Home Sweet Homestyle
Digger talks to Jan Brown about this flourishing web-based
vintage and nostalgia business with
a keen eye on 40s and 50s authenticity and on doing its bit
for the environment to boot!
Digger: Can you please
tell us about your background and the background to Home Sweet
Jan: Our interest started in
the 90s. We were into the 50s Rock n Roll and 40s Swing Dance
Scene; going to themed events and dance weekenders. We were
buying vintage clothing and homewares for ourselves,
including bigger items such as our 1957 Wurlitzer jukebox and
1956 Pontiac! We soon found that we were being asked to
collect for friends and then their friends – so it seemed
like a natural progression to start up in business.
Digger: And what
about your personal passions for Vintage and Retro?
Jan: We like it all! From the fun vibrancy of
50s homewares, to kitsch Cocktail Bars and all the wonderful
glassware and bar accessories; to the solid reliable
utilitarian functionality of the 40s - items that were
made to last. Vintage clothing is a big thing for us as we
like to dress up for our stall and to live the part at events!
We don’t really do retro, preferring the real thing if
Digger: Can you please
tell us more about the variety of products you are offering?
Jan: The website carries a range of products
from Furniture and Lighting through to Toys and Games, Linen,
Ceramics, Glassware and lots more besides! Kitchenalia,
for instance, could be anything from a teapot to cutlery, a
mincer, a cruet set, placemats and so on. Homewares were
extensive in their range because mealtimes, for example, were a
ceremony. Cooking was something you took time over and people
wanted the right tools for the job. It was not unusual for a
good kitchen implement to have been passed down in a family.
Digger: What does The
Internet mean to your business, where are your customers
coming from and who are your 'typical' customers?
Jan: The Internet is our shop window to
display our products to the world. Our customers come from as
far away as Japan, Norway, Hawaii, USA, Germany, France,
Portugal, Australia and Ireland.
We have no typical customers; someone may be looking to
replace something they have lost or broken; or they might see
something that triggers a childhood memory. Of course, there
are as well the specific collectors of ceramics etc. or indeed
just individuals who want to give an eclectic look to their
Digger: What sort of
comments and feedback do you get from customers?
Jan: Feedback has always been very positive,
mainly because the product and service meets and exceeds their
expectations! We get sent photos of Customers using their
purchase like a chap in Japan using his ‘warmware’ teapot.
And just recently we sold a 50's coronation bracelet to a lady
who had lost hers and was in tears of joy at having
found a replacement. Its great to know we are doing a
good job and we always encourage feedback.
Digger: What would you say
are the ethos and the 'USP' for Home Sweet Homestyle?
Jan: We believe strongly in recycling and by
supplying vintage and original homewares we believe we are
doing the world a favour. We must realise that it is not a
good thing to live in a throwaway society. It is important to
consider a purchase and then cherish and use it! I guess
our USPs would be the diversity, quality and originality of
our products; plus we also provide a ‘vintageseek’ service
where we will actively hunt down something if at all possible!
Digger: How hard is it to
source authentic and original items?
Jan: It is very difficult to find authentic
and original pieces in good condition. We travel up and down
the country, visiting auctions and following up on leads. We
sometimes go to boot sales and charity shops for a browse to
find the odd piece. However, with the recent vogue on TV of
programmes like Flog It- etc. everyone is a trader on eBay.
has pushed the prices up and it certainly makes it difficult
to source quality wares to supply at a reasonable price to the
customer whilst still making a business for us.
Digger: What are the most
enjoyable aspects of what you do?
Jan: The absolutely most enjoyable aspect is the
customer satisfaction - it gives us a warm glow!
To know someone has given a new life to a vintage product is a
real thrill. We like to see a range of products on our website
so that our shop has more choice for the customer. The
real essence is that we use and love these products too.
Digger: Why is Retro and
Vintage such a big thing for so many people these days?
Jan: We believe that when there is a
recession people always look back to the good old days! So there is always an element of
nostalgia in relation to vintage product. There is style,
uniqueness and the knowledge that you have something probably
very few people have. This gives the customers home and
lifestyle differentiation - they are not the same as everyone
else. This is not the high street stuff anyone can buy, where
every shop sells the same stuff in every town – what’s
unique in that?
People are realising that the good old days had a lot to offer
and maybe we threw the baby out with the bathwater! They yearn
for a return to an environment of happier days.
Digger: What plans do you
have for the future for Home Sweet Homestyle?
Jan: Our plans are to become more well
known. We are not great
I.T. people so we have a natural antipathy to sitting in front
of a computer all day, preferring to be off out hunting for
goodies! However no-one will know of our
‘delectables’ if we don’t tell them about us! On a
separate note, we would like to do more events, because it is
so nice to meet customers face to face and share their
enthusiasm for Vintage!
Collectables and Delectables from the 1940s and 1950s
|For all those people
who share our appreciation of the design and appeal of
mid-20th century Furniture, Homewares and Associated
Items. Home Sweet
Homestyle specializes in Vintage Homeware and
We just love the nostalgia of
finding bygone treasures to add to our collection and
style our home. We find vintage items that will bring
back fond memories and make us feel good, whilst
providing a unique and individual look to any decor.
Whether you are a collector,
enthusiast or seeking to decorate your home in an
eclectic mix of past and present eras, come and visit
our store and browse through the gorgeous
'delectables' on show.
We are the ultimate in recycling!
All Vintage items displayed in our shop are
illustrated with photographs and a full description.
We love vintage homewares.
Home Sweet Homestyle