I know that I'm not alone in wanting to create a business that allows me to celebrate my own style interests, and for this blog post I'm sharing another story of someone else doing the same.
Mindi created Little Wicked's Emporium, an online store for all of your alternative fashion needs. I decided to start with setting her 3 style challenges.
1. A rockabilly office outfit.
"I've kept it simple and classic with the Hell Bunny 'Colorado' black bandanna print dress, which is subtle enough to pass muster in 'smart' offices, but still has a hint of 'alternative' about it with a print featuring skulls and pistols. I'd team this dress with the 'Jade' low heel shoes from Hades. "
2.Rockabilly party look.
"I'd go with the black & white 'Odette' dress from Lindy Bop, which can be worn either with or without a petticoat, and I'd swap out the included slim belt for the Black Rose elasticated cameo waist belt from Restyle clothing. I'd then add a splash of colour with the red 'Amina' decorated heels from Hades, matching these to red lippy of course! "
3. An outfit you'd like to see ReeRee in!
" I'd choose the Restyle 'Rebel Ariel' tank top, paired with the Hell Bunny red bandanna print swing skirt, and worn with the more subtle 'Juana La Loca' heels from Hades. I've chosen this look because I think the skirt is a classic rockabilly style piece, the tank adds a bit of fun and whimsy to the outfit, and the shoes are another classic that would fit with so many looks!"
It's definitely not an outfit I'd choose for myself, but I reckon I'd love how fun I'd feel in it!
I asked Mindi about her journey to starting her own small business:
" I always knew I didn't really want to work for other people, and I always wanted to do something creative. I spent the last 15 years of my life doing jobs I didn't like and dreaded going to every day, and knew that if I could, I wanted to get away from that life. So in April of 2012, after much thought and planning, I placed a small wholesale order with one of my suppliers, and started by selling on eBay. As I sold items, I put the money back into the business, buying more wholesale orders as and when I could. I gradually expanded onto my own website as well, and kept expanding wherever possible and whenever finances would allow. At the moment, I am still working in the dreaded 'day job', but it's having this steady income that has allowed me to continually expand my product ranges."
What do you think helped you grow? You have over 12,000 likes on facebook!
" I pride myself on offering my customers items that are not always readily available elsewhere. There are some ranges that I stock which are the same as other online and physical retailers, but I try to source the items that are harder to get hold of in the UK, which usually means importing goods from American rockabilly/alternative brands as well as sourcing less well known UK based brands. Of course, there are some classic brands which I would stock regardless of how many other retailers also stock them, purely because I love the brands so much! I also pride myself on offering my customers an extremely high standard of customer service, and because I'm a one-woman business, I think my customers appreciate the personal touch that comes with all the communication and purchases! I have expanded through word of mouth, through offering international shipping options, and I also can't dismiss the power of social media! I have run ads via Facebook which have been instrumental in getting the word out about my shop to massive audiences!"
Do you love your job?
"That one's easy! I love alternative fashion, and I love clothes and shoes! I've always been fascinated with aesthetics, and this is my chosen outlet! I get a real buzz out of sourcing stock and still get excited every time a parcel full of new goodies turns up!"
"In January 2013, my own line of handmade clothing, Little Wicked Designs, is being re-launched, so I will be open for custom made and made to measure clothing again, which will obviously involve a lot of pattern making and sewing! The plan is around six months after the re-launch, I intend to leave the 'day job' completely and become self-employed full time running Little Wicked's Emporium and spending my working days making the handmade clothing."