our fantastic pre-Christmas Emporium is launched at The Queen’s Hall, Cuckfield, on
Saturday 19th October. CVE 19th Oct logo image
Doors open at 11.00 ’til 16.00 and every visitor gets a free cup of tea or coffee when buying any cake or snack, plus our free prize draw gives you an opportunity to win a lovely bottle of double silver-medal-winning Bluebell sparkling wine. Entrance is just £1.
With just 9 weeks before Christmas, it is never too early to start planning. We’ll try to make it a little easier for you with a wonderful selection of the finest painted vintage furniture, country antiques, decorative homeware, gardenalia, beautiful flowers, gifts and jewellery.
We are especially pleased to be welcoming the return of Little Mouses adorable handmade vintage treats, plus stunning silks and gemstones from Macaroon Jewellery and some really charming shabby chic homeware from Millie & Max.

CVE Millie & Max photo 1

If you are looking for that truly exceptional Christmas gift for a very special person come and join us early on Saturday the 19th.

With that unmistakable autumnal chill in the air we decided to ask our very own master-chef Heather Lynn to prepare something warming to tempt you into our tearooms. So expect to see hearty soups and utterly scrumptious cassoulet. Of course, no CVE is complete without those wonderfully indulgent cakes lovingly prepared for us by local lady Caroline Ford – they are just gorgeous!


Let me quickly mention last month’s prize draw winner, Andrea Fullalove (pictured centre). She was overjoyed to receive the bubbly which was right on-time for a big family birthday celebration this weekend – well done Andrea!

Finally a reminder that at Cuckfield Vintage Emporium we proudly to support CHICKS the charity that provides respite holidays for some of the UK’s most disadvantaged kids. For every pound you donate we will match it so, if you can, please give generously.

Best wishes,

Darcy xx

PS: Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

In This Issue

Prize draw winner

Supporting CHICKS

Mid-Summer Vintage for Historic Cuckfield

Did you make it to Village Vintage at Plumpton Racecourse – hope you enjoyed it as much as me? I was the one outside the main marquee selling the fantastic English sparkling wine – I have rarely been as popular!

It was obvious speaking to organisers Darcy & Lucy afterwards that they were absolutely thrilled with the way it went and with the positive feedback they got from their stallholders – who they could not thank enough for helping to transform the whole place in to a real vintage village. And they were quick also to mention the visitors who flocked-in and played their part in creating such a happy atmosphere. For more information about future plans take a look at the  Village Vintage facebook page.

For now however, it’s straight on with the preparations for Darcy’s next monthly Cuckfield Vintage Emporium.

The date to pop in your diary is 21st June from 11.00 at The Queen’s Hall in Cuckfield, as usual – about as close to mid-summer’s day as it is possible to get. CVE Logo June postcard

Darcy has a terrific line up of creative and original stallholders for you including newcomers like ‘Violet & Thyme’ the florists  who specialise in beautiful flowers and decorative antiques. Also new to Cuckfield are ‘Heartfelt Designs’ who will be selling their handmade lavender hearts and enamel wares.

Of course many of your familiar favourites will also be there, so look out for ‘Annie B’s’ eclectic range of vintage collectibles plus ‘Emily Loves Vintage’ with her treasured collection of vintage children’s books and accessories – and of course many more great exhibitors.

In the tearooms, as well as our Fairtrade teas & coffees we are introducing some delightfully tempting new cakes by local prize-winning baker Caroline Ford – such a treat after all that shopping?

As many CVE supporters know, part of what we do through Cuckfield Vintage Emporium is sponsor a small charity called CHICKS, which provides respite outdoor holidays for some of Britain’s disadvantaged kids. CHICKS Logo

Many of us have fond memories of lovely childhood holidays, but it is not like that for everyone, so we ask you please to spare a thought for our less fortunate children and give a small donation to CHICKS, and for every pound you raise, CVE will add a further pound – that way we can double your donations.

A quick plug; we are steadily building up our Twitter following, which is great news, so if you have a twitter account and would like to keep up to date with our regular posts just click on @DarcyVintage.

_4343004401Finally don’t forget our popular FREE PRIZE DRAW where you can win a bottle of fabulous award-winning English sparkling wine from our local Sussex wine-makers Bluebell Vineyard Estates – this is very special wine, so don’t miss the opportunity.

Hoping to see you again at Cuckfield on 21st June for another fun day of vintage shopping.


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