Fancy dress hunting at the Princess May School car boot – and ideas for you

When browsing the wares on offer at the Princess May school car boot in Stoke Newington this weekend, we met East Londoner Alistair White, 25, who looked really pleased with his purchase.

“I’m off on a stag do next weekend and the theme is English gent, so I was looking for something just like this,” he told us. “I haggled it down to £11 from £15, but then saw a similar jacket at another stall for only a fiver – I was relieved when it turned out to be too small for me because I hadn’t missed out on a better deal!”

Alistair got himself a great bargain, and this got us thinking about car boot sales as a great source of fancy dress items. Here are four ideas for fancy dress for 2012 – do you have unwanted items that fit the criteria? Now’s the time to get a good price!

English gent

Have you got flat caps, pork pie hats, waistcoats, walking canes, pipes, gentlemen’s umbrellas and false moustaches? Get them to the car boot ahead of the annual Chap Olympiad on July 7 and 8 – there’ll be lots of fine men needing your attire!

Superheroes

Avengers Assemble, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises: that’s a potent trio of superhero blockbusters hitting the cinemas this year. All sorts of superhero paraphernalia is good here, from retro children’s toys bearing the superhero brand to capes and masks and appropriate accessories.

The Roaring Twenties

Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby isn’t out till Christmas, but we’re already swooning over pictures from the set of the film, starring Carey Mulligan and Leonardo Di Caprio (above). Pile up the beads and pearls and feathers – everything art deco. Gatsby’s a gift to themed parties and fancy dress.

A very British summer of Olympics and Jubilee celebrations

We’re expecting street parties and bunting for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, so now’s a great time to shift vintage crockery for those tea parties. Outfit wise, you’ll do well with jewels, hats and handbags for those wanting to pay homage to the monarch – even armed forces merchandise for those wanting to mimic Princes William and Harry.

For the Olympics, it’s time to sell your vintage trainers. For both major events, anything branded with the Union Flag is a surefire hit.

Helen Lawson

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Slideshow: Things you should be selling at the car boot this weekend

Looking for some advice on what to sell this weekend? DVDs, cosmetics and records are always popular

Car boot aficionado and experienced e-Bay seller dressing-2-kill has compiled a car booting bible that is frequently updated to include hints and tips for both buyers and sellers.

The post includes a pretty comprehensive list of things that always sell at car boots, things that never sell and ways to spruce up your stall to invite customers in.

We loved this tip in particular on how to attract buyers:

‘It’s worth considering buying in a few sweets, cans of drinks, tissues and wet-wipes – they’re great to offer at the front of the stall to attract mums with small kids.’

We had a root around at home to see if we could find some of the most popular items to sell and look what we found

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sophie Tighe


How to identify London Olympics and Royal Diamond Jubilee memorabilia

With the London Olympics and the Royal Diamond Jubilee around the corner, 2012 is a big year for UK commemorative memorabilia.

Carbooted got in touch with the people who make it for tips on identifying the real deal. Read on if you don’t fancy getting sold a rip off down the car boot.

Look out for the identifying stamps on official Jubilee memorabilia.
(Image courtesy of Royal Collection © 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.)

Royal Jubilee collectibles

An official range of china has been commissioned by the Royal Collection to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Tea caddys and tea towels are at the cheaper end of the range where as a Diamond Jubilee cake stand will set you back almost £400.

Emma Shaw from the Royal Collection said that all official Diamond Jubilee china is easily identified.

“ All pieces of Diamond Jubilee china have the Royal Collection stamp on their base if they are a limited-edition piece they are numbered too. They also have the Made in England back stamp on their base.”

London Olympics 2012 memorabilia

The range of official Olympics merchandise is as widespread as the range of sports the games include. There are key rings, flags, binoculars and books as well as reworked versions of traditional board games like Monopoly. There are also higher end lines of fine jewellery and silverware available as part of a collaboration with Links.

Lloyd Evans from London 2012 said: “If a product is genuine London 2012 Games merchandise it will feature a numbered holographic version of the official London 2012 logo as part of the packaging or labelling.”

Kate Lloyd


Tips from a car boot addict

Photo by Jerome EdwardsPhoto by Jerome Edwards

Paying your way through university can be tough, even if you’ve got your fees covered. But while Guy Roberts, 25, from London, was studying illustration at the Norwich University College of the Arts, he realised Norwich’s car boot sales were an untapped goldmine of vintage fashion. He set up an eBay account and soon he was earning up to £300 a month.

Guy is now a self-confessed car boot addict and has agreed to tell carbooted the secrets of buying and selling at the car boot.

When did you start going to car boot sales?

I used to go with my parents but I didn’t really get what they were all about. It was only when I started going off my own back that I realised there were people who were willing to practically give away stuff. I’d be mesmerised by these things and they would let me have them for 50p because they thought were rubbish.

What’s been your best buy at a car boot sale?

The first thing I remember being proud of buying was an old Miami Dolphins jacket, which I still love to bits. It cost me £2, but if you bought it in America it would be about £70. I also bought two Helly Hansen jackets for £2 each, and they’re worth around £70 if you buy them new.

What made you decide to start selling clothes online?

