Monday, 23 May 2016

My Business Influence

Some may know that I was a Fashion Stylist for a LONG time (well long in terms of fashion) - working for high profile publications, international brands and celebrities. It was great, I travelled the world, made great friends, worked hard and was well respected and 'known'. 

However, after 8 years styling, it was time for a change. I had always fallen down the vintage look, often picking items that had that 40's or 50's flavour to them. It was something that I had worn for years myself, scouring vintage and charity shops. I felt it was time to leave styling, and jump head first into the vintage biz. SO, in 2013 thats what i did! 

Now, I have to explain, I am not a 'business brain', I am terrible with numbers - but I am great with ideas and the final outcome. However, I am very, very lucky: My father is a well respected and very successful business man - who kept me on the right path while I dreamed of prom dresses and bowling shirts. What makes my dad so successful is that he has the perfect pairing of creativity and business brain - he understands where I am coming from - and often encourages my madness - but then reigns me in when i have gone to 'crazy town'. 

It has always been hard, I often wake up and think ' I want a normal job' or 'I want a 9-5' - to do something that is easier than working for yourself. The problem is I have never seen that, my dad has always been self employed - he is his own boss. I also don't have the brain to sit and do one task - when I have had had jobs - I am off trying to restructure or push for new things - or new brand ideas - I cant just be! 

As a woman, and especially one that was so young when I decided to branch out by myself - I needed support and guidance - and better still, someone to call and share all the good and not so good things that were happening. This is something we all need in life, never mind business - but I am fortunate to have both. 

When it came to starting Campbell Crafts, my father thought I was mad - he didn't quite get the vintage inspired boutique idea - however he was on board and as the orders started to come in - he was there to help me steer the ship. He did all the work on Bonnie our Airstream Boutique, turning her from a rusty tin can to a shopable glamazon! 

In 2015, we won our first award ' Best Online Boutique' at the National Vintage Awards - something that I am hugely proud of! However, my father, Alistair Campbell trumped any success I will ever have and was awarded his OBE this year - for services to the Economy and Town Regeneration. Never had it been more deserved! 

I work very hard, and I am conscious of peoples opinions of ' you wouldn't of got where you are without your father'. You are absolutely right, I wouldn't of. However, to say it in a way that implies that I have not worked hard, dug deep, sacrificed or that the only reason I have achieved anything is because my father did it for me is false. Campbell Crafts is my business and I am very proud of it - and I am also very blessed to have an amazing business brain to pick when the times get hard or I need advice or some silly jargon explained to me!!!! 

2016 is sure to bring yet more surprises, and I am ready for what it has to offer!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Digital Vs Vintage

In the digital age we are now living – it is a direct juxtaposition to the vintage life we all lead – we may wear girdles and dream of driving cars from 1955 but we post about it all and shop for it online!

I of course own a vintage inspired boutique – which is predominantly online. We attend events, have concession stores and hopefully we will look at pop up boutiques. I shop online too. I am always looking for vintage pieces on Etsy, or scrolling Facebook pages for amazing one offs, never mind all the amazing repro brands out there! Yes we stock a number of them – but sometimes you want something you don’t have! It’s a thrill, now we don’t always wear vintage, I am prone to the joggers, glasses and vest top, while slobbing around in the house, and that’s what’s even more interesting, we can be purchasing these fabulous frocks from the 40s yet living in a very un-40s way!

I love it! its all about contrast, mixing old and new worlds. The same goes for vintage, now there are some vintage snobs out there, who really dislike the idea of repro. I get it – you want to be authentic. But is it authentic that you are posting the photos of you sporting your amazing wears on Instagram? No! Repro has a firm place in the vintage world, they are produced with new technology, making them machine washable (yipppeee) and to modern day sizing – meaning you can be over 5ft3 and a UK10 to wear them. 

Just as much as we adore shopping the digital way, it is nice to touch and feel, plus try on – of course I get that. But some days, you just want to sit at home, and do nothing . What better way of feeling like you have achieved, even something small – than when you score that fabulous Mexican jacket for an absolute steal price online. It opens up the world to us, we can shop in Australia, America, France, we can chat to other like-minded people across the globe and see how they are representing the vintage life.

I love that we mix and match our lifestyle, and have created anew vintage, not a crappy 80s does 50s but a new authentic way of being vintage mad! Long may it live, and screw what Orwell said – the digital age has its perks – like a 50% off sale on shoes you just need to have…. in America!!!!