Lovely's Vintage Emporium

Meet our latest Vintage Entrepreneur, Lynnette Peck, the founder of online vintage fashion boutique Lovely’s Vintage Emporium. Here, Lynette talks about her business strategy and shares tips on how to set up a successful online vintage shop.

Lovely’s Vintage Emporium, which launched in March 2011, sells clothes and accessories from the Twenties and the Eighties as well as the occasional antique pieces. Its unique selling point is that it sells trend-led vintage fashion – Lynette is a magazine fashion and beauty journalist so she attends important events such as London Fashion Week, follows up-and-coming trends and then sources pieces accordingly.

What started your interest in vintage?

LynetteLynnette (pictured right): My grandmother had kept all her pieces and so when I was a child in the Seventies I used to wander around the house in her Forties furs and floral dresses. Then as a teenager in the Eighties, I scoured markets and charity shops (none of my friends did this at the time) for pieces that I loved and that I knew no one else would wear. I always liked to look different.

By the early Nineties I was working in London on a magazine as an editorial assistant, and at weekends I worked at iconic vintage clothing store Steinberg & Tolkien and it was here that I really learned about fashion history, fabrics, provenance and more. I also met many designers such as John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier who used to buy vintage from us. I still remember the many conversations I had in the shop and every day I apply what I learned to running the business.

What was the main motivation behind turning your passion for vintage into a business?

Lynnette: I wanted to spend all day every day immersed in vintage fashion and what better way to do it than launch an online vintage clothing boutique! I also set up my boutique as my husband insisted I sell some of my vast vintage collection. Ummmm, I still have my collection…instead I just went shopping for the website and sourced many more pieces so his plan did not work!

Do you have any employees?

Lynnette: We have a freelance assistant who works with us sometimes at the busiest times, such as the start of each new season or when we do an end of season sale or a flash sale. Plus we have a styling assistant who helps us on photo shoots.

What did you do in preparation of launching your business?

Lynnette: How long have you got? The amount of preparation is enormous. I interviewed web designers, I researched the marketplace, I sourced vintage pieces, I commissioned a graphic designer for the logo, I researched printing companies for the business cards, labels etc. I sourced tissue paper, ribbons and boxes for packaging. Set up social media accounts.

We spent a long time finding the right models, photographers and studio for our first few shoots. Opened a business bank account, found an accountant, registered at Companies House. The list goes on and on and I had the biggest ‘To Do’ list I have ever had in my life. Plus the biggest part was working out exactly how I wanted Lovely’s Vintage Emporium to look and feel.

Do not borrow for a new business unless you really have to is my best advice and I am glad I didn’t. It is best to use savings and current income from any work.

Did you have a business plan?

Lynnette: Yes for the purpose of the bank mainly but in the end I self-funded it so it was only useful for me to see if I was on track for where I wanted to be. Do not borrow for a new business unless you really have to is my best advice and I am glad I didn’t. It is best to use savings and current income from any work.

What was the one thing you wish you would have known before launching your business?

Lynnette: That I needed longer to prepare and launch than I thought I did. I started telling Twitter (I am @lovelyislovely1 and the business is @lovelysvintage) the date we would launch and then because there was so much excitement we did have to launch on that date. It was hectic, I was still writing the postage and packing pages about ten minutes before launch! But we sold 22 items in the first 40 minutes so it was an incredible buzz.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt so fed up you wanted to give it all up?

Lynnette: No never. I really never had. Running the boutique is such a dream and such an amazing job that I would be totally horrified at the thought of giving it up.

What does an average working day look like for you?

Lynnette: Well there isn’t an average day but in an average week I will be found photographing items, writing captions, replying to clients, running all our social media accounts (Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+), sourcing more items, posting out orders, updating the website, doing the accounts and more. In terms of non-vintage business I also write features about fashion and beauty for magazines, go to magazine and beauty industry events, walk my Dogs Trust rescue dog Miss Polar twice day and try and fit in a social life!

What would be your three top tips for anyone wanting to launch a business in your industry?

Lynnette: Only do it if you do not mind spending hours and hours every day working on it, get your finances in order beforehand, have fun and look upon it as a lifestyle and not just a job.

Are there any suppliers or people you’ve worked with you would want to recommend?

Lynnette: Not really as vintage is so specialist and varied that our stock comes from many sources. But I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the blogging community, as they have been our biggest supporters and fans. I had no idea how friendly they were and how much they want to see an online business succeed and how much they would support it. Here is our media coverage where you can see all the many, many blogs who have kindly written about us. I do not think the business would still be going if it wasn’t for them.

If you have a family – is harder or easier juggling both now that you run your own business?

Lynnette: I have a husband and dog and both are supportive!

What are your future plans for your business?

Lynnette: We have a very exciting celebrity collaboration coming up (we cannot say who it is at the moment) but she was an icon in the Eighties and we will very soon be selling her vintage wardrobe through us, plus we are also going to source more menswear and homewares.

We are also partnering with a very famous hairdresser and will soon be hosting Lovely’s Vintage Emporium Vintage Blow Dry parties in his salon where people can come and have hair and beauty treatments and buy some of our fabulous vintage pieces.

 

 

3 Responses

  1. Janet Webster

    Really enjoyed reading the article. I have a very small online vintage boutique which I struggle to update and therefore keep up the SEO ratings. The article showed me that Im doing the same as what Lynette does (more or less inc walking the dog)- although having the contacts in the media obviously helped Lynnette too. I should really try to use the social media more inc bloggers and I will have a think about what I could do to harness their media power!

    Reply
  2. Lovely

    Good luck Janet! Funnily enough it was people I didn’t know (ie the blogging community) that helped the most. Magazines have been very slow to feature is and only a couple have after two years which is disappointing. Lynnette x PS: Email me if you want any advice lovely@lovelysvintageemporium dot com

    Reply

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