When he was tired of his Paris apartment looking like an IKEA showroom and wanting to expand his interest in antiques, Nicolas Martin set out to investigate the trade.
Fast forward to 2010, when he and his wife Kristina launched the website fleamarketinsiders, a blog focusing on reviews of the world’s best fleamarkets, written by local enthusiasts.
It now receives more than 175,000 page views per month from more than 15 countries.
Last year the couple launched Fleamapket, a detailed paid-for web-based app directory with some 350 fleamarkets in 35 countries reviewed across both sites, with more detailed versions on the paid-for site.
One-way to Vienna
Multilingual Martin, a Parisian by birth, takes up the story.
“Beside my general interest in antiques I had almost no experience of all the search and trading ‘science’ of fleamarkets,” he says.
“In 2009 I quit my job as a senior executive in a PR agency in Paris and bought a one-way ticket to Vienna, where we are now based.
“I worked there with a vintage interiors shop, Catrinette, and spent all my weekends scouring fleamarkets, estate and church sales in upper Austria which we would sell on to private collectors and other dealers.”
He continues: “As a side project I started taking pictures of the most stunning items we found in order to share these with other antiques and fleamarket enthusiasts.”
The fleamarketinsiders.com initiative was then developed, which has grown “from a small personal blog to a fully fledged web platform”.
Martin adds: “Two years into the project, when the site had already gathered a small but enthusiastic community of followers, I realised that people were in need of well-researched information about fleamarkets, beyond just dates and opening hours.
“I started publishing reviews and shopping tips with my readers, and over the years the site has grown into one of the most comprehensive platforms for flea market enthusiasts out there.”
As for Martin’s favourite fleamarket pieces at home, he says: “I am surrounded by them. Some I use daily, like my set of vintage Bertoia wire chairs and diverse kitchen crockery, and I have a growing collection of vintage cameras which I use to take analogue photographs.
“But there’s one piece I particularly love: my Propeller aluminium and glass coffee table by the 1960s designer Knut Hesterberg which I had longed to own for years and bought for a 10th of its value – €100 – at Porte des Vanves market in Paris. I absolutely cherish it.”