I’m into vintage clothing myself, so I could see that a lot of this stuff was worth good money. I thought, if people are selling these things so cheap but I know there’s a market for them, why not start selling them on eBay? So I started going to car boot sales and charity shops, and buying vintage things so I could sell them online. Once, I bought a River Island jumper which wasn’t even vintage but it had that kind of feel – I got it for £3 and sold it for £30. After that I was addicted.

What are the easiest things to sell?

You can normally sell designer brands for double what you pay for them at the car boot. Sportswear from famous brands like Nike or Adidas always goes down well. If anything has a brand name on it but looks like a granddad would wear it, people will be willing to pay for it.

How much do you make out of car boot sales?

While I was at university I was making £200-£300 a month. That covered all the money I needed to have fun, and I was able to go out pretty much every night. It probably wasn’t great for my liver and my brain cells, though.

But now when I sell stuff on eBay, the money stays in my paypal account and I usually end up spending it on more clothes.

Where’s the best place for finding bargains?

London’s not the best for cheap stuff because people here have a bit more money. But at the car boot sales in Norwich, where I studied, you’d find things for 50p which would go for at least four times that in London.

I like the Battersea Car Boot Sale but a lot of people are there to make as much money as they can, so you feel like you’re getting hustled sometimes. I saw this really nice Tommy Hilfiger towel there but they were selling it for £8. In London they know how much they can get for stuff, but outside London, they’re not so bothered about brands so that makes it cheaper.

Chiswick School Car Boot Sale is good because even though you’re in London it’s more like an out of town sale. A lot of people come in from outside the city and you also get well off families who just want to get rid of their stuff as quickly as they can.

Where’s the worst place?

The East End is a lot more trendy – you get people coming in looking for vintage clothes and furniture – there are a lot more posers round there so things are more expensive.

What was your last buy?

This jacket I’m wearing (see picture). I got it for £4.

What was your last sell?

Last weekend I went to Battersea Car Boot Sale to get rid of some old clothes, I had forty huge plastic rings that my friend had bought back from Thailand. I sold them for £4 to this weird old man with a massive empty suitcase – I’ve got no idea what he wanted to do with them.

Tom Allsop


Inspiration for car boot presentation – three great ideas from the Battersea Boot Sale

It’s all very well taking your stuff to the car boot to sell, but it might be difficult to attract buyers to your amazing selection of goods if they can’t see what’s on show.

At Sunday’s Battersea Car Boot saleas recommended to us by car booting expert Guy Roberts – we spotted three great ways of presenting your stall:

– Record boxes divided by genre and type of vinyl make it easy for music fans to flick through:

– Pictures on show as if they’re in a gallery let the buyer envisage how the frame will look in their own home:

– Crockery neatly displayed in matching sets shows off your great collection, and the buyer can do the mixing and matching themselves:

We also overheard a seller proudly telling a customer that the children’s clothes she had for sale were arranged by age group – a simple but effective way of making it easy for your buyers to browse.

Overall, the Battersea Boot Sale is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, with friendly sellers. The organisers let you re-enter if you get your hand stamped, and there were lots of well-behaved dogs enjoying a saunter around the stalls, too. The midday opening means it’s fab for lovers of lazy Sunday mornings.  It was difficult to resist the old-fashioned cook books at many different stalls, from publishers such as Vogue and Good Housekeeping, because good cooking never goes out of fashion. My favourite buy of the day? We picked up these 1960s Brands Hatch programmes – complete with results written in pencil from the race itself – for 50p apiece.

Helen Lawson


Rags to riches: flogging fashion at car boot sales

Car boot sales are a great way to declutter and shift some of your more regrettable fashion faux pas.

Top tips for carbooting in today’s Guardian include doing your research on where to sell, arriving early and (most importantly) being prepared to haggle with buyers.

Read the full article here

Sophie Tighe


What you need to do before you sell food at a car boot sale

Cakes and biscuits are cheap to make and always popular with buyers. Carbooted headed to pop up market The Big Brixton Bake Off to get the low down on what you need to do before you start selling homemade food.

The Big Brixton Bake Off

1. Check whether you need to register your kitchen

To register your kitchen you need to contact your local council – don’t worry, it’s not much hassle – it’s free to do and they’re obligated to accept your request.

If you’re planning a one off bake sale you should be okay without registering, but if you’re planning on making a bit of extra cash by selling food once a month you’ll need to register.

Barbs was selling vegan cakes at The Big Brixton Bake Off. What type of cakes would suit your target audience?

2. Decide who your target audience is

Which car boot are you selling at? In some areas people might only buy organic cakes, in others it might be all about the glitter and colourful icing. Is it worth heading to a car boot in a more affluent area so that you can sell your food for a larger profit?

3. Do a course in food hygiene

Professional caterers have hygiene qualifications so follow their lead. You don’t want to get a reputation for making customers sick. Check out local colleges; lots run night courses in health and safety for kitchens.

This toffee banoffee cake from The Big Brixton Bake Off had to be eaten on the day so was served on a paper plate with a fork

4. Work out what packaging to use

Will people be eating your produce at the car boot sale or be taking it home? Does your packaging need to be pretty or functional? Packaging can be an expensive extra cost but places like Costco and Macro sell it in bulk.

Check whether the packaging you choose fits in with your local council’s legislation before you buy it though – some have strict rules on the chemicals used to make it.

5. Practice!

Make sure you’re selling the best possible produce on your stall by testing out your cooking skills on your family first!

What are your tips?

Kate Lloyd