Vintage Style Me

Devoted To On Trend Vintage Fashion & Style From Rhiannon at Vintage Style Me

 

I learnt last night of the news that one of my favourite brands The Whitepepper has closed for business. Since they began roughly 8ish years ago i have coveted their designs and branding and just loved everything they did. There dresses were the right side of fun and affordable to keep in competition with the highstreet. I watched them grow from strength to strength and attended their press events and became friends with the girls who worked there.

On learning about this it got me thinking about how hard it is running a creative business. I’m going to focus on fashion as that’s what i do and know, but i’m sure many of the struggles I face daily are shared among all small businesses.

I absolutely love my job, and VSM is my entire world, I wouldnt change it and have been doing it for over 5 years. BUT. Sometimes I sit and cry because I feel i cannot cope, or that one customer sends an email without thinking and pushes you to breaking point. Or you machine breaks and you have yet another bill to pay. Sometimes it feels relentless and the idea of giving up becomes appealing.

I’m going to cover the few main cons (with a massive pro list at the end!) of running an independent business.. Id love to know your thoughts in the comments too!

 

FEES

Fees. These pesky little things are everywhere. Paypal, shopify, ASOSMP, depop, silkfred etc. They range from 1% – 35% and are always there, and sometimes combined. It all adds up and chips away at your profit margin, which is small anyway. People see something for £45 and assume £35 of that is profit. I wish. Take the 25% if you sell through a third party; the 2% paypal, the £3 postage, the £7 material etc…  it all chips away and sometimes you end up working for less than minimum wage. Why dont you put the prices up?.. welll

PRICING

In a world of “fast fashion” people want something straight away and for the smallest price possible. Trying to compete with highstreet giants is hard. They offer next day delivery & you can get a dress for a tenner. The highstreet  currently have massive 70% off sales, i can understand why people would go there rather than spending £40+ for a dress from an independent seller.  It’s so hard to get a look in sometimes with these global brands, it feels like your fighting a loosing battle. I built my brand around my love of vintage clothing, and upcycling, so im very big on the ethical fashion front. I think its important to know where and how your clothes are made, and at what ethical cost.

TIME

There are literally  not enough hours in the day. Making all the products, marketing, updating the website, blogging, taking new photos, getting samples to press, getting to meetings with fabric reps, i sometimes feel like i ned to clone myself. Sometimes people expect email replies straight away, but it just isn’t possible. We have a ‘reply within 24 hours’ policy, its not because i cant be bothered or because i’m being rude, but i literally do not have the time to do it straight away.

ECONOMIC CLIMATE

Everyone is broke. Everyone wants a bargain. Postage rise, fabric costs rise, tax rises, cost of living rise, yet wages (therefore my prices) stay the same. The high street are pretty much giving away their clothes (which incidentally makes you think how little the people who made them got paid, if you can sell an item for £7 and still make a profit). The world has become anonymous and has lost that neighbourly feel. Spending £40 in my store can quite literally save my ass some weeks, but i understand its easier and quicker to go to asos/topshop etc. I do the exact same thing quite often, as we all want something for nothing, or a lot of the time it’s all we can afford. Its a vicious circle of a low economy and the only ones who benefit are the massive companies. I understand that small businesses aren’t really ‘competing’ with the big boys, it’s more trying to get customers to come to you rather than them. Its hard to show people the difference of why shopping and supporting handmade is so important.

WORKING ALONE

Working solo or part time solo can sometimes be a lonely time. You’re missing that support network you get when working as a team or in a larger company. When you get that horrible email from the >1% which makes you want to cry or quit, theres no one there to talk to about it. No one there to share in the pain, or turn it into something funny. It can sometimes feel that you’re struggling on your own.

Luckily thanks to the wonderful world of FB, there are many groups where all us business babes have come together where we can ask advice, share stories or even have a little rant when necessary. These help immensely and the support they give is something i could not do without. Talking to my dog all day every day is great, but a little human contact goes a long way!

 

THE PROS

I’m living the dream! Working in the fashion industry. I’v met some amazing and talented people. Seeing something you have designed in a magazine. The customer pictures of people wearing your items. Flexible living.. afternoon mid week coffee? OK then! Being creative for a living. Every day is different. Being asked to make things for special occasions as well as some pretty funny fancy dress. Being recognised in the street (oh instagram fame). Passing a stranger in the street wearing one of your designs. Going to fancy events. Meeting amazing creative people. Being able to have a dog. Being too friendly with the post office girls. The lovely messages customers leave on our ‘notes’ section. Anything from “great job keep it up” to “your designs are incredible, i’m so happy i found your store”. Each one makes me smile.

