Director, Brag Vintage
Meet our INSIDER CLICKS feature: one of the talented minds behind Brag Vintage!
I’m Ashley Dye, one of the Directors at Brag Vintage. We set up in 2011 when my brother and I were in between projects, working in the property game. We just found vintage clothing much more interesting than what we were doing so, when it took off, we decided to pursue it full time. We have had an interest in fashion from a very early age, so it wasn’t a hard choice for us.
FACT: I love old school Hip Hop music from the 80′s and 90′s.
FACT: I have a King Charles Spaniel called Alfie.
FACT: I lived in Paris as a teenager, which is probably where my interest in fashion comes from.
INSIDER Q & A.
W2C: Why did you decide to launch an online vintage clothing store?
AD: I have always been interested in things that are old, antique and vintage, so it happened quite naturally. After selling some old clothes online, I noticed that there was a huge demand for vintage clothing, and I realized that other people shared my interest. It really just grew from there. We started on eBay, and had the website designed shortly thereafter (once we’d saved enough money).
W2C: What tools have you found most effective in building your customer base/audience?
AD: Social media is always good for building brand awareness; it’s the online version of word of mouth. We’re always looking for ways to reach out to new and existing customers, and we’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. A lot of our customers still come from eBay, which is great for any small business starting out.
W2C: How did your career transition into the digital fashion space?
AD: I had just finished refurbishing my house, and I had a bit of time on my hands. Having the free time to try some new things out enabled me to set up Brag Vintage and, to my surprise, it just took off! Looking back, I’m happy I made the transition because I really love what I’m doing right now. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!
W2C: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your business, and what has been most rewarding, thus far?
AD: Initially, the biggest challenge was sourcing enough good quality vintage clothing. We frequented all of the local charity shops! Now that we’re more established, we have trusted suppliers, so that isn’t too much of an issue anymore. Growing the business as fast as possible without taking too many risks wasn’t easy either, but sometimes you’ve just got to be patient. Building brand awareness takes a long time, and you also have to build trust with your customers. There are also so many different ways to advertise that determining where to start can be a daunting task. It’s always rewarding, though, to get feedback from happy customers or to be featured in a blog or a magazine. That has got to be the most rewarding part of the job. Quite honestly, just being involved in the vintage clothing scene on a daily basis is amazing!
W2C: What other fashion e-commerce brands/sites do you admire?
AD: We’re loving Polyvore at the moment here in the Brag Vintage office. It’s perfect for drawing fashion and style inspiration, and great for picking outfits and keeping up with the current trends. It’s so easy to use as well. We also keep tabs on our competitors in the vintage market to see what they’re offering and to monitor the trends they’re following. Other than that, from a business perspective, you can’t help but admire and aspire to be like the really obvious e-commerce fashion sites, like ASOS and Topshop, who are consistently at the forefront of youth fashion here in the UK.
W2C: What do you think draws people to the vintage market?
AD: I think people are in love with the idea that they can own something totally unique; a piece of clothing that has a story to tell, rather than something mass produced that every other person on the high street is wearing. The quality of vintage clothing tends to be a lot better than most of today’s mass produced product, and a lot cheaper, too! It’s also a lot of fun rummaging and finding those amazing one-off vintage pieces in your local store or online.
W2C: How does the European market differ from other markets around the world?
AD: The European market is probably much more influential with respect to today’s fashion trends, as three out of the four fashion capitals of the world–London, Paris and Milan–are all here in Europe. Fashion and styling play a big part in European life from an early age, more so, I think, than in American or Eastern countries. Trends in Europe seem to arrive a year or so before they do anywhere else, and men’s fashion in particular is more adventurous here than in the other markets. A lot of countries have traditional attire and, as a result, their fashion is quite limited, in my opinion. More specifically, with respect to the vintage market, the clothing and trends are quite different. Americans are known to wear their clothes baggier, and their vintage clothes (such as college tees, baseball and college jackets and vintage Levi’s denim) are imported and popular in Europe today. European vintage clothing is much more adventurous and varied (from fitted Harris tweed jackets and blazers to nordic knitted jumpers).
W2C: What are the must-have pieces currently available on your site?
AD: There are a lot of unique items on the site, but for this coming autumn/winter, Levi’s sherpa denim jackets are definitely the must-have pieces! They’re so functional and warm, but they look great at the same time. We’re currently growing our stock of denim jackets so that it is one of the largest in the UK, online. We also have an 80′s Lee denim jacket embroidered with Madonna on the back, which is one of a kind.
ASHLEY’S CLICK LIST.
GET CLICKED IN
FASHION BEANS – This is a great site for men, with countless fashion tips, grooming and fitness advice, and lookbooks.
GLAMOUR – Glamour gives an up to date summary of all of the latest trends, and has a really clear and easy to use site.
HARPER’S BAZAAR – We love the street style articles on this site as well as the expert styling tips for each season.
BLOGS TO CLICK
RACHAEL GIBSON – A local Sheffield girl, Rachael’s blog is a treat to read and is full of fun outfit posts and wish-lists.
LEHAPPY – Luanna’s blog is a very edgy editorial, and her photos are always amazing to look at.
KEIKO LYNN - A blog with a vintage feel, Keiko’s posts are always bright, bold and very detailed.
DESIGNERS TO CLICK
HOUSE OF HOLLAND – Henry Holland is one of our favourite designers, and we love his latest collection for Debenhams, which gives a nod to vintage.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD - She is a British icon, and her quirky pieces are always head turners.
ALEXANDER McQUEEN – We particularly love Alexander McQueen’s menswear range, with classic tailored suits and retro inspired prints.
SHOP + CLICK
CLICK now to explore the fabulous world of Brag Vintage!