The Rosebowl Flea Market is this Sunday (2nd Sunday of every month) and I’m divulging all my RFM secrets! I mean, not really, but kind of. If anyone asks me I always share this info but as far as I’m concerned, if it’s not already on the blog, it’s a secret.
Well, there’s an order of operations when I shop at the Rosebowl. First of all, only go when you’re not totally broke, and have a list. Otherwise it’s very depressing and overwhelming. I’ve been going to RFM for years now and have watched how prices have gradually increased each month, so to put the huge misconception that the flea market is cheap to rest, I’m here to tell you that it is, in fact, NOT cheap. Actually, sometimes it’s even more expensive than the stores because it has become trendy.
Regardless, I still go. I still love it. And I still come home with a car-full of shit. After a few months of going regularly I now feel like somewhat of an expert on it, and wanted to share my insight if you’re on the same page as me about home decor. That’s another thing you should know if you’ve never been. The Rosebowl has tons of unique vintage finds, but overall you’ll see a similar vibe in many of the booths. I like to call it a global influence; African mudcloths, Moroccan rugs, Scandinavian furniture. If I’m speaking your language so far, the Rosebowl Flea Market is the place for you.
Keep reading for my tips & order you should visit the booths.
-Don’t arrive earlier than 7:30Am. I made the mistake of a 6:00AM arrival, and not only was it more expensive (???) for the ticket, 90% of the vendors weren’t set up. I had to do 4 loops around the entire thing before I actually saw everything. 7:30AM is still early enough to beat the rush and the vendors will be set up. I usually am out of there by 9:00AM just as everyone in the world is arriving.
-Start at the plants. If you’re looking for an inexpensive fiddle fig or birds of paradise, the plant guy (he sells out of a semi-truck to the right when you walk in) should be your first stop. He always sells out.
-The rugs are a small fortune. There are so many great rugs it is overwhelming. I usually make a point of scoping out all rug vendors before purchasing any (unless I negotiate a crazy deal). Purchasing a rug at the Rosebowl is a pretty big commitment, as they are expensive, non-returnable, and one-of-a-kind. They aren’t your average rug sizes you see on West Elm, so be ready to bring home a rather oddly sized rug. With that being said, make sure you have all necessary measurements before going so you know your options.
Also, make yourself comfortable. Open up the entire rug, walk on it, inspect closely. Since these are authentic rugs, many will have holes or stains but that is part of their beauty. Just to give you an idea, a rug that is approximately 5×8 runs around $750 (after negotiations). Bring cash, that will help.
-The pillows. If you’re like me you’ll be too overwhelmed with all the pretty pillows to even pick one, so you just take pictures of them. But seriously, the pillow selection at the Rosebowl is in point. There are a few booths that really stand out to me every time I visit (I usually post a picture in one of them) and you can’t miss it. Pricing on pillows is around $60+
Unless a pillow is really special (if you know, you know) I don’t purchase at the Rosebowl. Usually I’ll check Etsy quickly while there and compare pricing. Since the flea market does have a lot of authentic Moroccan pieces sometimes the price is justified, but other times the more popular items (mudcloth or linen decor) can be found online.
-The mudcloths. These are sold on every corner at the Rosebowl. I once negotiated down to $25 but now they are pretty set on $35. I love buying these as throws, table runners, etc.
-The furniture. I’ve purchased mirrors, ladders, my dining table and bench, and Acapulco chairs all at the Rosebowl. The price was right and the style was exactly what I was looking for. Typically they will deliver for a fee, so if you have access to a truck it’s a good idea to bring it.
-The tchatchkis. Vintage glass bottles, little succulents, records, old concert posters, baskets, fabric, etc. are everywhere at the Rosebowl. I’ve picked up my fair share of tchatchkis at the flea market, but I’m now solidly on a strict plan when I go (make a list!!!).
-Bring a grandma cart. You know those deep carts that fold up? Oh you don’t? Well come to the Rosebowl once without it and then we’ll talk. You will want one. Trust.
-Get a breakfast burrito. Trust me, it’s delicious. And even though it’s probably the most expensive burrito I’ve ever had, it’s also one of my favorite burritos ever. Cash only.