Flea Market Flip Season 2 premieres 9pm ET March 15 on HGTV.
Even if it wasn’t her job to be there, odds are Lara Spencer would still be spending plenty of Saturday mornings rummaging for unique items at yard sales and flea markets. But Spencer, whose day job is cohost on ABC’s Good Morning America, turned her lifelong love of antique shopping into a popular side gig with Flea Market Flip, which is about to return for a second season on HGTV.
The concept is the same — two teams scour a flea market for an item to buy, fix and flip, with whichever team that earns the most profit winning $5,000 — but viewers will notice some different locations this time out. Spencer mentioned that the production will branch out to the West Coast, with stops at spots like the Rose Bowl and Long Beach Antique Market in California. We’ll also see Spencer getting in on the flipping action herself.
The busy Spencer (pictured, center) took some time to talk about Season 2, how she came by her love of flea markets honestly, and just how she fits the show into her hectic schedule:
Channel Guide Magazine: Now that you’re in Season 2, does the production feel like a well-oiled machine?
Lara Spencer: It feels like I’ve been doing this show forever, because in some ways I have. I came up with the idea for Flea Market Flip based on my real life as an antique collector and dealer, and going to flea markets and finding these one-of-a-kind pieces and fixing them up and putting them in my little antique shop. That was the impetus for the show, and honestly, you know when you’re doing something and it just feels right? It feels organic. It certainly doesn’t feel like a job, I’ll tell you that. I am up bright and early, and fired up, and sad when the day ends.
CGM: Was it easier this time finding people and places to film?
LS: Oh yeah. The feedback and the response to the show has been tremendous, to the point where now people will come up to me on the street and first they’ll say something nice about Good Morning America and then they’ll say, “How do I get on that other show? I want to be on Flea Market Flip!” People are sending me on Twitter pictures of pieces that they’ve transformed. I have to write back and say, “This is not an audition. But I do love your work.”
CGM: What kind of folks make it on Flea Market Flip?
LS: We find people with tremendous creativity and great eyes. We’re looking for people who don’t all see things in the same way. I wouldn’t want people who were all sleek and midcentury-modern-minded. I love the fact that we’ve had contestants that really push the envelope in some ways that I might not necessarily agree with but it makes for amazing TV.
CGM: Have you ever considered being a contestant yourself?
LS: I think that I would have an unfair advantage. But I will tell you that we have definitely shot some footage of myself going out there right alongside the teams and finding my own gems to fix up and flip. Not to compete with them, but just to do it alongside them, to give the viewers another shot at seeing transformations, and the way I would do things. People always ask, they want to know why the team chose the paint colors they did, why they decided to deconstruct the pieces like they do, but then they also ask, “Well, how would you have done it?” So we’ve actually taken the time to find some diamonds in the rough, and I transform them, and we’ll show you how I did at the game on hgtv.com.
CGM: It must be a busy schedule with GMA and Flea Market Flip. How do you juggle it all?
LS: When you’re doing something that you love, there’s always time. I’ve really learned how to make it a family affair. I get up in the morning and head into GMA, and have an amazing husband who helps with the kids in the morning. I’m usually home by the time they’re out of school, so I cover the afternoons and am there every night for dinner and putting them to bed. So the weeks are easy. And then on the weekends when we shoot Flea Market Flip, I bring the kids along. I have two treasure hunters in the making in my kids. They’ve both got really distinct style, and they definitely know what they’re looking for. My daughter is always on the hunt for cool, vintage Snoopy memorabilia, and my son until recently was really into vintage toy trucks. Now he’s all about the Lakers.
CGM: You’ve done it your whole life, so what would you say is the overall appeal of flea-market shopping?
LS: I feel like yard sales have become another great American tradition. You know, you watch football on Sundays, you throw burgers on the grill on a hot, summer weekend, and on Saturday mornings I know more and more people are getting up and really enjoy looking through the paper and creating a little roadmap and going out in hopes of finding buried treasure. I think there’s a great joy in going out and searching for pieces that might remind you of your childhood. For example, I just found a wonderful set of china that was the same pattern as my grandmother’s. There’s a great sense of nostalgia every time I set the table. It reminds me of very happy childhood memories. Also, plain and simple, it’s a cheaper way to decorate your apartment. Times are tough, every dollar counts, people are trying to make their money go the distance and yard sales and flea markets are a terrific way to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for a fraction of what you pay in stores. That’s how it started for me as a kid. It was something I knew I’d be doing on most weekends, because that’s what my mom loved to do and I feel like I have been yard-saling since birth. She’d take me out — and I’ll never forget — she bought our dining room table that was covered in layers and layers of paint, and I can still smell the stripping solution that she used. It was this incredibly strong odor that I’ll never forget. … I was probably 7 years old and I saw her really putting in serious elbow grease in stripping off that paint, and thinking, “I don’t know what that thing is going to look like.” Just as a little girl, not getting it, but the wow factor when it was done, after she had stained it and oiled it, it was so magnificent. To this day, it is a centerpiece in our family’s home.
CGM: Being more well-known these days, is it difficult for you to go out and anonymous enjoy a yard sale or flea market?
LS: No, it’s not difficult. If people recognize me, I always stop and say hello. It’s sort of a wonderful subculture, the world of yard-salers and flea-marketers. Everybody understands what you’re doing and why you’re there, so it’s really fun to ask people what they’ve found and what they paid and what are they going to do with it. I really enjoy hearing the stories and more and more people come up to me and tell me about their treasures. Last week I was out … in Connecticut with my daughter and a woman came up and said, “Sorry, you missed it!” She got this wonderful little painting that she had bought and said, “I saw this and I thought, ‘This is Lara Spencer’s style.'” And I said, “You know what, you were right. You snapped that one up.” But that’s the thing. The early bird gets the worm, so God bless her.
Photo: © 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC.