More conversation with Maria Cox of Annie and the Mannequins, an online vintage fashion boutique based in Dunfermline, Fife. . . .
4. What skills are you developing to keep everything running smoothly?
Business acumen is vital as is creative and artistic flair. To make the most of the creative side you need really good planning, organisation and communication skills. High motivation is essential and a determination to make your venture a success. You have to expect highs and lows and have faith in yourself to meet the challenges. Its important to ask for advice and bring in specialist help if needed. A clear vision with goals and objectives helps reduce costly mistakes and gives focus. When you own and run your own business there is no-one telling you what to do other than you! This responsibility takes a bit of getting used to but hard work pays off if you know exactly what you want to achieve and plan the steps to get there. The Annies are living proof that this can be done!
5. Where does you interest in vintage fashion come from?
When we were little, our mum encouraged us to be 'different' and not 'like everyone else.' We are twins and she was keen for us to be our own person. This has resulted in us enjoying the search for interesting items that we know others won't have or putting outfits together in a unique way. Vintage fashion satisfies our need for uniqueness, quality and great style! Since we began buying vintage clothing we have found that if you select the right pieces to suit your style and mix it with current on trend wardrobe staples, you can achieve a strong, desirable look.
6. Where do your ideas come from?
One of our unique selling points is that our vintage finds are relevant to current trends. It is key to our success that we research current designers, trends hitting the catwalk and keep on top of seasonal changes. We love to interpret and incorporate current looks and trends into our weekly capsule collections and pride ourselves on providing only on trend vintage pieces. Our current online collection for A/W 2011/12 is based on the huge up and coming trend: Heritage. The main feel and inspiration is from the House of Holland, Pringle of Scotland and Celine. All of this research gives us our own original ideas for photo shoots, blog posts and outfit builds.
7. Do you visit Trade Fairs etc? How do you source?
At the moment we hand pick items from all over Scotland. We pride ourselves on quality collections and get great feedback on this from our loyal customers which is very important to our growth. Each week we bring to the global ebay world, a weekly capsule collection that looks fresh and new even though it vintage and pre-loved. Thinking about our merchandising and promotion means that we go sourcing at the beginning with the end colour palette and outfit build already planned in advance, just like any retail fashion buyer. What we give you though is the a very different experience to Saturday High Street shopping! Visit us here.
Maria, Many thanks for this inspiring insight into online fashion from Fife!