Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Shoe Love, Swedish Hasbeens

Today i have been swooning over Swedish Hasbeens.  Here are just a few of which i would love to own, enjoy!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Vintage China

Today we braved the frosty morning and went to the car boot.  With two pairs of woollen socks and a pair of tights on under my hunters, i still couldnt fell my toes. 

I am bad tempered when i am tired and cold.  Really wasnt in the mood for carbooting at all.  Especially when the place was full of smelly rude people, there was even a guy drinking a can of larger at 9am! -well thats one way to keep warm.. i guess. (just re-read this back and i am sounding terribly middle class.. but sod it!  It wasnt even 9am on a Sunday!)

I spotted this set in a box full of other stuff.  I asked how much it was, the guy said £20 and walked off.  Didnt give me a chance to say if i wanted it or not.  Pissed of, cold and grumpy i walked away.  Then met up with Mr BooBoo Kitty, he had bought the whole set for £8!! Two tureen's, oval serving plate, gravy jug, six bowls, six side plates, six desert plates, six dinner plates. 

I love the print, has an atomic feel to it.  It is Meakin wear and the pattern is Roulette.

We have lots of china collections, i have one cabinet, full of my 'Granny' bone china and another full of Midwinter and atomic.  But i never use any of it.  But i have decided, what is the point of having a nice set if it isnt used.... so who wants to come over for a vintage dinner and cocktail party!  Can only feed six of you!

Do you use vintage china?  Do you use it all the time or just for special occasions?

Casual Pink #outfit post

Head Scarf, Celia's Vintage, Nottingham - Derby rd
Necklace, vintage via Etsy
Top, Tara Starlet
Jeans, Freddies of Pinewood
Slippers, Spazda (Asda)

Just a quick little outfit post, so sorry i let you guys down in Dressember.  I swear to you i wore a dress every day in December (the jeans above are infact the only pair of trousers i own!)

I find it hard to dress down or to dress warm for the weather.  But i just threw on this outfit as i had some clients comming to visit for a dress consultation.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Advice on taking the Plunge

Since announcing to the blogosphere yesterday about handing in my notice and following my dream to becoming self employed.  I have had allot of positive feedback and support.  So thank you to all of you who commented or tweeted.  Means allot to me.   

Allot of people have said it was their dream too.  So I thought I would write a post on advice in doing so.  Allot of these ideas are things you can do while you are still in full time employement.  This is what i did, i have been working on my business for over two years now.  Allot of late night and allot of long hours at the weekends!

There is lots of literature out there that can help you in starting up a business and I by no means am an expert.  I just thought I would share with you what works for me! 
  • Get an idea, a passion.  Before you can even think about becoming self employed you need to decide what it is you want to do.  Chose something you can stick to for years to come, something you are passionate about.  Something you can see potential in, there is a market for.

  • Networking, make friends with people in the industry.  Take part in joint projects, support other small businesses in your area.  On my journey so far, this has been the most important thing you can do as a small business. 

  • Know your competitors, research the market.  Do not be negative about them.  Learn from them and think about how you can do it better.

  • Know your customer.  Who is it that will be buying your product or service. Again this is something that you can cover in your business plan.  But make sure you are always thinking about it.

  • Start collecting data.  Having email addresses and a log of potential customers is vital.  Companies pay thousands of pounds for customer mailing lists.  So start collecting yours now.  Start by getting people to join your mailing list, ask them to email you if they would like to be on there.  Use Mail Chip to set up an mailing list and send out news letters.  Run competitions to get peoples details.  Research the data protection act before doing this.  Give people an option to opt out of not being on your mailing list.  You can get into trouble for using peoples details without their say so.

  • Social media.  Sites like facebook and twitter are easy and free to set up.  Why set them up as soon as you can, let your hardcore fans follow your business from the very beginning and share your success are your business develops.

  • Blog.  Write a blog.  Use twitter and facebook to link your blog.  Blog about a relevant subject to your business.  If you are passionate about your business.  Choosing a topic will be easy.  Try not to make your blog solely sales orientated, you will lose interest and your blog will come across as cold.

  • Decide how much of your personal life you want to make available to your readers or customers.  If you are a small local business its good to put your personality out there.  But always keep it positive, no negative tweets or blog posts.

