Meet The 2013 Winners: Bexi Owen, Best Vintage Style Musical Performer
I'm a singer, with the 1950s being my specialist era for songs mainly because it's my favourite in terms of music and styling. I sing at lots of different events from burlesque nights to vintage festivals and I love them all. The variety between them makes my job so interesting and I know I'm very lucky to be doing it.
What do you have planned for your business in the next year?
I've got some very exciting events coming up that I'll be performing at, including ones in Switzerland and Marbella which will be amazing and something that seemed a distant dream when I first started.
In May, I'll be commencing upon my first tour, entitled 'Shake, Dazzle and Roll' we'll be travelling across the UK spreading 1950s glamour with live music and plenty of dancing! We had the launch party in December and it was so much fun so I can't wait to start the full tour. We'll be taking it to cities and towns including Manchester, London and Cheltenham as well as locations in Wales and Scotland so plenty of opportunities to get the '50s glamour going!
What are your favourite vintage events?
I love singing at social dances the most as it's so wonderful to watch everyone swirling and twirling around the dance floor whilst I'm singing, I'm always in awe of the dancers. In May, I'm delighted to be performing at an event by Aspirations Dance at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool which is one of the most beautiful in the world I hope to have a cheeky little dance too afterwards!
As well as public events, vintage styled weddings are lovely to do as you're a little part of something very special. The pressure is definitely on as I'm very aware that it's such an important day and each aspect has to be perfect as it might have been planned for several years so I always do my utmost to make sure my role in the day goes smoothly. I work with the couple on their set list as much as they want and then with the venue on equipment and set up so that there are no problems when it comes to that all important first dance!
And of course, now I'd have to add the NVAs as a calender highlight!
Why did you decide to enter the NVAs?
It looked like a really good opportunity. The categories were varied and the process sounded fair and unbiased as some awards tend to be, so I thought I would give it a go. I didn't want to get my hopes up though so I didn't imagine myself even attending the ceremony until I found out I was through to the final!
How did you feel when you won?
I know it's a cliched but I really was shocked when I won as the other nominees in my category are much more established acts and so I assumed either of them would be the winners, and each would be utterly deserving of it too. So when I heard my name I was shaking so much I couldn't even speak, as everyone in attendance witnessed! I didn't thank anyone properly at the time and felt so bad so I shall make a quick thank you to my partner Tim for being a constant, wonderful support; Laura from Happy Heritage who is organising my tour and has been a great support, and of course NVAs organiser Kate Molloy for a wonderful event and fantastic experience.
Has anything changed since you won; has it helped your business to grow?
Definitely. Even on the night of the awards itself I took new bookings, which was a lovely additional prize! Since then, I've had lots of lovely opportunities arise because of the awards including bookings in Europe which I'm sure wouldn't have happened without the Award.
What was the most positive thing about entering the NVAs?
The most positive aspect was probably the support from others before, during and afterwards both in the vintage community and beyond. It was a brilliant experience from start to finish.
Were there any downsides?
Not for me personally, but obviously as with any competition it's hard to see disappointed people who hoped to win, as all the nominees in each category were of such a high standard. Saying that, everyone seemed very supportive to each other despite not having the outcome they'd hoped for which was lovely to see.
What would you say to other people who are thinking about entering in 2014?
I would say definitely enter even if you're not confident you could win as the whole process was a fantastic experience and you never know, you could just win it!
What business tip/quote would you give to anyone starting out in the vintage industry?
Obviously, I'm speaking as a performer and not a traditional 'business' but I would say aiming for your dreams applies to anyone who wants to start something new. Work hard, be nice and you'll get back what you put into it!