I would love to know what you think regarding the status of independent businesses, are they dying out or going to stay stronger than ever? Perhaps the White Pepper had personal reasons for disappearing; i’m sure it will all become clear soon amid this speculation. It just got me thinking about how hard this life can be sometimes.

Incidentally, if you do want to support us, we currently have 25% off with code SUMMERSALE at Vintage Style Me 

 

A few of my favourite independent brands:

Tallulahs Threads

Crown & Glory 

Oh Squirrel 

Veronica Dearley 

Daisy Says I Do

Syd & Mallory

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This summer at Vintage Style Me is all about floaty lace dresses, lashings of velvet and luxurious embroidered details. We adore the juxtaposition of delicate lace next to heavier fabrics such as velvet. We’ve also played around with vintage colours like dusty pink, mustard, rust lace and royal blue. Not the usual colours for summer but we think they work perfectly and are great for summer dreamers.

Heavily inspired by the 70s, loose boho shapes with oversized bell sleeves are festival perfect and also great layered into autumn.

As always we have lots of fun prints in store too, such as Bunies, William Morris designs & lots of gingham! I hope you enjoy our summer look book, all items are available in store in all sizes, and you can get 20% off with code TAKE20 <3

Clothing by Vintage Style Me

Photography by She Cried Wolf

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The past few weeks have been particularly miserable. Summer seems like a distant memory and leaving the house is a tired regime of layering on jumpers, coats, scarfs and hats. Although i enjoy nothing more than a crisp autumn walk, the recent wind and rain has had me hiding away in my pretty little home. My lovely friend Gemma (instagram @sewdivine) came to visit a few weeks ago and very kindly brought me some amazing birthday gifts, one of which this beautiful Alice in Wonderland colouring book. Dressed in my favourite slouchy velvet dress from my store, i settled down to do some much earned colouring in! I was recently sent some lovely jewellery form Onecklace who as well as doing great personalised jewellery do some really great boho style rings, bracelets and necklaces. I chose this lovely sterling silver Egyptian triangle ring, and this compass bracelet. I love silver jewellery as it goes perfectly with the 70s boho style which is oh so me! The lace trim on the velvet dress compliments the jewellery perfectly!

You can also get 20% off everything in my store Vintage Style Me with code VSMSALE

Ring & Bracelet – c/o Onecklace

Dress – Vintage Style Me 

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Last sunday myself Lily, Penny the sausage dog and Moomin the Pom headed to a dreamy cotswold village for a day of photo fun with the wonderful Alexa! We took the last of our summer stock to shoot, as sadly it feels summer is drawing to an end. Our brief was to shoot a little adventure the country, with a 60s twist. Our theme for a/w is English Heritage, so this little shoot leads nicely into that. We had a dreamy crochet swing dress, an indian batik dress and a vintage floral smock. We wondered through forests, in fields with long grass and jumped over stone walls. I wore my new favourite item; a vintage suede waistcoat with the tassels from the lovely guys from Rokit Vintage, my go to place for a great vintage rummage in London, plus their website has thousands of treasures on too!

See our summer collection here!

 

 

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Three Apps that Can Help You Shop for Vintage Clothes

 

For many people, the biggest thrills of shopping for vintage clothing comes from rifling through the clothes in thrift shops trying to find the perfect find. But what happens when you find yourself without the option to do so? If you find yourself without any thrift shops nearby, or without the time to drive out? Nowadays, the answer could actually be found in your mobile phone.

The mobile market has continued to grow rapidly in the past few years. Late last year, The Guardian reported that online purchases via mobile outnumbers those made via desktop computers for the first time, supporting claims made by the company behind Free Casino Hunter  that growth in mobile internet is among the strongest trends on the internet landscape to date. Nowadays, those looking for vintage clothes can even find them with their mobile phones, using the following apps:

 

1. Reissued

For those looking for a more moderated online store, Reissued is a great choice because vendors are invitation-only. Users of the app can find and follow different curators, which is great news for those who want to shop, but not quite for those who want to sell. Still, Reissued sees dozens of new items added daily, and users often add comments on the items so you can have easy access to feedback.

 

2. ThriftBuddy

If you just haven’t been able to find any thrift stores near you and have been looking for one, ThriftBuddy is a good choice, if only because it catalogues all the different thrift stores and sales in your area. It has over 10,000 different locations available, which users can search depending on proximity, city, or ZIP code. You can also mark locations as favorites, and post wishes for items you’re hunting for.

3. ModCloth

Most people who have tried to search for vintage items online have probably been on ModCloth, and they should be glad to know that they have also released mobile apps on both iOS and Android. You can do pretty much everything you can do on the website through the app, from adding favorites to pinning items you like on Pinterest. With the app being so new, they’re also offering exclusive items and early access to sales.

