2014 Winners Interview - Alexandra Vintage Best Online Vintage Shop (Fashion & Accessories)
At the heart of Alexandra Vintage is me, Alexandra and my network of passionate vintage Buyers. My Buyers aim to deliver a diverse range of vintage at the best value for our customers, making the hunt for handpicked vintage easy for them.
At Alexandra Vintage we are very passionate about vintage. My Buyers and I try very hard to add at least 10 new items to www.alexandravintage.com every week. Out sourcing all the time some weeks are more fruitful than others, but we always have a few treats up our sleeves that excite us and we hope our customers too.
I am a marketeer with experience in software and retail marketing. Growing up I always had a keen interest in retail. My mum, having previously worked as a Buyer for retail brands such as Jaeger and Marks & Spencer in the London, opened her own second-hand retail business during my early teens. My siblings and I worked there during school holidays learning the ropes; from pricing, garment care and time management to most importantly; Customer Service.
This fed my intrigued and excitement for fashion and it was the exposure of second-hand clothing and my love for fashion that brought me to buying my first ever vintage handbag at the age of 15. It's here that my love affair with vintage officially began...
When I'm not working I enjoy life with my wonderful husband Andy, my needy but adorable cat Dudley and my loving family & friends. It's very much a "work hard play hard" kind of life and I hope it will continue for many more years to come.
What do you have planned for your business/yourself in the next year?
Lots of exciting projects! We have 3 big key events booked in across the year, as well as presence at various well known vintage fairs in the South East. We are looking to expand the Alexandra Vintage range online (more details soon!), and will be moving studio premises. It's all go!
What are your favourite vintage events?
I like all of them to be honest and it's very hard to choose. I do like to be involved in a variety of events and really like the local arts, crafts and heritage fairs Alexandra Vintage also participates in. It's good to mix our events programme up a bit.
Why did you decide to enter the NVAs?
The NVAs is a celebration and recognition of all-things vintage, so naturally it is really important to support such a fantastic initiative. Having entered Alexandra Vintage in 2013 and just missing the top 3, I wanted to be involved again to see if Alexandra Vintage could go all the way and we did!
How did you feel when you won?
I was honestly speechless. I was over the moon, and felt so honoured to be receiving such an award. To have recognition on this level from customers and piers alike has meant everything to me. Thank you!
What was the most positive thing about entering the NVAs?
Lots of positives have come out of winning and it's been very rewarding for the business, but I have especially loved getting to know others in our field — it's a fantastic networking opportunity and I have loved knowing all the other individuals that represent our industry so passionately.
What would you say to other people who are thinking about entering in 2015?
- Go for it! It's a great opportunity. What have you got to lose?
What business tip/quote would you give to anyone starting out in the vintage industry?
You have to really want to do it. Passion and dedication is what will drive you because although it's the best job in the world and rewarding beyond words, it is also hard and challenging, and only you can move it forward and make it what you want. Also, have fun with it and make sure you establish a healthy work / life balance early on.
How has being a NVA Winner affected your business/yourself?
It goes without saying that it's been great promotion and status for the business. It's also helped boost confidence — in both our customers and us — that we're doing something right. It's an amazing feeling and my Buyers and I feel very honoured to be a part of it.
If you would like to view our collections then visit our website www.alexandravintage.com Alternatively, if you would like to view our collections in person then we offer free personal styling at the Alexandra Vintage Studio in Reading — as seen in Channel 4's THIS OLD THING with Dawn O'Porter — and have regular pitches at Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair and Judy's Affordable, and other events in the area.