Category Archives: Vintage

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.

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.


Vintage Cuckfield Going Strong

CVE Logo June postcardWhen asked to say ‘what makes the perfect vintage fair’ there is, unfortunately, no simple answer. For starters you have to know who is asking the question – the visitors, the stallholders, the organiser, the venue owner, the caterer etc.

They need not all have divergent viewpoints of course and it may be possible to achieve a consensus; that can sometimes be difficult, but not impossible.  One such case was last week’s Cuckfield Vintage Emporium, held in The Queen’s Hall, which is curated by Darcy Shepherd.

Darcy is a well-known figure in the world of Sussex vintage and country fairs with a growing reputation nationally too; her Cuckfield Vintage Emporium (CVE) is still in its infancy having only got off the ground, as it were, in March this year. For the past 3 months she has been attracting around 25 vintage traders to set-up shop in The Queen’s Hall in Cuckfield High Street where she aims to establish a permanent home for her events.

“We always knew May was going to be problematic,” Darcy explained, “because of a very big fair taking place not far away in Surrey at the Nonsuch Mansion just the day before ours.” This meant that a number of regular CVE traders were tied up and inevitably some vintage devotees were ‘all shopped-out’ which, it was predicted, would impact on the CVE attendance.

Darcy Shepherd: the driving force behind Cuckfield Vintage Emporium

Darcy Shepherd: the driving force behind Cuckfield Vintage Emporium

“However we decided to press ahead,” said Darcy, “for a number of reasons, including in order to establish continuity and so as not to let down our loyal stallholders and visitors.”

In the event it proved to be exactly the right decision because, whilst visitor numbers were slightly down, the new stallholders who filled the gap proved to be exceptional, plus the whole ambience was really friendly and upbeat.

As Darcy said, “At the end of the day, it’s the stallholders who create the atmosphere through their enthusiasm, the exceptional quality of their goods and the attractiveness of their stands, and once again they have delivered, which is fantastic.”

An outstanding example came from two CVE debutants, Kate Richards and Heather Lynn,  both stallholders sharing a pitch for the first time at The Queen’s Hall.

Kate is a florist and trades as Iris & Arlo, with a shop in Lombard Street, Petworth. And Heather, having made her earlier career in catering has recently launched Courtown Crafts, selling hand-painted vintage furniture and decorative pieces from her base in Slinfold, near Horsham.

Kate Richards (left) of Iris & Arlo with Heather Lynn of Courtown Crafts at the Cuckfield Vintage Emporium on 10th May

Kate Richards (left) of Iris & Arlo with Heather Lynn of Courtown Crafts at the Cuckfield Vintage Emporium on 10th May

Heather’s interest in painted furniture grew from her own experiments at home which soon began to attract admiring comments, and the impetus to branch out on her own, and set up Courtown Crafts, came when an antiques dealer colleague gave that extra bit of encouragement.

That was about 6-months ago and like many a DIY painter (myself included) Heather started with the Farrow & Ball range of paints, attracted by their beautiful subtle colours and quality. Now she is also using the highly regarded Annie Sloan chalk paints and waxes as favoured by the cognoscenti with some stunning results.

“The Annie Sloan method is a bit of a departure and working with her paints is very different from conventional paint, but the finished product is spectacular, so it is well worth persevering” says Heather.

Kate Richards has loved flowers as long as she can remember, “For me, when it comes to flowers, the more natural the presentation the better” says Kate, who completed her training at Brinsbury college five years ago.

She says that creating a ‘vintage look’ is not always as simple as it might first appear, “Selecting the right flowers is the first step – Peonies, Sweet peas, Poppies and Lupins are amongst my favourites –  and if you can get close to an arrangement that looks like an English summer meadow, you’re pretty much there”.

But business being business Kate has her feet firmly ‘planted’ on the floor and that means in order to make her Petworth based business succeed she calls on her formal training to supply flowers for weddings, birthdays, corporate functions and all forms of celebrations.

Judging by the buzz that hummed around The Queen’s Hall, both Kate and Heather (and the many other exhibitors, too many to mention here unfortunately) proved to be a great hit with the CVE’s vintage shoppers whose support once again ensured that the event continues to go from strength to strength. See you next on 21st June!


16th May 2013

CVE Newcomers’ Gallery 10th May

Sandy & Steph of The Giggleberry Tree

Sandy & Steph of The Giggleberry Tree

Ellice in the CVE Tearoom

Ellice in the CVE Tearoom

Annabelle with her beautiful framed prints

Annabelle with her beautiful framed prints

Paula Giuld of ... along came Polly with her lovely hats.

Paula Guild of … along came Polly with her lovely hats.

Iwona of Gift Horse Collectables

Iwona of Gift Horse Collectables

Sarah of Pocket & Pin - vintage haberdashary

Sarah of Pocket & Pin – vintage haberdashery

Annette of Annie B's Vintage

Annette of Annie B’s Vintage

Gayle of The Tea Party Style

Gayle of The Tea Party Style

Jessica Glover of By The Way Crafts

Jessica Glover of By The Way Crafts

Amy of

Amy of

Simone's table aka Ayres & Grace: horse figures and other animals

Simone’s table aka Ayres & Grace: horse figures and other animals

Ruth, Antiques and Vintage Collector

Ruth, Antiques and Vintage Collector

Maggie of Moss Vintage

Maggie of Moss Vintage

Samantha of The Tea Party Company

Samantha of The Tea Party Company

Janet Somers - collector of Kitchenalia

Janet Somers – collector of Kitchenalia

Vintage at Home by Nicky West

Vintage at Home by Nicky West

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