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Successful Vintage Shops | Always Thriving

Its been over a year since the global health emergency started and businesses have been struck hard due to the lockdowns. The fashion industry is no exception, however, there have been some successful vintage shops that have managed to thrive even during these difficult times.

How do they do this? They all have different business models, some are even small physical stores that have managed to increase their revenue during an economic crisis.

With this article, I would like to give my take on some of these success stories from all around the world and go over the actions they took to make it happen. What are people looking for in a vintage clothing store during a pandemic? Let’s find out!

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Dress-up as marketing strategy

The UK has been one of the toughest countries when it comes to lockdowns. Lots of businesses have been forced to move operations online to survive. Market Cartel, one of the top’s London’s vintage fashion stores is one of these.

Recently, Ms. Jessica Bumpus from Harper’s Bazaar reached out to the owner Ms. Dani Smith and other fashion sellers (you can read the article here) about this transition and how they adapted and got the most out of the situation.

Regarding Ms. Smith, one thing caught my attention; she took a child’s game (dress up) and used it make revitalize her business. She started posting fashion films and catwalk-like photos of her in her apparel, and it was a complete success.

In my opinion, the strategy was brilliant; not only did she dramatically increased her audience by shifting to social media marketing, but also she did it in a fun and unique way that A LOT of girls out there can relate to and feel drawn to the way she is presenting her products.

Most fashion stores rely on standard pictures of their products lying around. A small twist to the presentation made her revive her business! Once you have some traction, you can build upon it with online events, promotions, discounts, etc…

Social Media Show

Also featured in the article you can find that Nordic Poetry, another vintage store in London, launched a fashion show (recorded in the store) where people discuss and dress with apparel from the store.

I think this is a great way to promote your brand as with fashion you always have something to talk about. Moreover, by engaging in discussions and dress-ups, people get a more vivid experience on what the store has to offer and what to expect with your products, not to mention you develop a more intimate relationship with your audience, as opposed to using just pictures.

Also, the fact that you can start a channel around that, is in it itself a great entrepreneurial journey. What do you think? Would you watch an online fashion show like this? I would love to hear your take on that in the comment section below.

Also, I encourage you to read the full article as other stores with different promotional methods is discussed there.

Know what people are looking for

Depending on what your customers and the general public want, successful vintage shops can adjust their products and marketing style to best suit their needs. In this article Ms. Lily Mastrobattista shares what students are looking for in a vintage store.

First, young people are looking for uniqueness. With big brands mass producing the same clothes, people are shifting towards vintage as a way to rock a unique piece that stands out from the rest. With the pandemic, apparel sold online that is promoted as a single piece or a one-of-a-kind item has seen a rise in sales.

I would also add the fact that right now a lot of people are shopping for either collection purposes, as they cannot go outside and show off their clothes, or for the future, since we are getting closer to the end of the lockdown and everyone one wants to look great for when everything goes back to normal.

Another very important factor is the price. At this moment, very few people are willing to spend more than they have, and since vintage and secondhand are known for being budget-friendly (take a look at our previous news coverage) vintage stores are a natural solution.

Special offers, price cuts, and free-shipping are all great ways to attract and keep customers that are looking for the best price available.

Finally, quality plays a big role too. Assuring your customers that your vintage products remain of good quality is essential. You would be surprised to know how many people turn away from a good offer just because they don’t see any evidence of originality/quality in the product description.

For this, I have seen that stores that provide evidence (it could be pictures, videos, paperwork, etc…) of their products’ authenticity and quality are more likely to have both returning customers and quicker purchases.

Every store has a chance, so go ahead and take action!

In business there is no step-by-step formula to success, the best you can do is adapt to the situations at hand, try to be one step in front of your competitors, and mainly, work really hard.

As we have seen, there have been many success stories among the failures. I believe any vintage store can thrive in difficult situations, such as a pandemic if the proper adjustments are made to the business.

With the return to normalcy around the corner, will these stores remain on top, or the competition will rise above them? what changes to the business strategy would you implement once things get back to normal?

In my case, I would implement some strategies like the ones presented here (like the online fashion show) or similar new ones. Moreover, I would consider going back to traditional marketing strategies (not only digital ones) to attract in-person customers again, given of course, if the store relies on physical clients.

I would love to hear your opinions on this in the comment section below!

Thank you for reading and I hope to have a great discussion with y’all down below 🙂

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