Naomi Chambers runs Arthelia’s Attic – named after her great-grandmother Johanna Arthelia Ashcroft – where she sells crochet and knit items from vintage Forties patterns such as hair snoods, handbags and other accessories. Here she shares her success story and top tips for aspiring vintage business owners.

Tell us about Arthelia’s Attic

Naomi (pictured below): I started my business in January 2009.Before the birth of my son, I had worked primarily in retail management.

What started your interest in vintage?

Naomi: Vintage has always been a huge part of my life. I was very close to my grandparents from the time I was very young. Since they were from the generation of the Thirties I was always immersed in the music, films and styles of the Thirties through the Fifties. It was familiar to me and something I always loved.

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

Naomi: Prior to opening my shop on Etsy I had been selling vintage reproduction doll clothing on eBay. When I discovered Etsy, I realized it was tailored more to my handcrafted items. I also noticed that many women in the vintage scene were looking for well-made hair snoods. I felt this was an item I could prefect and make a high quality version of. Thus, Arthelia’s Attic was born.

What did you do in preparation of launching your business?

Naomi: Since I had already been selling online, I did not do much preparation to transition into a business. I didn’t need a business plan either. I basically just tested the waters with my product and the more successful I became, the more I perfected the way my business was run, from improving my suppliers to working with models.

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

 Naomi: Since I am always learning, the only thing I may have wanted to know earlier on was to know more about the impact of social media and marketing. It has been very beneficial to me and all I could ask for was to maybe have started a little sooner, however I have no real complaints in the way my business has grown.

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

Naomi: Not really. There are times I get overwhelmed with orders and times when things get slow but I have never wanted to give it up. I enjoy what I do and I am thankful for my wonderful customers.

What does an average working day look like for you?

Naomi: After dropping of my son and husband at school and work, I head home to begin my work day. I start by reviewing any new orders that have come in overnight, answer any customer emails, and do some Facebook marketing. After that I begin work on any orders I have and shipping anything that has been completed.

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

Naomi: 1. Know your market. Know what people like and don’t like. 2. Know your product. If you are selling a product become an expert on it and perfect it. Make it the best it can be. 3. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. If you have a high quality product and promote it, it will be successful.

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

Naomi: Yes! I work with two of the very best pinup models, Miss Amanda Lee and Lolita Haze. They have been critical in the growth and popularity of my shop. I would not be as successful without them!

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

Naomi: Since I work from home, it is much easier to be with my family. Even if I am working when they are home, we are still together. My schedule is flexible and I can do things with them and for them whenever needed. I don’t have to worry about arranging my schedule into someone else’s business.

What are your future plans for your business?

Naomi: My plans are to keep it growing and to add more products. I started carrying hair flowers this year and a Rosie the Riveter style head wrap. I would like to expand my line of handbags and am working on a prototype for shoes from a Forties pattern.

Top image: model – Amanda Lee, photography – Doug Monce

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