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Another Vintage Fair

13 Jun

If one vintage fair in one weekend wasn’t enough, I am now holding a stall at the Pavilions Vintage Fair on Sunday 26th June.

This fair will be a lot different to the one at Stan’s cafe as it is on a much larger scale, with a £15k marketing budget.

I can imagine they will attract a different type of clientele, due to the size and location, so it will also be an educational experience, understanding people’s responses to my collection, price point and how my garments compare to other stall holders!

This will be a great way of establishing a client base when I set up something more permanant.
What it will be though, you have have to wait and see!

Feeling Cultured…

8 Jun

This afternoon I found myself passing through Birmingham City Centre with some time to kill, so slipped into the Ikon contemporary art gallery.

The beautiful Ikon building

The first exhibit I saw was by Tadasu Takamine, who is said to be one of the most thought-provoking Japanese artists.

Ikon’s exhibition is Takamine’s first in Europe and includes a selection of videos touching on sex, politics and sexual politics.

One piece that caught my attention was God Bless America, made in 2002.It is an acknowledgement of the global intrusion of American culture in the post-9/11 world.

“For eighteen days Takamine and his female partner lived in an entirely red room, filming themselves as they worked, ate, slept and had sex. In the resulting time-lapse footage we see them kick and punch a sculpture into being: a giant head, resembling George W. Bush, which continually sings God Bless America.

Another exhibit at Ikon was a series of paintings by John Salt. Salt was one of the first artists to exhibit at the original Ikon at the Bullring in 1965. Cars feature heavily in salt’s work, rooted from his upbringing in Birmingham, which is a city of car manufacture.

Many pieces in this exhibit are inspired by abandoned cars.

“Instead of reproducing images that promised a future of happy motoring, his works embodied the jolting violence of wrecked vehicles.The now redundant cars are symptomatic of a marginalised lifestyle, a world of shacks and trailer homes, locations far from the affluent metropolis. The overall effect jars, especially in an American landscape, which is also prone to idealisation in the popular imagination.

After walking through the exhibition I wondered into the resource room which is full of books and other reference material. The room is furnished with tables chairs and a window seat so people can sit, read and be inspired.

There is also a black board for people to leave their comments. I saw this as an opportunity to do a spot of guerilla marketing…

Micro Mini mod

I could be the next Banksy!


Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

7 Jun

I’ve just got home from an evening at the theatre. My great friend Paul Brotherton was part of the cast of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham.

The play is  set in Sidley Park, an English country house, in both the times of 1809–1812 and the present day. The activities of two modern scholars and the house’s current residents are juxtaposed with the lives of the characters who lived there 200 years ago.

In 1809, Thomasina Coverly, the daughter of the house, is a precocious teenager with ideas about mathematics well ahead of her time. She studies with her tutor, Septimus Hodge, a friend of Lord Byron (who is an unseen guest in the house).

In the present, Hannah, a writer investigating a hermit who once lived on the grounds, and Bernard, a professor of literature investigating a mysterious chapter in the life of Byron work together and together reveal  the truth about what happened in Thomasina’s lifetime is gradually revealed.

The set featured a large table, which is used by the characters in both past and present. Props are not removed when the play switches time period, so that the books, turtle, coffee mugs, quill pens, plastic trays, and laptop computers appear alongside each other as the two scenes blur together.

Paul Brotherton Arcadia

Hi Paul!

When I read the synopsis, prior to attending the play I was uncertain as to whether I would be able to follow such a complex story line. Some of the talk of science and maths flew over my head, but this was somewhat irrelevant to the overall outcome and plot of the play and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Barboot: A Nice Little Earner!!

4 Jun

Today I carted some pre-loved clothing and accessories to the Hare & Hounds Pub in Kings Heath to pitch a stall at the weekly Barboot Bazaar!

Like a Carboot, without the early mornings and risk of bad weather, people come together with clothing, crafts, homeware, books and other misceleaneor every Saturday between 11 and 3.

Here is my stall of clothing and accessories that I no longer want or wear…

But what better way to pass them on?

Today’s society has a real mix of attitudes towards throwing things away!

Many people think it is better value to buy cheap and in bulk, throwing things in the bin when they break or the condition deteriroates, or the product goes out of fashion.

However, everything just ends up in land-fill polluting the earth! Plus, many people in poorer countries continue to be exploited and abused due to thehigh demand for more of what has just been thrown out!

On the other hand, many people have embraced reusing and recycling as a way of life. Not just with paper and other household materials but with their wardrobes.

Vintage is not a new concept but the attitudes of wearing something old and hand-me-down culture are becoming more widespread.

Today I was not only lucky enough to have many customers with these attitudes, but also to make some great new friends (and useful future contacts).

One lovely girl (who was also selling her old things)  in particular noticed my eclectic style and was at my table like a shot. After chatting all day we agreed to have a swap of anything we liked of each others at the end of a day.

So now I have:

a) Earnt some pennies

b) Got rid of some things I no longer wanted

c) Done a good deed (in recycling)

d) Got some new clothes (recycled)

e) Made some great friends

A thumbs up all round!

A Lick of Paint…

1 Jun

I’ve just got back from spending a couple of hours at uni with my friends Katy and Sarah. We were helping out painting the Fashion Retail Management room in preparation for work on the BIAD show to begin.

The show will exhibit our dissertation projects and there is the opportunity to show our industry contacts what we’ve been up to, as well as our friends and family.

So we want to room to look spic and span, just incase Stella McCartney pops in for a cup of tea!

Hard at work

Attention to detail

I'm too busy to even look at the camera!


29 May

Although I plan to get my business idea off the ground on a small scale by attending vintage fairs and visiting people at home with my collection I need to consider the future and what will be the most profitable business.

