We welcome Jennifer Bradley-Morris back with open arms. The curator behind The Ardent Forager, Jennifer brings not only a TON of items to the Flea but items steeped in Americana that you can easily imagine incorporating into your home - or into your wardrobe! We wanted to learn more about her collection and how she got started so we asked Jenn some questions as we prepare for this month's Flea!
Your collection and eye for amazing finds is one to be admired! How did you get started in finding and selling fantastical Americana and the high quality clothing/housewares you offer at the Neighborhood Flea?
Thank you! I really got started collecting things from an overwhelming sense of environmental responsibility. It killed me to see such awesome things leaving homes and heading to landfills. My house started piling up, so I had to start selling to keep my own sanity. Fortunately, my wife has been a great sport about it and has helped me to refine my purchasing and collecting. As a result, I try to buy only the best and bring them to market!
We'll call you a resident of the Rust Belt as you are currently doing the city hop between our favorites, Pittsburgh & Cleveland. You have unique perspective loving both cities that you can share where we both excel. What do you love best about both Pgh and CLE?
Well, Pittsburgh is my home, so I could go on about that all day. I love the people, the food, the neighborhoods. I love the maker community and how supportive the city is to the small business owner and the entrepreneurial spirit. Cleveland has a gritty "we're gonna do this" attitude that I love. And lots of food trucks, including donuts. I'm still getting to know this town, but they impress me every time I'm there.
What new picks can we expect to find at this month's Flea?
This month is all about leather and wool, for The Ardent Forager. Wool blankets, flags, and coats. Leather boots, bags, and belts. I'm cold already and thinking about hunkering down for the winter. Of course, I'll be bringing the best pieces of home decor from my collection. Think old fireplace tools, medical antiquities, and stuff you've never seen anywhere else!
What are the most popular types of items that are grabbed up almost immediately when you have them?
Oh, man. It changes every month! I can always count on excitement for world globes, Pendleton shirts, and anything to do with pie.
Can you pinpoint one spectacular find that made you almost jump out of your shoes when you found it?
About a month ago, I was at a barn sale in the Hudson Valley and found an old wine barrel full of stuff. "Stuff" included old silverware, horseshoes, pieces of model cars, and then right at the bottom of the barrel (literally), I discovered four wool 48 star American flags! They were perfectly moth-eaten and stained. Ready for the walls of my favorite homes. And, I have one left that I'm bringing this weekend!
For anyone who wants to find your specially curated picks outside of a marketplace, where can they get updates and purchase goods?
My Instagram page is the best way to never miss a new item. I post new finds daily, and you can buy them right through Instagram. There's also a link to my Etsy shop on the page, but honestly, so much of my stuff never even makes it that far! Find me @theardentforager