Sunday, 16 October 2011

Once upon a time…

two sisters from the Scottish Highlands stumbled into a charity shop where they were first introduced to ‘vintage clothing’. From the first sight, touch and fitting Hannah and Charlotte Booth fell very much so in love. However, the allure of exclusive, time-honoured fabric was too strong and within several months the sisters were drowning in a sea of clothes. There was only one way to break the spell of vintage’s overpowering love, and that was to share it with others. Thus, Hannah and Charlotte opened their vintage boutique to all those seeking a fashion fairytale.

Since launching fashion brand ‘Once Upon A Time Vintage’ in summer, the Booth sisters- now living in Glasgow- have been met with great success. This is marked by their press coverage and the popularity of their ASOS boutique, which has allowed the sisters to send items as far away as Copacabana! Not to mention the staggering number of 700 facebook friends they have gathered within a mere month!

I was lucky enough to catch up with Charlotte Booth and ask her a few questions about the story of ‘Once Upon a Time Vintage’.

What made you decide to begin selling vintage clothing?
We set up a vintage boutique because our love for collecting vintage was getting a bit out of hand. We couldn’t let some of the beautiful pieces we’d found go to miss. We have a shared passion and energy for fashion, so we decided to put that energy into something fun. 

Where did the name ‘Once Upon A Time’ come from?
We came up with the name ‘Once Upon A Time’ because we love that clothes can tell a story about the people that have owned them or the decade in which they were fashionable and how the story of certain items can change and develop over time. 

How did you go about setting up your boutique?
Hannah originally started selling vintage goods she had collected with customised bits and pieces on ASOS. When our collection expanded we began to sell more professionally on ASOS, updating our page several times a week and then applying for a boutique. We were so pleased when we found out that our application was accepted. Going live as a boutique was an exciting day for business!

How would you describe Once Upon A Time’s vintage collections?

A  mix of girly and grungy. We like to cover all angles of vintage to make it more wearable than a lot of the vintage items you see nowadays. As strange as it sounds, a lot of vintage pieces are a bit dated with huge shoulder pads and floor length, layered dresses, which are not practical! Our collections fit into current trends and appeal to both high street as well as vintage shoppers. Our tea dresses, studded leather jackets and printed blouses are pieces that you can walk out the house in but that also turn heads. 

What sort of effect has living in a city, rather than the Highlands, had on your business?

It would have been very difficult to be successful if we were based in the Highlands. There is definitely a large variety of interesting vintage clothes in Glasgow and more opportunities to showcase our company. Living in a city has given our business the chance to grow.

Apart from your ASOS boutique, how else do you sell your clothing?

We sell a lot of it at local fairs in Glasgow. We have sold at ‘Granny would be proud’, ‘Judys Affordable Vintage Fair‘, ‘Afternoon Twee’ and ‘Gin in Teacups’. We are participating in a fashion pop up event called Bould Souls, which features new designers, on November 5th  which we are both very excited about.

What are your biggest achievements since launching your business?

Getting updated to an ASOS boutique and having our items featured on the ASOS  Marketplace homepage has been great for us. We owe much of our success to ASOS. Also having our story published in various magazines, like Creative Boom and Addictive Creatives and being lucky enough to have a photo shoot with international, fashion photographer Laura McKinnon. 

What are your hopes for the future of Once Upon A Time Vintage?

I am studying at university and Hannah is working full time but after I graduate we hope to increase our awareness and fan base, whilst also investing more money and time into our collections so we can substantially increase our stock for sale. We are still relatively new to the business world so we just want to keep improving.

With a wave of their wands the Booth sisters have transformed what was once a hobby into a successful career. Though the chapter of the Booth sisters fairytale ends here, the story of Once Upon a Time Vintage has only just begun.

Look out for the launch of ‘Once Upon A Time’ Vintage's A/W 2011 collection inspired by the 90's grunge style.

Photography by Laura McKinnon

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