Nowadays, you can find hundreds of deals right from your mobile phone, and with the help of these apps, you can find great vintage finds even without leaving your home.

 

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In a few weeks time i’m moving into a new flat, which has subsequently sparked a home-ware revolution in my mind. For years the idea of home-ware has made me shudder and run for the nearest Topshop, but recently (possibly due to the impending old age) the thought of making my home pretty has really appealed to me.

Getting inspiration from my beloved House of Hackney, vintage home magazine and everyones fave, Pinterest, i’v bought metres of fabric to make curtains & spending all my money on rugs and lamps. I’v become a bit obsessed and have learnt that the finishing touches are what really makes your mark on your home. Personal little touches that reflect your personality. I stumbled among Abodent, an independant home-ware brand who stock all the finishes a vintage loving girl could want. I’v made a little wishlist of all the things i shall be getting for my new home. The guys at Abodent also very kindly gave me a discount code for you guys to use, enter code: VSM at checkout to get 10% off! (See Abodent on Instagram & Twitter @abodent_com)

1 -Weekly Schedule Chalk Board

2 – Red-Fan Parrot Cushion

3 – Narrow Boat cupboard Knob

4 – Tool Shed Draw Set

5 – Sumi-E Canopy Cushion

6 – Vignette Cupboard Knob

7 – Poppy Pattern Bowl

8 – Gatekeepers Cupboard Knob

9 – Rusty Scottie Book Ends

10 – Country Cottage cupboard Knob

11 – Stout Photo Frame

12 – Bunny Ore Cupboard Knob

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(Stupid Clothing Fold Up Camo Tee)

Who Are They?

“Never take life too seriously, wear your heart on your sleeve, and have the confident fearlessness to jump headlong 100% into everything.” – Harvey & Cat

Stupid Clothing‘ Was created in Les Deux Alpes, a quant little town in the french mountains.

Created originally to fit around their hectic and seasonal lifestyles. Stupid Clothing kits you out in quality gear throughout winter and summer. Key inspirations include snow and surf functionality with street-wear influences and fashion lifestyle trends. Their extensive range of clothing and accessories embodies the attitude of their wearers, in all the environments you find yourself in – whether your in the city or out in the elements.

(Stupid Clothing Beanie & Burgundy Riding Shirt)

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The sun is making a comeback (at long last) so here at VSM we decided it’s time to ditch the winter blues and up summer ante. We’ve unleashed a whole new collection of fun and flirty designs ready for you to tackle the spring sunshine.

We have stayed true to the styles that you know and love but in true VSM style we’ve given them a extra quirky twist by combing them with some retro prints.

Everything pictured is available in our online boutique, all handmade in London, by us, for you!

(Beep Beep! Gear up your bikes, we’re bringing out this cute cycle smock)

(Florals in Spring? Well of course! Look bloomin’ marvellous in this gorgeous red floral smock)

(Spice up your wardrobe with this oriental floral dress, guaranteed to brighten up your February wardrobe)

(Make sure you’ve got your passports sorted, this aeroplane dress is ready to take off)

(Not jetting off on your holidays this year? Don’t worry we’re bringing the sunshine to you with this saucy pin up Hawaiian two-piece)

(It’s time to unleash your wild side with this unique tiger print smock)

15% Off With Discount Code ‘FRESHERS’ 

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Last sunday was one of those perfect autumn days; the sun was shining, the air was fresh and the breeze was making the leaves fall like snow. I walked through Finsbury Park to meet up with some friends, and meet there new puppy ruby. We then hopped on the bus to Tufnell park, where we browsed the pretty independent shops, and dreamed of living in one of the big town houses. We spent the afternoon in a cosy pup eating a big roast dinner, then finished the day with an organic ice cream form Ruby Violets. I decided to take my new Clarks boots out for their first trip. Risky i know due to all the walking, but they were so comfy, and kept my feet warm and dry (and most importantly stylish) all day!

Dress – Vintage

Coat – River Island

Boots – c/0  Clarks 

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Dirty Velvet is a design collective focused on producing high quality clothing with designs that offer a creatively different perspective to the mainstream.

Using 100% organic cotton, Dirty Velvet designs are realised using both ecologically and socially sustainable methods. They produce original graphics that combine strong and thought provoking imagery to reflect their slightly twisted view of
the world.

Below are a few of my favourite images of their products, and will be posting some outfit posts with the actual t-shirts which look just as good on girls as they do guys! They even have a really fun iphone app, called “Dirty Velvet Trophy Room” Where you can mount your face on a trophy, which i’v done to our model Alexa. Obviously amazing!

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