  • Business name. Chose wisely, make sure a domain is available.  Do your research on what makes a good business name.

  • Web domain.  Buy it quick, you can buy the domain long before you are even thinking about the design of your website.  I bought both the com and .co.uk for mine.  I got it from 123reg.  But shop around for the best price.
  • Write a business plan, without one you might as well be wondering around in the dark.  Know your profit margins, set finical targets

  • Buy your equipment now, while you are in full time work and have the spare cash.  Save the receipts you can then balance them against your books for a tax rebate.  If you haven’t registered yourself as self employed, buy all your equipment after you have register.  So you can get a tax rebate.  Still don’t quite get the whole tax thing.  But its all a learning curve isn’t it!

  • Save.  Then save some more.  If you think you have enough, save more.  Cash flow is one of the biggest reasons why many small businesses fail in their first year.  So get saving those pennies now!

And good luck!  If anyone has any feedback or advice I would love to hear from you! Or if you have taken the plunge yourself!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Taking the Plunge!

Today I took the big and scary plunge! I handed in my notice at my day job!

I have been dipping my toe into the pool of self employment for a year now.  I have got to the point where I have so many ideas on how to push my business further but simply don’t have the time!

Since graduating I have always wanted to run my own business.  But I didn’t know what in.  I have a degree in Textile Design.  I have always been creative.  My mother was a seamstress too.  My love for vintage really developed with I worked in the vintage store in London called The Girl Can’t help it! 

I have been obsessed with my idea for a bespoke made to measure vintage inspired company for about two years now.  Funnily enough it started when I need to make a quick buck to buy my pug Maybellene!  I was living in London at the time.  It’s a really expensive place to live and all my share cash was being spent on getting my sleeve finished by Valerie Vargas.  A friend of Mr BooBoo Kitty’s had always had pugs.  I used to joke, if you ever have a litter, I would be first on the list!  Well I was told Dotty was pregnant in January, Maybellene was born in February.  She was ready to take home in April!  So that gave me just over three months to raise £1000.  Pretty pricey for a dog, yes I know.  But pedigree bitches normally sell for over £1,500!!

At that point I had been making my own dresses for quite some time.  So I tended to wear my own creations.  But my wardrobe was still full of shop bought items.  Items I bought simply because they had a rockabilly look, nice fabric but not necessarily a great fit or cut.  So I sold them on ebay.  Sold most of the items in my wardrobe, including shoes and even things I liked and fitted.

I decided to take photos of dresses I had made and put them on ebay.  If you did buy one of my early dresses I would love to hear from you.  I made a few sales.  So I made a very crude looking facebook page, very poor quality photos of me modelling in my front room.  I got a very good response on facebook and got a few orders. 

I raised the funds to buy Maybellene and enough to cover her vets bills, kit her out with toys and accessories.  And not once did I regret selling the contents of my wardrobe.

I continued to push my business as much as I could.  I was still living in London and worked long hours in the city.  So didn’t really have the time it needed to make it grow. 

In May 2010 I moved back to Nottingham, where I did my degree.  I got an admin job as I had built up credit card debts form living in London and financially wasn’t in a position to start my own business. 

I have gained so much experience in my current job.  It’s for a marketing company.  So what I have learnt in terms of marketing for a small business has been invaluable!  My role also involves me working with a number of small business owners.  I now feel confident in my ability to run my won business and make a success of it. 

I am going to miss the office banter and the friends I have made here.  Some how I don’t think Maybellene has as many funny stories as my current work colleagues do!

It has indeed been a scary discussion to make.  I am extremely exited for the future.  I would like to thank all my beautiful customers.  And everyone in the industry I have worked with, chatted to, tweeted, emailed.  None of this would have been possible without you.  Thank you!


Here’s to 2012….. Excited? I am! 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Country Air

Dress, handmade by me
Coat, fake Barbour- Tesco
Scarf and hat, ebay
Wellies, Hunter
Bag, vintage - used to belong to my Granny
Maybellene's AC/DC hoodie, Urban Pup

On another note, i came accross this really inspirationa blog, Scathingly Brilliant.  I just love her hair.  Very Shirley MacLaine from What a Way to Go.  Really want candy floss pink hair now!