Why vintage fashion online is Lovely

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Lovely's Vintage Emporium websiteSetting up a business and making it a success has never been easier, thanks to the internet. Or so we're led to believe. So what does it take to set up a business online and how successful can it be? I spoke to the woman behind vintage fashion website Lovely's Vintage Emporium.

Lynnette Peck is a fashion journalist with 20 years' experience on titles such as Cosmopolitan, Eve, Now, Vogue Australia and New Woman. She's got a passion for vintage clothing and earlier this year decided to launch the site after noticing that existing sites didn't cater for vintage.

"When I tried to find a vintage fashion website to purchase from that was modern looking, navigable and had the trend-led vintage that I like I simply couldn't find one," she says. The idea for the site was born and, like all good business people, Peck quickly moulded a USP.

Grazia generation

"I source vintage that is immaculate and not frumpy looking," she says. "I call it sourcing vintage for the 'Grazia-generation' – people who want vintage fashion like the high street and designer fashion they see in the weekly magazine Grazia – they want fashion-led pieces."

As the website puts it "It is the first on-trend, fashion-current, online vintage boutique to offer beautiful and unusual one-offs in first-class condition that are still relevant to the way we live now."

Peck started by buying up vintage clothing and building a picture of her target customer before getting to grips with constructing the website. And she drew on her existing skills. "I am an expert in launching style magazines and setting up and styling fashion and beauty photo shoots and those skills were essential to launching an online vintage fashion website," she says.

Big Brother

And she drew on her husband's financial expertise to register a name as a limited company and choose a bank. He's also a part of what the site describes as the "boutique team" and if you think he looks familiar when you browse the site, yes, he is that guy from series one of Big Brother.

Peck's tips for setting up online are;
  • Source a web designer you trust and you feel you can work with, look at their previous projects to ensure their style works for your new brand
  • Secure the domain name you want
  • Set up the name as a limited company and get it registered
  • Decide how your customers are going to pay, ie through PayPal or a bank
  • Research data protection and customer rights and ensure your checkout is set up to let your customers decide if they want to be part of marketing activity.
For her particular business, Peck says she also had to buy "hundreds of coat hangers, shop-length rails, boxes, wrapping paper, ribbon and printed stationery".

The whole thing cost less than £5,000, excluding the cost of stock and photo shoots. Now, says Peck, "We are on target with our sales and our projections are to make a small profit of between £5-10k in the first 12 months of trading."

Real women

She thinks what attracts customers is a combination of the clothing, ease of navigating the site, and the fact that instead of shooting her stock on mannequins as many sites do, "I use real women and that makes a difference to the buying experience as women can see what the items will look like on them."

There may not be quite the easy riches on offer online that we are often led to believe, but the initial success of Peck's site shows that by taking something you know well and have a passion for online it is perhaps more possible than ever to make a little extra.

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