Angel Strawbridge from Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau has made a name for herself as a second-hand shopping master, but what is the secret to her keen eye for buying second-hand furniture?
The TV star has used her thrifting skills to create not one but two businesses: The Vintage Patisserie and the Chateau de la Motte Husson. The latter of which was documented on the hit show Escape to the Chateau, where Dick and Angel transformed a derelict French 18th Century Chateau into an interior paradise and thriving events business.
Over the last year, the cost of living crisis has encouraged more and more people to start shopping second-hand and hunting out a bargain. Thrifting homeware and furniture to upcycle is often easier said than done. However, according to Angel, the secret to a bargain lies in honing in on the best sellers and shopping with an open mind.
‘I think for us it’s always looking at who is selling that stuff,’ Angel told Ideal Home during our visit to the Chateau to celebrate the latest thechateau.tv (opens in new tab) range.
‘If it’s a big boot fair you don’t always have the time to go through, you’ve got to kind of isolate what stalls you want to go.’
While it might seem easier to opt for beautifully curated stalls or popping into dedicated ‘vintage’ stores if you want to snag a deal Angel suggests avoiding these. ‘If someone has already thrifted for you, and is selling them, you kind of want to avoid those, you want a bargain.’
Angel recommends looking at the variety on offer as an indicator of a good seller at a car boot sale. ‘It’s normally someone a bit older that’s clearing stuff out,’ she explains. ‘Sometimes it can be just that Grandma’s passed away. But the fact that their stuff is going to a nice home, I think is a nice thing.’
However, while Angel is all for nabbing a bargain she thinks it’s always important to pay a fair price. ‘You want to pay something fair, so something else that Dick and I do is if we think it’s too cheap we offer a little bit more for it,’ confesses Angel. ‘It’s just something for us and our conscious.’
At the end of the day, Angel says a lot of second-hand shopping is down to intuition and having an open mind.
‘You’ve got to be able to go there with a really happy, open, free mind because you’ve just got to take those bits and pieces and transport them into your environment,’ she says. ‘If they’re surrounded by stuff that’s not your taste, it’s having that confidence to ask ‘will it look nice in my home?”
And if it turns out not to be right, don’t despair, it can always go back to a car boot or charity shop.
‘There are bits that we’ve bought on impulse because we like them, I think one of the big things is when you go boot fairs or charity shop is if you don’t buy it there and then you might never see it again,’ says Angel.
‘So I always say to myself am I going to get home and then regret that tomorrow? If I think oh I’ll be upset tomorrow I’ll buy it and I take it home, and if it’s not right it’s fine. It can go back to charity. It’s just part of that whole cycle of things.’