By Terry Rogers
Loretta Ellingsworth said that something that started as a hobby led to her and her husband, Jason, appearing on a competition show that airs on the Great American Country channel, Flea Market Flip. Ms. Ellingsworth reproduces flea market finds into attractive household items. She is the owner of Little Beans Design and says much of what she does now is custom work for clients.
“I watched the show on television, it used to be on HGTV, but it has moved to the new channel,” Ms. Ellingsworth said. “I went on their website and sent an email but they had casted for that season. I never thought I would hear from them again, but I got an email in January asking if we were interested. I had to send three pieces for them to review and we had to do a Skype interview with the casting director. Next thing we knew, we were chosen.”
On the show, the Ellingsworths competed against a mother-daughter team, Kellie and Janice. Each team was given $500 to purchase flea market items at the Stormville Airport Antique Show and Flea Market in upstate New York. They were then given three categories to complete a project using the items they purchased. The categories they were given were Sustainable Design, Mix and Match as well as Unconventional Dining.
For the Sustainable Design project, which required them to find a furniture piece and get creative in order to make another design project that would withstand the test of time, the Ellingsworths transformed a dresser into a wine bar. For the Mix and Match category, they turned an old drum set into a table and lamp. The unconventional dining set was a retro-table and chair set that was painted and refurbished. Once the projects were completed, the couple was required to sell the items at the Long Island City Flea Market. The couple that made the most profit on their items won $5,000.
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At the end of the show, the Ellingsworth showed a profit of $70 while their competitors profited $300. Although they did not win, Ms. Ellingsworth said she was glad they participated in the show and would do it again, but the rules of the show do not allow contestants to return. She said that there had been talk of doing redemption-type episodes, but she didn’t believe that would happen.
“My husband loves me very much,” she said. “He works a full-time job and we would have to leave home at 3 AM to get to a taping of the show. Sometimes, we got home so he could only get a few hours sleep before he had to get to work. The locations were chosen by the show, we did not get to choose them.” Ms. Ellingsworth said that some vendors at the flea markets would not deal with them because of the show which made it difficult.
If they had won, the Ellingsworths planned to donate a portion of the proceeds to the SIDS Foundation in honor of their middle daughter, Harper, who died at three months and three days old of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“I was working at the county and got a call from daycare that she went down for a nap and stopped breathing,” Ms. Ellingsworth said. “They rushed her to the hospital but they could not revive her. We learned after the taping that Kellie and Janice donated $500 of their winnings to the SIDS Foundation in Harper’s honor. That was an amazing thing to do and I wish the show had highlighted that.”
Ms. Ellingsworth said that the couple conducts many fundraisers throughout the year for the SIDS Foundation. In addition to Little Bean Designs, she teaches part-time at Painting with a Twist in Lewes. One of the first fundraisers she did through that organization was for the SIDS Foundation. Ms. Ellingsworth said that she would like to do a 5k for the foundation in Harper’s honor as well, but is struggling with how to create such a large event. She said that anyone who would like to help her create a 5k for the foundation can reach her through Facebook at Little Bean Designs.
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