My name is Clare Ross, I was born in the late 60s – surely that’s all you need to know!!! I was brought up in Cumbernauld and still live close by in a village called Dullatur with my husband and two daughters, who are 15 and 10. I have recently opened a kids vintage store in the West End of Glasgow called ‘loveitagain’ kids vintage.
The inspiration for loveitagain kids vintage came from a holiday we had in Santa Cruz in California, There was a lovely shop selling recycled clothes for boys and girls – I just loved it. I liked the idea that the kids clothes were being re-used, that you could pick up a great label at a fraction of the original cost and that it was worn and vintage looking. The idea behind ‘loveitagain’ is that everyone wins – parents can pick up good quality clothes at great prices, they can get some cash back for their pre-loved kid’s clothes and we are recycling and thinking about what and where we buy our children’s clothes and hopefully at the end of it all I will have a successful small business.
I studied at Stirling University and it wasn’t until I graduated a couple of years ago with a BA Hon in Politics and Media Studies that I thought -‘what will I do now?’ PR and Marketing was my dream job and I was lucky to find a great position almost straight away. However, I was nursing the idea of running my own business – my husband tells me it’s because I can’t have anyone bossing me around! At the beginning of 2009 I felt it was the right time for ‘loveitagain’ and also for me, with the economic situation and concerns about the environment I thought if I doesn’t work now it never will.
I believe a vintage store like this could only work in the West End, I did research in terms of how many people recycle in that part of Glasgow – the figures were encouraging. Before I signed my lease I did a leaflet drop to see what type of response I would get back – it was all very positive and I carried out focus groups with friends . Last week I placed adverts in the local free paper which circulates the whole of Glasgow, also some local/community publications – It is early days and I am eagerly awaiting a response. I have a blog, I use twitter and I am just about to circulate leaflets round schools and nurseries.
So far my biggest challenge, apart from refurbishing the shop on a shoestring budget, is how one parent reacted to the concept of receiving money for their pre-loved clothes. Most parents have been really positive and think it is a fantastic idea however I had a parent who was unhappy with the amount of commission I was offering. On this occasion I apologised and suggested the lady take back her items and sell them herself. Some parents use ebay and to be honest I cannot compete with that (nor would I want to). I hope that ‘loveitagain’ is a ‘feel good’ experience and people support and return because they want to help a local store and a small business. I am conscious that she lives locally and will no doubt ‘spread the word’. It has made me think very seriously about my commission set-up! In my naivety – I thought people would be delighted to receive money for their kid’s clothes – I would be conscious of how people perceive your idea.
I funded the business through a business overdraft and our own money, my husband has been in business for 16 years and gave me lots of advice. However being the independent woman that I am I was determined to do most of it myself; so far the bank has been very supportive.