Last week I had great fun chatting to a group of lovely ladies each with their own vintage business, one of the lovely ladies asked why I hadn’t mentioned my own business, Madam’s Vintage…I had considered it but as a lot of you will understand, it’s always so much easier talking about someone else’s successes than your own!
A solution was found in the form of lovely blogger Stella, who captains The Vintage Vessel. Stella bought some specs from me just last week so I thought that she’d be the perfect to take over this blog for a night and grill me on all of the things that you guys might want to find out!
Over to Stella…
Stella: Do you wear glasses yourself?
Miss B: I do indeed! I only ever used to wear them for driving as I could never find a pair that I really liked, then I discovered Madam’s Vintage (almost 2 years before I bought the business) and found that vintage glasses could be in good condition and not too pricey!
Stella: What is it about Vintage frames that appeals to you above modern day frames?
Miss B: Even before I became a vintage stalwart I had always loved things that were ‘different’. I was the kid at school that couldn’t bare to have the same backpack as anyone else! – not much has changed. I love it that vintage has had a life before and that you can still buy quality designers of days gone by.
Stella: Who are some of your favourite spectacle wearers? (fellow bloggers, faces past & present)
Miss B: There are some incredible pictures of Marilyn Monroe wearing specs, ooh and Marlene Dietrich too! In terms of modern faces, I would love to see someone like Bennedict Cumberbatch in a pair of original 30s tortoiseshell frames. So many men are wearing these fashionable glasses but none of them seem to be going vintage!
Stella: Do you look for anything in particular when you purchase your stock? Do you like to imagine the type of face they would suit?
Miss B: I have certain names, brands, styles that I always look out for, but the thing that seals a deal for me is the wow factor. If I can’t take my eyes off a pair and want them for myself, then they’re good enough for Madam’s!
Stella: Where would you like to see MV be in a years time?
Miss B: I think that the simple answer would be bigger and better! I love finding people nice specs, and I hope that I can have bigger collection with much more variety. What the people want, the people shall get! I’ve already expanding to include men’s frames and am working hard to build that collection to be as strong as my ladies specs!
Stella: Has starting your own business provided you with any life lessons you would pass onto someone also considering starting up?
Miss B: If you think that you want to do something then go for it, there’s no point regretting not taking that leap of faith! The opportunity to buy Madam’s came up at when I was half way through the exam period of my second year of my law degree, it wasn’t ideal, but I believed that I could do it. I walked out of my last exam and into the bank manager’s office, I was 20 and knew nothing about running a business but I certainly do now!
Stella: Is it hard for you not to want to keep all the frames for yourself? How many pairs do you own?
Miss B: Hahahaha yes just a little bit! There’s a pair of ArtCraft frames called Peggy that I struggle not to keep for myself, every time I see them I try them on and dream of owning them! I own 3 pairs of glasses myself (potentially soon to be 4 as I’m currently chasing a rather extravagant pair).
Stella: Since launching, what has been your biggest success or an experience that gives you encouragement to keep building MV?
Miss B: A while ago a lady e-mailed me asking if I could find some 1920s sunglasses for her wedding, she’d been directed my way by the lovely Gemma of Retro Chick. I had the most amount of fun getting to know the lovely bride-to-be as I found her frames and the e-mail I received from her when she got her hands on the glasses made me feel on top of the world! It was also incredibly flattering that a lady whose blog I have read for a number of years had directed someone to my little shop!
Stella: When the frames you buy are not in perfect condition can you tell me the steps you go through to restore them and at what point do you draw the line with repairs?
Miss B: Oh gosh it can be anything from them just needing a clean, to removing glasses lenses (which can be dangerous to say the least), to completely stripping a pair of frames which can take hours of work and means working with fiddly small parts.
Stella: I recently bought a pair of your frames and I couldn’t have been happier with them although I didn’t get lenses put into mine Madam’s does offer a lense service – can you tell us a little about that? Who you use & why?
Miss B: I use a reglazers called Cilary Blue. They’re an internet based company so can provide their services for a lot cheaper than on the high street. They’re absolutely brilliant, I use them for my own lenses as well as for my customers and couldn’t recommend them enough.
Stella: You name all you frames – how do you go about deciding what to call them?
Miss B: Well when I first took over the business I sat down and named them all depending on what sort of a character I thought that they had! It gets a little bit harder the larger my stock gets, I’m constantly thinking, “have I used that name before??”
Stella: What is your price range?
Miss B: We have sunglasses that are as cheap as £20 and our highest priced specs are around a £100. I want my frames to be affordable as it’s a common misconception that you have to pay through the teeth for a decent pair of vintage frames. I would say that our average price is around £7o but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get an ace pair for a little bit less.
A huge thank you to Stella for her take over! I’ll be back soon with more vintage adventures.
That’s all for now folks!
Miss B xoxo