As I stood yesterday in an outdoor market whilst it rained I thought to myself and said 'why do you do this?' and then I realised...because I love it.
When I first started Cupcake Couture it was all online, I spent my evenings making my website and trying to take pictures of my clothes in my little one up one down cottage without getting a microwave or a toilet in the background. I didn't even consider selling my clothes in person as the only thing I thought was 'you need a shop for that' - which was not going to happen. Then I realised, when I was at uni I went to vintage fairs. Infact most of those vintage fairs were where I discovered my love for sequins, shoulder pads and glitter cardigans. I could do that, I could cram my little Mini One with as much stuff as possible, not see out of my back window and trundle down the road to my first ever vintage fair.
It was at St Gemma's Hospice, a local venue to me, and I'd signed up for the weekend. When I turned up I realised that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I brought a rail that my mum had spare - it kept falling over, a suitcase for putting things in and literally bags of clothes and accessories. I didn't bring a table cloth, I didn't bring a mirror, I basically didn't bring anything. Vintage fairs aren't just about what you are selling it's like when you walk into a shop, it needs to be visually pleasing. However I couldn't do anything so I set myself up as best I could and got started for the day...
A lady actually said to me 'are you going for the basic look or have you just sold a lot?' to save face I went with the latter but it was then that I realised that I seriously needed to up my game. That night I went home and dug out something I could use as a table cloth, some baskets that I kept my shoes in, a mirror and anything else I could bring to help. My first few vintage fairs would be me clearing out the house as I used things I actually stored things in at home just to have a bit of a display about me.
Over the years I built up my stall and started using crates (that my mum gave me after her wedding), picnic baskets (that I picked up in Oxfam) and lots of other tips that I picked up along the way. The one thing I have found with the Vintage Fair world is that rather than competition other stallholders are actually really helpful and friendly. One lady once leant me a spare table because she thought my scarves would look nice on it, another told me to bring my rail forward so it would be displayed better. There's no bitchiness or 'my stalls better than yours' which I thought would happen when I first started out.
Fast forward four years and my set up has now become a routine, right down to how I pack the car and my clothes hangers being stickered to match which bag they need to go in. I know those shoes go in that crate and those bags go on that coat stand, it mixes and changes dependent on the venue but I'm always pretty proud of how they look in the end.
So as I moaned to myself about being cold yesterday I can only wonder, where else can you meet people who work at London Fashion Week? Or have the cutest old man in the world tell you he was looking for a blonde to look after him, to which I told him if it didn't work out with Phil I would give him a call. I meet amazing people, both customers and fellow stallholders, at every single event I do and I'm so lucky to be a part of it.