From small beginnings with a stall on Altrincham Market, Violet Loves Vintage has now opened a permanent boutique in Stamford House on Moss Lane.
We caught up with owner Rachel Warburton and discovered how a terrible sequence of events had convinced her to follow her dream.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: So Rachel, you’ve just opened Violet Loves Vintage on Moss Lane in Altrincham. Tell us a bit more about it.
RACHEL WARBURTON: Violet Loves Vintage offers women something a bit different – we call it ‘modern vintage’ – so vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories for modern life. Vintage-inspired clothing tends to flatter all body types and feels fresh and feminine. We have everything from workwear and everyday styles to occasion-wear that’s perfect for the races or a wedding and everything in between. We also stock gorgeous handbags, jewellery and shoes – including Ruby Shoo and Joe Browns. Customer service is at the heart of everything we do and we are always on hand to offer help and advice – especially for men looking for gifts! – although we do sell gift vouchers too!
AT: How did Violet Loves Vintage come about?
RW: I had always wanted to run my own business but had never taken that step. Life moved along, as it does but after a horrendous couple of years, I decided it was now or never. In the space of two and a half years both my parents passed away, I had a miscarriage and was made redundant from my job. It was such a hard period in my life and everything that happened brought it home to me how precious life is and to make the most of every moment.
So at the beginning of 2017, immediately after being made redundant, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own business, and I’m so glad I did. The shop is named after my daughter Violet and my grandmother was also called Violet. Iain, my husband, has also been involved so it’s a real family business.
AT: That must have been a really hard time, how did you get started?
RW: I started off in March 2017 with a weekly stall on Altrincham Market, then in September 2017 the opportunity arose to have a shop in Afflecks in Manchester. This gave me an excellent grounding for the business and I learnt so much – when you run your own business there is so much to do. I run our social media accounts, order stock, run our website, pick and pack online orders – the list is endless!
AT: How did you end up back in Altrincham?
RW: Since starting the business on Altrincham Market, my ultimate goal had been to have my own shop in Altrincham. We live in Altrincham and my heart belongs to the town – so I kept looking at ways I could make it happen. I started with a pop-up shop on George Street, while looking for a permanent base in the town.
A couple of months ago, the owner of the Vintage Angel home and gift shop decided to relocate to Dunham Ice Cream Farm and I managed to secure the unit for Violet Loves Vintage’s permanent home. I collected the keys on a Thursday, and we opened the following Friday, so it was a whirlwind of decorating, ordering stock and pulling it all together – there was a lot of long days and late nights, but it’s all been worth it!
AT: What’s the biggest misconception about Violet Loves Vintage?
RW: That women are too old for our styles or too curvy! We have customers from teenagers looking for prom dresses up to stylish ladies in their 80s, and we stock dresses in sizes 8-26, so you are never too old or too curvy! Another misconception is that we only sell full skirted dresses with big petticoats – in reality we have slim fitting (wiggle) dresses, wrap dresses, jumpsuits, shorter dresses, shirt dresses – all sorts!
AT: What advice would you give to other people dreaming of running their own business?
RW: Go for it! Start small, perhaps with a market stall so you can test your product or idea and listen to your customers feedback. It’s a learning curve and there will be hurdles to overcome but it is so worth it – as I walk through Altrincham to my lovely new shop, I still can’t believe it’s mine!
Find Violet Loves Vintage at 5 Moss Lane, Altrincham, WA14 1BA (one of the Stamford House shops). Open seven days a week, or visit their website at violetlovesvintage.com
Photos: Curt Milner Photography