Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Badass Biz: Vix's Kinky Melons Retro Boutique. Groovy Vintage Duds in the UK.

I'm working hard to sell off the remainder of my vintage stock, but my adoration of vintage hasn't dulled. If anything, I seem to love vintage fashion and objects more every year. Vix of Vintage Vixon runs a mobile Retro Boutique in the UK and her style and creativity always inspires me. 

I just had to ask Vix some questions for my ongoing series on badass indie business owners. 


1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

I'm Vix, a 48 year-old vintage trader with my own business, Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique. I live in the middle of the UK in a 250 year old house with my partner of 23 years, Jon. We live & breathe vintage and are both obsessed with India.

2. Tell us about Kinky Melon. When did you start this vintage clothing selling business? I've been selling (and collecting) vintage since I was a teenager but became a full-time business 8 years ago.



3. You have an amazing eye for style and design, what did you do for work before kinky melon? I remember reading that you're a fellow office-world expat.

Thank you! Yes, I trained as a chef and worked as a manager in the corporate hospitality trade for years. Strangers always assumed I was an artist or a fashion designer and were surprised when I told them how I earned a living.

4. How long have you been obsessed with vintage fashion? 

Since childhood. My Grandma & Mum used to take me to jumble sales and I'd spend my pocket money on vintage gowns and shoes, I loved the fabrics and design even if they were miles too big! I loved dressing up and roller skating around my neighbourhood in my new found treasures as well as dressing up in my Mum's Biba clothes she'd kept from before I was born.





5. That is adorable. You and vintage clothes were meant to be! What are your tips for thrifting for vintage clothing?
Be patient, shop regularly, some days you'll find nothing and other times you'll be overwhelmed. 

Try different areas, sometimes the wealthiest neighbourhoods are expensive and dress their charity shops like boutiques, only stocking high end, modern fashion items whereas the more run-down places put all their donations out n the shop floor, tatty, new, vintage and trash.

If, like me, you always dress in vintage, store managers will remember you and the kind of things you buy, often putting stuff aside for you to check over before being put out on the shop floor.



6. What are your tips for collecting vintage clothing pieces? 
Buy what you love and what fits. Fill your wardrobe with pieces that make you feel fabulous no matter how often you wear them.

7. Any tips for repairing vintage clothing? 
I salvage vintage buttons and zippers from clothes too tatty to sell, which saves money at the haberdashery. 

That iron-on hemming tape is great for repairing rips in delicate fabric. 
Over in the UK I swear by a powder stain remover available from our £1 stores. A half-hour soak shifts the most horrible stains.
There's lots of tutorials on You Tube to help with repairs if you get stuck.



8. Any particular favourite in your personal and/or shop collection?
Our stock and personal collections (my partner wears vintage, too) are constantly changing. My Ossie Clark dress (HERE) , bought for £10 from a charity shop is one of my very favourites along with a turquoise velvet opera coat with a marabou feather trim (HERE) I spotted in a vintage shop in a nearby city and didn't buy, only to revisit a year later and to find it still there (reduced to half price)..fate! 

At the moment Kinky Melon has a spectacular CC41 gent's overcoat (CC =British government controlled commodity from the Second World War) and a velvet couture gown from the 1930s (which I wore to the supermarket - HERE)

9. Do you and your partner support yourself fully on Kinky Melon? 
Yes, we are in very fortunate position having paid off our mortgage some years ago and being debt-free (no credit cards, no loans, no HP). We live a very frugal life and get by with our Kinky Melon business and Jon's royalties from his music (he was a professional guitarist with The Charlatans back in the day).


Vix on one of her frequent visits to her muse, India.

10. What are your major style influences?
I can Google images of 1960s Bollywood, the overland trail, the Psychedelic era and the hippie movement all day long.

11. Any tips for anyone else who wants to start their own indie business in general? 
Make sure you're debt free first and then go with what you love. Its better to try and fail than to spend life trapped in a job you hate wondering, what if?

12. How about specific tips for vintage clothing sellers?
Vintage isn't going to make you rich. 
Selling is a labour of love but so rewarding to meet like-minded people and to convert vintage virgins into passionate collectors. 
Hand pick every item you sell - sellers who use wholesalers stand out a mile, their stalls aren't coherent or attractive. 
Launder and repair everything prior to sale. Love and respect your stock and customers will do the same.
Price everything. there's nothing more off-putting than having to ask for prices and wondering if they've been inflated because the seller doesn't like you! 
If you're selling face-to-face dress in vintage to show you believe in your product. Leave your mobile phone at home.



13. What's your favourite thrift store find- any kind, non-clothes related?
Our home is furnished with thrift store finds, car boot buys (like your flea markets) and stuff hauled out of skips (dumpsters).Favourite pieces would include our Trechnikoff & Lynch prints, my collection of Scandinavian art glass, antique runners, some old gilt mirrors and a couple of Victorian fire surrounds.

14. Any top general thrifting tips?
Never go with a wishlist, clear your mind and see where your eyes lead you. Shopping with a fixed plan means that you'll often miss things. There's potential in everything. Curtains can be remade into clothes, Soda syphons and plaster ornaments make great lamp bases and dull furniture can be painted.




15. How about top personal style tips? Your my style muse. I want to collect a whole vintage wardrobe one day.
Only keep in your wardrobe things that make you feel fabulous. Don't keep clothes to slim into or for sentimental reasons.

Never dress to please anyone but yourself. If your partner doesn't like the way you dress then it's time to dump them.

If you feel great in the clothes you own you'll exude confidence and look gorgeous.
Never save clothes for best, if you want to wear a ball gown to the supermarket then do, you could be dead tomorrow. 


Thanks for the tips, Vix! Keep living that colorful, vintage-filled life. If anyone ask any other questions, let us know in the comments!

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18 comments:

  1. It's me! Thanks for featuring me, Van and for your searching questions. I really enjoyed being interviewed. x

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  2. Me and my hubby are regular customers of Vix's at Stockport Vintage Market in the UK and it's such a delight to see her and Jon each time. I've really enjoyed your article and getting to know more of Vix's story.
    Lynn from Lancashire UK

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    1. Aw, I'm jealous, I'd love to visit and buy Vix's awesome wares in person. I want an entirely vintage wardrobe like Vix has :)

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  3. Lovely article and pics! And I so get the little girl at the rummage sale-our mums' did us a huge service taking us to them didn't they Vicky! :) x

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    1. Yep, I'm there with you guys. I grew up in and out of thrift stores and flea markets.

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  4. I love Vix - she is one of my heroes - she doesn't give a toss what others think and wears what she bloody well wants to :)

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    1. Agreed, she is my style muse right now. I want to switch my wardrobe for an all-vintage and upcycled or sustainable one eventually.

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  5. I love Vintage clothing and accessories. Cool shop and owner with great personal styling!

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  6. Vix and Jon!!!!!! Queen and King <3 <3 <3

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  7. Such a pleasure to meet Vix, she has a great and uniaque style, her words are so inspiring. Funny that she says no to wishlists when vintage hunting, almost all vintage curators say bring one lol but Vix has a point, you don't want to miss out wonderful things, is good to keep your mind open when you bring a list. Just added her blog, love it!

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    1. Yep, 'tis true. You never know what you'll find.

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  8. This is a wonderful interview with thoughtful questions that captures our wonderful Vix perfectly!

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  9. Vix is an awesome woman... and what I consider a role model for younger women.
    Good interview and good blog :)

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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