Welcome to the third (and final) day of our grand retelling of that time we were on reality TV. If you missed our recaps of Buy Day and Workshop Day, be sure to catch up before you read today’s last hurrah!
The final test on Flea Market Flip is to take the pieces bought on Buy Day and made over on Workshop Day and try to sell them at a flea market in New York City. Whoever makes the most profit wins $5,000!
We had another early call time, so we headed down to New York City the day before. We brought with us a million accessories to style and stage our pieces — here’s just a small sampling.
This time Brad drove us, which was a lovely treat compared to the long very-fatigued drives we did ourselves after filming on Buy Day and Workshop Day. We grabbed some dinner with one of Sage’s friends, and stayed with some of Naomi’s relatives. Their apartment had an amazing view of the city, which we enjoyed (nervously) as the sun rose on Sell Day.
Unfortunately the day started off cold and rainy, but we held out hope the rain would clear up and headed out to Green Flea Market where we were selling. On the way we picked up flowers for staging, and Sage tried to take some broken furniture on the side of the road until Naomi reminded her that we already had our hands full with furniture to sell. Brad dropped us off at Green Flea, which we commemorated with a photo:
Next we got our mics put on and then used some downtime to choke down a half a croissant each and grab some coffee. Fortunately this time Naomi had actually slept the night before, but caffeine was still in order. We huddled under some tents, where we discovered that the official Flea Market Flip instagram account had posted a picture of us. Sage showed it proudly to one of the camera men, Steve, who was not impressed by our celebrity (apparently he’s used to being around way more famous people than us…).
We also got to reunite with another set of folks we’d met on Buy Day who were filming their Sell Day at the same time. It was fun to see their projects — they had some chairs with amazing upholstery and a really cool coffee table. Michael and Victoria got there last, and we joked that if they didn’t show up we would sell their stuff for them (at a steep discount).
For Buy Duy and Workshop Day we had one producer, Sam:
And Michael and Victoria had their own producer, Michael:
On Sell Day, though, Sam was producing the other episode filming at the same time and Michael was producing our episode. We were a little nervous because we hadn’t worked as much with him, but he was awesome and we had a lot of fun getting to know him. The producers are so great about supporting all teams equally, and Michael gave all four teams some advice to kick things off: don’t price things too high, there is probably one buyer per item so don’t let them get away, make a sale when you can, and don’t stress about what the item is worth but focus on the fact that this is a competition and it is about selling within the time period.
Next it was time to unpack our furniture and stage it on camera. Fortunately we were set up under a tent protected from the rain. Everything comes plastic-wrapped from the workshop, and we were relieved to see all our pieces, labeled with our names and episode number.
As we started getting set up, though, we noticed that one of the knobs was was missing from the side tables. Panic ensued since the hardware was so unique and this was our big ticket item, but Cija saved the day (as always) and found the missing piece in the truck. Cija we love you. With that we were able to finish staging everything and get some footage of the booth all set up and ready to start selling.
At that point it was about 10:30am, and it was time to start selling! We got a lot of initial interest in all the pieces, especially the marble tables, but no buyers for a while. A lot of people said they might come back, but we were anxious to make our first sale! We did get really excited when we met some shoppers who mentioned that their daughter is friends with Daniel Kanter of Manhattan Nest. #blognerds
We had some interest in the sewing table, but the buyer just wasn’t ready to commit. Naomi got her phone number, though. Then around 12:30pm, Michael and Victoria sold their bar. We had no idea how much they sold it for (or how much they bought it for), but we suspected they got a lot for it because it was so well-crafted and substantial. After each sale we had to do an interview saying how we felt, which was typically: anxious and not great!
Fortunately, shortly after they sold their bar we got an offer on the marble tables! We negotiated to $350, which was an awesome $310 profit given that we’d gotten then for just $40.
It was strange to be doing all this on camera. The crew hung back and shot from afar most of the time:
But then whenever someone expressed serious interest, they would swoop in to get a closer shot. No pressure or anything!
We passed up an offer on the coffee table for $70 from a lady whose kids really liked it. We came back with $150 and she declined. Of course by the end of the day we were totally kicking ourselves for that….
One guy who came by was really mean — he asked us disbelieving questions about what we were doing and our relation to Michael and Victoria (apparently “TV show contestants” didn’t seem like a good explanation to him), and then he told sage that she was too aggressive. Move along, sir!
We didn’t know exactly how long we would have to sell for, as it’s not a set period every time. However, it’s always fair because both teams get the same amount of time. By mid-afternoon we were getting really nervous, and Naomi decided to make a move and call the buyer who had left her number earlier about the sewing table. (None of this made it into the episode!) After first she dialed the wrong number (it’s hard to dial while being filmed), and then she got through but the phone disconnected. We assumed she had hung up on us, but about 30 minutes later she texted and we negotiated a sale price of $150 if she could come in the next 15 minutes. The rules are that if you say you’ll hold something for someone you can’t sell it in the meantime, so it’s important to set a time limit so you don’t end up waiting forever and possibly miss another sale.
