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The Best Advice For Starting Your Own Small Business With Pin Up Curl And Call Me Lucille.

Starting your own business can be daunting, but it can also be greatly rewarding. Since COVID-19, more people are starting their own online businesses than ever before. Being able to work online and control you own schedule seems to be very common factors along side being able to earn a good income. I asked two small business owners in the vintage fashion community for their tips on how to get your very own small business up and running!


"I was taught by my mom to always be different. At the time, I just wanted to dress like all the other kids on the playground. But as  I got older, I realized dressing differently to others made me feel good and I started to relish in it. Every day becomes an occasion to dress up and it’s turned a mundane Monday into a catwalk show.I experimented with a lot of different eras, but I was drawn to a '50s/'40s way of dressing because it was the only era that fit my body shape and flattered it. My body shape is not made for modern clothes: high waisted trousers and dresses below the knee are what makes me feel my best. The rest is history. dressing the way I do is a way of life, not a fashion choice.

I always used to get asked where my slumber net was from whenever I posted photos of me setting my hair. So, I thought that would be a good place to start. I never realized how many people were in need of a good slumber net! I’d been buying my slumber nets from my salon supplies, but I thought about contacting the company that made the nets directly. I spent a lot of time googling and finally I found the company that made them. I nervously rang them to ask if I could place an order. I fully expected them to say no as I wasn’t a large company. To my astonishment, they said yes and even more amazingly I realized the factory was in my hometown!

It’s been such a learning curve – my brain has had to relearn skills it’s not been used to doing since school! The main obstacle is setting out with a plan of doing something, but running into about 20 other obstacles along the way and not being able to finish the initial plan. I have a love-hate relationship with my printer now and am a whizz with googling and googling and re-googling. Come up with a brand identity, a nichè. Something that makes you stand out from others. For me- I let my love of pink things take over my brand and luckily there’s a whole bunch of people out there that enjoy it too! Consumers like to see a brand evolving and enjoy becoming a part of a new business.

Post ‘behind the scenes’ photos of you building your business. Let them in on sneak peaks and make them feel part of your journey. I like to post ‘polls’ on my Instagram stories to really get an idea of what people want. The huge positive side of being a small business is connecting with your audience/customers. That’s what I enjoy the most about both my businesses, it’s such a buzz! My best sellers will always be my slumber nets. I’m very near to selling 1,000 since July 2020. They’ve been sent all over the world–which still blows my mind. Although coming in at a close second are my ‘ready, set, roll!’ kits- something my customers kept asking for – so I gave it to them!"


Image source.

“I worked as a knitwear designer for a large retailer, so I  was exposed to all the fashion trends on a daily basis. I’ve always naturally sought out clothes with a vintage feel. Particularly the '50s and ‘60s. However, I was in a style rut trying to figure out my natural style. Then, about 10 years ago, I went with my parents to a local 1940s weekend, I researched and cobbled together an outfit that vaguely passed as ‘40s! After spending the day seeing so much beautiful vintage and feminine looks, that was that. I was hooked! I went out for drinks that night and had so many compliments it all fell into place. I redid my wardrobe with a few modern pieces with a ‘40s flair while I saved for true vintage and good quality reproduction vintage, and I spent nearly every night practicing with my hair.

With hairstyling, it was a natural progression that I started to style other people. After some suggestions and encouragement from friends, I used the skills I'd learnt to style my own hair on other people. I was still working full time as a knitwear designer and unhappily so. It was redundant, which was a huge positive for me as it opened up the time to move my business forward. I was also in the process of auditioning for a skills based competition tv show about hair, so I knew with losing my job I'd be able to do it if I got on – which I did. 

It gave me loads of the exposure my business needed. I also started working as a freelance designer and hated it. When that came to an end after a year, I knew I didn't want to carry on in that career, and that vintage hairstyling alone wouldn't give me enough income. The flower accessories were again a natural progression. Going hand in hand with the whole vintage look, I knew I could use my design background to my advantage. With the good social media following, I'd built up I could spread the word. I began selling at vintage fairs when I had a pop up salon and on Facebook. Then, I decided to move onto Etsy as it attracts so much traffic. I'm now saving to have e-commerce added to my hairstyling website.

Most obstacles have been little. When you work for yourself, you have the freedom and capability to get over them. You can change the way you do things  rather than someone telling you how to work. It's a constant learning process. My biggest obstacle is time. I end up working all the hours to fulfill my own creative needs and customer demand, so I'm in the process of rectifying that. I wish I had a clone, or superpowers to be super fast! I'm very lucky that my fiancĂ© has more of a business head than me, so he's been coaching me on how to think more business-like as well as creatively. I've also trained a friend in making some of my more simple pieces, so I now outsource those to her. But, I also try to look at this obstacle as a positive. If there's so much demand I must be doing something right!

You'll never work as hard as you do when working for yourself, so it's important to accept that in the beginning while you're getting established. If you really want something you have to work for it.  Social media is your friend, even if it feels like a chore. Research how to use it. Invest in workshops by well known successful experts. And when you're at the right stage, and if it suits you, employ someone to do it for you. (I do my own work, as I'm a control freak!)

Use any set-backs as a positive. What seems negative can sometimes reveal a positive. Even if it teaches you not to do something again! Negatives can be a learning experience. Connect with other suppliers. It’s important to have a good network around you. You can help each other. For example, I've taken part in photoshoots where everyone involved doesn't get paid, but we all have access to the final photos to share. This is great for your portfolio. ALWAYS credit other businesses. 

Keep a detailed diary. When you get so busy it's easy to forget things. If you don't want to work on weekends or certain days, don't open any messages or emails on those days. It's important to set boundaries. Think about branding. How do you want to present yourself to your market? Most of all, enjoy it! When you start your own business, it's your baby. Nurture it. Always remember how lucky you are to be in the position you're in.For hairstyling, it's bridal hair. With the accessories my handmade ‘50s/ ’60s inspired velvet hair bows are always popular. Corsage and hair flower sets always fly out of the Etsy shop, as do my everyday pieces. Such as hydrangea hair clips and flower combs."