Monthly Archives: January 2014

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:

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 Crafts with her lovely painted furniture and vintage china. Darcy will also be welcoming back Vicky of Fleurie with her ‘up-cycled’ designer label clothes plus Macaroon’s beautiful artisan jewellery . Another firm favourite is Krystyna of Parkminster Products 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

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 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  or


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

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