It was the longest 15 minutes of our lives, but she actually came back! She got nervous when she realized the cameras would be focusing on her and that we would actually need to try shooting the scene a few times. It’s definitely intimidating! Our producer, Michael, assured her that it would be okay and that we would walk her through it, and we were super flattered that he was so confident in us. We were surprised we actually could — we had really picked up a lot in the previous days of filming! We got the deal done and then she came back a few minutes later for photos with us and we thanked her. We were happy that it was going to a good home.
But then Michael and Victoria quickly sold their chairs right after that, which meant we’d both sold two of ours items. Tense interviewing ensued. We both only had coffee tables left.
With time running out, they sold their coffee table. We didn’t know for how much, but we thought it was listed for about $175. We had heard them say they got the supplies for very cheap, so we were super nervous. Unfortunately there weren’t a lot of shoppers at that point. At one point a woman came to admire our side tables (which were already sold) and we asked if we could interest her in a coffee table. She looked down her nose at it and said “not that one.” Okay, point taken….
We went way out of our comfort zone to try to shout (politely) at passersbys to get them interested in the table, but surprisingly that didn’t work.
We got a 5 minute warning, and then just like that the time was up. Victoria and Michael had sold all their pieces and we had only sold two, so we were sure we were going to lose. We started pumping each other up, reminding each other that we were so proud of each other and all the work we’d done, how awesome Michael’s and Victoria’s pieces were, how much we like them and would be happy for them to win, and how getting on the show and having the experience is the real victory.
Still, our post-selling interview was very down. Michael (our producer) was asking us so many leading questions: do you think you have a shot at winning? How much of a long shot does it seem at this point? If you do win, what would have done it for you? We were like, no, we do not have a shot THANK YOU FOR RUBBING IT IN MICHAEL WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN.
Lara arrived to shoot her scenes with us and we were feeling bummed, but we had to perk up and film all of the scenes for the day, including getting set up and pretending the day hadn’t happened yet.
Lara talked about how the coffee table was a very particular piece and she wondered whether we would be able to find a buyer for it. I DON’T KNOW, LARA, THAT SURE IS SOMETHING WE ARE WORRIED ABOUT. She said that she didn’t love the sewing table, but wanted to buy our side tables. She praised us for being bold with the coffee table, and we assumed she was being nice about it so we’d look good losing on camera.
As we filmed the reveal where Lara talks about how much each team bought and sold their pieces for, we both tried to do the math but totally gave up — it’s hard to think on camera. When Lara announced that we had won, we were so shocked! Sage screamed and Naomi stared at Lara as if she were lying.
Michael and Victoria were such great sports, but we knew they were disappointed. They made such beautiful pieces and sold them all, but had a different strategy than ours which was to buy things as cheaply as possible. Instead they invested in some nicer pieces, which turned out beautifully but jeopardized their profit margin. They were so nice and gave us hugs, said nice things, and took photos with us before leaving. We are still in touch with them more than a year later (and will actually do a blog post soon on some of the other amazing projects they have done!).
We were still in shock during our victory interview. Everyone was super nice with us, and we took a photo with Lara and just about everyone else on the crew. Our producer, Michael, told us that we had really held it together and not melted down when we thought we were going to lose, which we appreciated. Even when we thought we were going to lose, we knew it had been totally worthwhile.
It was the last episode of the season, so the crew took a big photo together. It was fun to see them celebrating after an intense few months of filming.
We called Brad to let him know we were ready to go and he said he was 40 minutes out. We tried to wander the flea market, but couldn’t focus. We did snap a few photos of the space where our booth had been and the crew up on a big ladder shooting some panorama shots of the market.
Then we sat on a curb and ate small quiches and had big feelings.
Brad picked us up, and it was a joyful ride home. We stopped for Mexican food (per tradition) and ice cream and plotted what to do with our winnings (spoiler alert: we haven’t done much but buy a dollhouse).
Overall it was such a wonderful experience. It challenged us both in some big ways, as neither of us is particularly comfortable on camera or with things like public speaking. We really pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone, and it was so rewarding to learn new things, meet wonderful people, and make ridiculous and silly memories together. Each day of shooting was hectic and stressful, but as soon as every day ended we realized how much fun it had been and were excited to do it again. We were obviously thrilled to win, but a little bit disappointed not to be getting to show up again for another day of filming. We’re not saying we’re ready to quit our jobs and become reality TV stars, but…I guess we’ve learned to never say never!
(Update: here is the link to see our episode on Amazon for $1.99 (Season 8, episode 5).)