It seems weird to jump right back into normal blogging as though nothing monumental happened last week. We recognize that the months and years ahead will be more demanding of our engagement on topics beyond home improvement and DIY, and yet as the world’s strangest juxtaposition, on Sunday night we made our reality TV debut on Flea Market Flip.
We thought we’d spend this week sharing some behind-the-scenes of this whole experience, plus of course just recapping if you missed the show last night because you were out protesting in the streets (or you just don’t get Great American Country).
If you don’t know Flea Market Flip, it’s a show where two pairs compete against one another to make over furniture they’ve bought at a flea market and then resell it. Whichever pair makes the most profit wins $5,000! The show shoots over three different days: “Buy Day” where teams buy their items at a flea market, “Workshop Day” where they make over the items, and “Sell Day” where they sell at another flea market. Today we’ll be sharing a bit more about Buy Day today, we’ll cover Workshop Day on Wednesday, and then Friday we’ll talk all about how it all ended on Sell Day.
But of course since the show has aired, it’s now public whether we won or lost. So to break the suspense if you didn’t see the episode: let’s just say there’s a reason we opened a joint bank account together last fall! It was a nail-biter to the end and our competition had some amazing pieces, but ultimately we squeaked out a victory!
We were trying to remember those happy feelings as we sat down last night to see how the episode turned out (we hadn’t seen even a minute of the footage prior to it airing). Watching yourself on national TV is stressful even when you know the outcome.
We’ll share more about how the final day (and math) worked out on Friday, but today let’s start from the beginning. Before we jump into Buy Day itself, you might be wondering how we got on this show in the first place. The answer: we accosted a crew member when we encountered them at Brimfield in May 2015, and we’ve been keeping secrets from you ever since. They used our contact information a few weeks later to let us know they were casting for the 7th season, we submitted a written application and were invited to audition, we did said audition not expecting it would lead anywhere at all, and then somehow we actually got selected to be on the show. The whole thing was very surreal, but it quickly got real when the day came to start filming.
Our Buy Day took place at Brimfield, and since filming began at 7 a.m. we headed there the day before to settle in plus wander the grounds of Brimfield for fun (trying not to get sunburned for our television debut). We made sure to avoid the field where we’d be filming the next day!
We stayed at a nearby hotel, where we spent most of the time assessing the decor of the room trying to figure out what we could make out of it and how much we could sell it for. You just can’t practice too much.
We also spent an inordinate amount of time cooking up a joke about how when we finally wrote this blog post we would refer to all the vendors involved in the experience (Marriott, Chipotle, etc) as our “partners” (i.e .sponsors). It was funnier at the time. We weren’t the only ones partnering with Chipotle judging by the line…
Lastly, we of course had to spend some time trying on our TV outfits and taking terrible photos.
There’s no hair and makeup for the contestants, so the pressure was all on us to not make ourselves look terrible on national TV. We obviously couldn’t just go looking like our normal selves.
The morning of Buy Day we woke up at 5:30am, whereupon Naomi revealed to Sage that she had not slept. After we got dressed (just like we practiced!) and put on what seemed like clown makeup (you really have to over-makeup for TV…), we headed out and Naomi bought a terrifying caffeinated beverage called “Code Red” to substitute for a good night’s sleep.
And then we headed to Brimfield in the cold and fog.
Sage did a stellar job driving, by which we mean she made many many errors and flipped at least three u-turns. No one should be required to drive in an unfamiliar place immediately before filming a TV show for the first time, okay?
Once there we quickly found the other teams that were filming on the same day as us (multiple episodes shoot on the same day), since we were the only people milling around Brimfield at 7:30 a.m. in excessive makeup. It was there that we met our competition, Victoria and Michael, aka the world’s nicest and most talented people and very hard to hate. Ugh, so annoying!
There’s a lot of waiting around that comes with filming a TV show, and we were on site until 7 p.m. even though our portion of filming only took maybe 2 hours altogether. Mostly we did a lot of sitting, watching some of the filming, and pacing Brimfield nervously to scout for what we might want to buy (which they let teams do but don’t ever air).
The filming included action where we walked around Brimfield scoping out and buying pieces (and awkwardly bantering with Victoria and Michael), but also a lot of interviews where we stumbled over our words like idiots and regretted the fact that only one of us had slept at all the night before. It doesn’t help that when doing the interviews you have to remember to repeat the question back before answering it, since the producer asking the question will be edited out.
We also took “hero” shots, in which we stood on the hill outside Brimfield and did silly things (like point at the camera and pretend to type on our cell phones, I guess because we’re bloggers?) so they could make us look cool and competitive on film. We can’t believe they used the ones that they did! Also, saying mean things about Victoria and Michel was hard, but required. It is a competition, after all!
Of course the most exciting part was getting to meet Lara. She only spent a little time with us to film our segment, but she made a lasting impression especially after she complimented Naomi’s sweater tank top (unclear what season a sweater tank top is supposed to be for…). We didn’t get a photo with Lara on our first day of filming, but did on our last day.
It was so strange to watch Brimfield shoppers lining up to photograph us while we were filming and flocking around the cameras just like we had been doing back in May during the old days before we were celebrities ourselves. Here are some of the not-so-subtly onlooker photos we snapped way back when not ever dreaming we’d be in front of the cameras a few months later:
The day went relatively smoothly, though we got pretty anxious toward the end because we were the last team to film and the shops were actually closing up right as it was finally our turn to go out and start buying. We don’t want to point fingers, but it was totally Nancy Kerrigan’s fault. We were consoled by the fact that Victoria and Michael were in the same situation.
Finally, it was time to shop. Our “Flip List” consisted of three projects: vivid design, style merge (where you unite two pieces with different styles), and mid-century modern, and we needed to get supplies for each or we’d be out of luck. Our main approach was to send as little money as possible (duh), and also to get relatively small pieces since we knew we’d be selling in New York where space can be tight.
We bought the piece for “vivid design” with Lara — a claw foot coffee table that ended up being in a lot worse shape than we thought it was when we bought it. We got a good price though! (And good thing for that, as it turned out….)
For “style merge” we got a sewing table that we planned to combine with a wooden crate to make a desk. We had to adjust that plan on the fly — we originally were going to find a metal insert but couldn’t find any the right shape, so crate it was!
The seller of the sewing table was right in the middle of closing up her tent flaps when we arrived, but we made it in right under the wire.
Finally, we got a pair of end-tables with real marble tops for the “mid-century modern” category. They had great tapered legs (hello MCM) and Naomi still feels guilty for bullying the vendor down to a low price (on the show they didn’t show us negotiating at all, but she actually talked him down from like $80). We were trying to be really thrifty!
Overall we met super nice vendors and got great deals, though we did a LOT more bargaining and our plans for our projects changed about 500 times that you don’t see on the show. We guess it’s pretty hard to edit 3 days of footage down to a 22 minute episode!
Lastly we did an art consult with Sue and Cija, two amazing crew members, so that they knew what we wanted to do with the pieces on Workshop Day.
And then suddenly the first day of filming was over and it was time to drive home and hopefully not fall asleep at the wheel. (That was pretty much the story after each long day of filming, all of which took place several hours from home.)
Thus concludes Part 1 of our recap! If you watched the show, we’d love to hear what you thought! And stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 later this week! (Update: here are links to our posts about Filming Day #2: Workshop Day and Filming Day #3: Sell Day, and the link to see our episode on Amazon for $1.99 (Season 8, episode 5).)