I am aiming to start working on a thorough business plan in the next few weeks, using the skills and experience I gained through writing my dissertation business plan.

With this I will be able to apply for funding. To do this I will need to convince a bank or investor that I have a viable business idea.

I have been looking into funding already and there are many different types that will obviously have different outcomes.

I have already researched The Prince’s Trust, Birmingham City Council, and business loans, as well as an article I read in the Birmingham Post about Deloitte backing a funding scheme for local independent businesses.

There is also plenty of mentoring and guidance which will be very helpful.

One article in the June issue of Marie Claire was all about applying for mentors who run successful businesses, such as the make-up brand Ruby and Millie,  feel I am making good progress with my business ideas, I just need to start making things happen!

Entrepreneurial Spirit…

25 May

I’ve just got home from a fantastic new event held at Urban Coffee Company on Church Street in Birmingham.

The Birmingham Entrepreneur Meetup group is held on a monthly basis and allows you to network with local entrepreneurs, and other people who want to start their own business, over a friendly cup of coffee.

As I am currently looking into starting my own business I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get some advice, talk to people who have been in my situation and pick up some useful contacts! It’s also a chance for me to hand out some of my brand new business cards!!

The group was small and a broad mix of people to say the least.

I spoke to a number of people there, which helped me realise that I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t currently running a business, which put me at ease!I quickly got chatting to Rickie, who incidentally is the organiser of the group. I realised I was definitely chatting with the right person as Rickie told me about an exciting new vintage fair she is organising in Birmingham!

‘Birmingham Vintage’ is a vintage fair with a difference, as the nostalgic mood will be elevated with a 1970s theme throughout with live music, refreshments and a great mixture of stalls including homeware, clothing, art, crafts and hair and makeup sessions.

The fair is being held on Saturday 25th June at Stan’s Cafe in the creative hub which is the Jewellery Quarter.

It was lovely to meet Rickie and talk about vintage in a more business sense. I am definitely going to hold a stall at the fair and start spreading the word about my business and myself (so come down and see me).

Better get some stock!!

All in all the meetup was a great night and a fab idea, I’ll be back for the next one! Plus, the artists at Urban Coffee made my cappuccino look like a bear!


22 May

Last night I went to the Flapper & Firkin in Birmingham to see my good friends, Heroica play their last gig!

Founded in 2005, Heroica are a four-piece who met while studying at Aston University through the ‘Live Music Society’.

The guys describe their music as “Alcohol-fuelled hard pub-rock” and are influenced by classic rock and blues such as Thin Lizzy, Cream and Free.

Over the past couple of years I have had the privilege of (sort of) working with Heroica, in a somewhat “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ way.

I was organising ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ with a group of classmates. A huge event at Birmingham’s Custard Factory which involved live bands, DJs and a fashion show, combining vintage and River Island clothing.

Heroica volunteered their musical services and played a fantastic set at the event (in exchange for free haircuts!).

A few months later I found myself writing a few features for Spaghetti junction, the Birmingham City University student magazine.

The editors wanted a profile of a local band, and, instantly thinking of Heroica, I volunteered myself for the piece!

Click image to enlarge

You can still hear a selection of their songs via Facebook and My Space.


18 May

I have recently taken up knitting. My good friend Sarah and I have already been to a couple of knitting groups, Stitches & Hos at Hare & Hounds pub in Kings Heath, as well as Urban Coffee Company.

Going to the knitting groups is also a great way to meet new people. There’s nothing to worry about as you already have a common interest and everyone is also there to socialise!

When I feel like doing some extra work on my knitting practise I also look to the internet as there are thousands of tutorials, such as this one, available on You Tube…

And what’s even better are the proven health benefits of knitting!

Did you know, that the repetitive actions used when knitting can bring the mind and body to a state called a “relaxation response” that is quite similar to what people experience during prayer, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and other relaxation disciplines.

Also, research at Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute found that when someone is knitting her heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her blood pressure drops as well. These results can have significant health benefits for people who knit.

It is also a great way to stimulate the mind and escape from the hustle and bustle of my usual everyday life, by focussing on knitting.

Finally, being a creative person, it encourages me to make something, as I feel the more I knit, I am getting closer to creating a garment.

Here are some great pictures of knitting that I can but aspire to at the moment…


10 May

Ok ok! I know I bought a pair of sandal-type shoes last week,  but COME ON! River Island just held a student shop-in evening for “one night only” with 20% off everything in store. what am I expected to do!? It would be a crime NOT to go!

I don’t even usually bother with promotions like this as I know there’s going to be a queue but I only actually waited around 20 minutes to go in, arriving promptly at 5.20pm (doors opened at 5.30pm) valid student card in-hand! I pretty much located the shoes, paid and left before my new shoes and I got trampled to death(worse-case scenario)!

Anyway, I only bought one thing, and that’s the shoes!

I think they look vintage in a 1970s, ethnic/boho way but I’m going to team them with all sorts of styles and looks.

Here I’ve put them with some oh-so-cute gold socks, to complement the stud detail! Ankle socks are right on-trend for this summer and give the whole look a quirky, preppy look!

Blogging Etiquette…

9 May

This morning’s lecture at uni’ was hosted by Chris Unitt who, among other things, set up Created in Birmingham, a promotional platform for Birmingham’s creative community.

This began life as a blog in 2006 with two aims:

  1. To find out what’s going on around Birmingham and promote it
  2. To show that blogging is a simple and effective way of engaging with audiences online

And this was also the aim of Chris’ informative lecture.

He explained the many reasons people use social media including, not just blogs, but Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Tumblr… the list is now endless as this has become a very effective and popular way of self-promotion.

Chris also brought to our attention the fact that prospective employers or customers will “Google” people’s names to find as much information about them as possible!

It definately taught me the many ways I can expand on my use of social media both in the near and distant future.

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