Digger: Can you please
tell us a little bit about your background and the background
to O'tis Vintage?
Lydia: My husband and
I both have a passion for vintage, especially items from the
1960s. We're part of the soul music scene and wear a lot of
sixties original and influenced clothing, and we collect what
you would call 'homewares'. Most of our furnishings at home
are vintage sixties.
When you really get
into collecting, it becomes more than just a hobby, and we
found that we couldn't walk away from beautiful vintage items
if they were reasonably priced. But we didn't have the space
to keep it all for ourselves, so I started passing things on
to friends. This moved on to searching out specific items for
them and it escalated from there.
A friend of mine built
my website for me and I am just getting up and running in
terms of getting the business going.
Digger: What are your
particular retro/vintage passions?
Lydia: I particularly
love sixties shift dresses and more generally the fashion from
that era - there is something so classic and timeless about
it. I have a large collection of dresses, some of which look
as if they could have been made yesterday. I love the idea
that young women, with little spare income, would spend time
making their own, unique outfits. This means that now, when I
get to wear a little piece of the history, I know that it's
unlikely anyone I meet will have the same outfit on as me.
Digger: Thatís an
impressive selection of items you have on your new website.
Please tell us more about whatís available.
Lydia: Wow - well I do
have quite a range of items - lots still yet to be listed (it
all takes so much time!) I have a selection of items for the
home: glassware, including drinking glasses, vases, bowls and
so on; kitchenware including Tupperware, coffee pots, cups and
saucers, cutlery and so on. There are a number of collectable
dolls, including those bought as souvenirs of holidays.
As the website is
named after one of our three cats - Otis - I felt it was
important that I have a range of ceramic (and other) cat-related items too!
I have a really big
selection of dead stock/new old stock children's and baby's
clothing from the 1960s and 1970s - they are so cute and I
will be holding some back for my baby, which is due in the
I've also got lots of
men's and women's clothing and accessories - I've just started
listing these but have so much more stock as I used to have
stalls at vintage fairs and markets.
There is a large box
of vintage knitting patterns waiting to go on the website too.
My biggest challenge
at the moment is deciding what goes on the website next and
finding time to fit it all in.
I also have some
furniture which I will be renovating and listing in the next
few months: including tables, kitchen larders (from the 1930s
and 1940s) - also some footstalls and pouffes.
Digger: What can
people expect on the website as you develop and roll out more
Lydia: I think I have
covered this in my earlier comments - but I'd just say keep
coming back to the site as I have hundreds, if not thousands, of
items in storage waiting to go on. And there are some pretty
special things that will be appearing when I get time. If
potential customers are after anything specific, drop me an
email as I there is a chance I may have what you are looking
Digger: What is this
enduring fascination people have generally with Retro and
Vintage in all its forms?
Lydia: It's like the
saying: "they don't make them like they used to" - well that's
part of it. A lot of vintage items were made to last; their
design is classic and timeless and just carries over the eras.
And people like to reminisce - they take comfort in things
that remind them of parents, grandparents and their childhood.
Digger: Who are your
customers and where are they coming from?
Lydia: I have a lot of
customers through the soul music scene. My husband and I have
a lot of friends from across Europe and further afield - all
with a passion for vintage - which is great!
Digger: And what sort
of feedback and comments have you been getting from clients?
Lydia: I've had some
really wonderful feedback relating to the website - which I
can't take credit for myself (Web Design by Roweena)
People like the fresh
design and the ease of finding the way around the site. I've also had feedback
that the prices are realistic and offer great value.
Digger: What would you
say is your USP?
Lydia: I aim to offer
a friendly and personalised service. I also have a lot of
dead stock/new old stock which I feel is quite a different
angle from what a lot of other sellers are offering.
Digger: What are the
biggest challenges and what do you most enjoy about running
Lydia: My biggest
challenge is finding the time and energy for it all. And not
buying any more stock as I have so much to get through
What I enjoy the most
is handling the beautiful items - finding them when they may
need a bit of TLC and making them good, bringing them back to
life - and then passing them on to someone who is really going
to appreciate them.
Digger: What are your
plans for the future for O'tis Vintage?
Lydia: Just to keep on
finding good quality vintage items and passing them on to
people. I say that my mission is to "To bring vintage joy into