If we’re being honest, we secretly channel Joanna Gaines when we’re antiquing. She always seems to find exactly what she’s looking for and knows exactly where to find it. Only difference being that I never know what I’m looking for and I never know where to find it. If you’ve ever been to Round Top or any big antique fair, you know there are hundreds of vendors that span mile after mile. It can be overwhelming! With Round Top coming up next month, we enlisted the help of vintage expert and co-founder of The Distillery, Catelyn Silapachai. Catelyn answers all of our questions on how to make the most out of Round Top. For example, can you negotiate? How do you get the big items home? Lucky for us, this year she is also offering personal, guided shopping tours for those that would rather focus on the buying instead of the logistics. Sounds like a dream girls trip to me. For more information on booking a tour with Catelyn, contact her here.
By Catelyn Silapachai
What is Round Top?
Round Top is a bi-annual flea market in Round Top, Texas (between Austin and Houston). The Round Top Antiques Show / Antique Week is a series of antique shows and flea markets spanning about 10 miles of highway. From Austin, you’ll be looking for a road marked 237 leading to Round Top, Texas. You can’t miss it, whether you come from the north end (290) or the south (71).
What Can I Find at Round Top?
Anything and everything. Literally. From high end collectors’ items, to mid-century furniture, to junk. If you’re just going to browse, you will not be disappointed. If you’re looking for something specific, do some research beforehand, because the venues and vendors specialize in all different types of antiques. These days, many new items are sold at Round Top as well.
How Do I Bring Large Items Home?
Shipping can be arranged on site with the vendors and shipping companies who work at the market. Just talk to the vendor you purchased from about shipping options. If you plan on driving a truck with room in the back, you can also discuss a time to come back and pick up your purchase later in the day.
How Should I Prepare?
Arrive with a full tank of gas. Towards the end, traffic can get pretty congested. I like to go in the early days of the shows because it’s much less crowded, but of course the better deals can be found towards the end. Bring snacks, water, sunscreen, and shopping bags (or a rolling cart). The venues are located along the highway, so it’s actually rather easy to get out, shop, return to the car to drop off purchases, and drive to the next venue.
Can I Negotiate?
Generally speaking, prices at Round Top are not discounted from retail. That means that if you were to visit a specialty antique bookseller’s shop in his hometown and his Round Top booth, his prices would be the same. This surprised me at first, but Round Top is no ordinary flea market. For many vendors that I talked to, Round Top is the only show they do, and a primary source of their income. That being said, on the last day, many vendors are willing to discount their goods significantly.
How Can I Get the Most out of Round Top?
Keep an open mind. Most of the vendors at Round Top (especially in the primary venues) are experts in what they sell, and love to talk all day about where they found their pieces, how they were made, what they mean. For me, that’s the most interesting part. Learning about a point in history and seeing the evidence of that time and place right in front of me. Don’t get too caught up in the hunt. Enjoy, relax, ask questions, listen, and learn.
If tackling Round Top still sounds daunting, I’m giving personalized guided shopping tours this fall! I’ve been exploring the show for years, and am excited to be able to share it with new friends this year. If you’re interested in more information about taking a guided day trip with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catelyn Silapachai and her brother Clif Claybomb are siblings and co- owners of The Distillery. They started The Distillery in mid-2013 as a lifestyle brand and collection of vintage, handmade, and specialty goods. In a world of mass-production, we wanted to provide an alternative that’s unique and authentic. Follow The Distillery Market on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration.
featured image via hip paris blog