Women Will Create Meets... Electric Wardrobe
My linkedin says I’m the owner and founder of Electric Wardrobe and I’m constantly typing “Thanks for shopping with us and supporting our small independent business!”, but really Electric Wardrobe is just me in my tiny flat. I source and sell cool and quirky vintage clothes for femme fatales and rockstar gals! Or just anyone with fun and fearless sense of style.
While at a loss as to what to do after graduating with a creative (AKA what the hell do I do with this?) degree, I started working at a vintage store and ended up launching their online store on ASOS Marketplace. I loved the role but their vision of a clean branded sportswear aesthetic so wasn’t me. I was itching to start my own store and in September 2017 I started Electric Wardrobe. So it was born not just out of my love of vintage fashion but also my need to do everything my own way and dislike of working for anyone else!
The fact that I’d already had that experience of launching the store and running it all with a really small team gave me the confidence to take the plunge and start my own business. Taking a part-time job that only covered half my living costs was the scariest part and I just kept thinking “What if no-one buys anything?” but about 20 minutes after the boutique went live on a Friday night, a guy in China bought two animal t-shirts from us. My friends were out dancing and I was dancing round my bedroom with the first order.
Most of the vintage stores right now are all on the 90’s sportswear trend and basics like denim jackets and plaid shirts, but for me that’s not why I love vintage. I love finding a totally different and fun piece that’s on trend but also off kilter. That’s why I handpick every garment I sell and my motto is Ban Boring Clothes. My style inspirations are Twiggy, Edie Sedgwick, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, the Spice Girls, Carrie Bradshaw, Madonna, Hillary Banks, all the girls in Almost Famous, Wes Anderson movies, Alabama Worley in True Romance and Mathilda in Leon.
My absolute favourite part of running the business is going buying and finding those incredible one-off pieces. Usually getting up early on my only day off (probably hungover) to dig through clothes bins in a grimey warehouse for something rainbow coloured or sparkly. Everyone always asks if I find it hard not to keep everything, and there have been a few things i’ve mourned the sale of, but there are a lot of things I know will look better on the right person and it's a great feeling to see all the pieces up on the store looking amazing. I love dredging up all these amazing but long forgotten clothes so people get to wear them again.
I feel like a lot of people think you need a chunk of money to start a business and you need to have a space to do it and expensive equipment ect. And for some ventures that may be true, but there are so many online platforms and apps that make it easy to start a side hustle with very little. The camera I use is second hand off Ebay, and one of my models showed me how to use the manual settings. I know I put up a lot of obstacles when I was considering it, like I didn’t have the space and I needed a car, but you work through those things, even if that does mean dragging 12 kilos of clothes through the London Underground in a granny trolley, or filling every single space in my flat with clothes (thanks to my flatmates for being so understanding). I know there’s been a lot of talk about the death of the high-street being the end of local businesses, but now the whole world has access to small independent female-run businesses like mine from anywhere with wifi and turning your creative outlet into a career is easier than ever.
I was really prepared to be broke as hell for the first year, but Electric Wardrobe has actually exceeded my expectations! The other day I gave a business card to a stylish passer-by and she said “I think I’ve seen this!”, so we might not be Nasty Gal yet, but maybe we’ll get there