Monday, 25 August 2014

The Things People Say!!

Can you believe that we have been open for over 2 months now?!?

And in that time we have received some really lovely comments.....but some people just find it impossible to say something nice - in which case we would rather they didn't say anything at all.....(and that could be the start of a whole new blog!......)

So, we thought we would tell you a few of the things that people have said to us (or about us) over the past couple of months.

A guy cycles past on his bike and then a few seconds later cycles by in the opposite direction.  We thought he might be casing the joint, but on his third cycle-by he parks up his bike and wanders into the shop removing his helmet.....
"I just wanted to congratulate you on the awesome windows"
 - well, thank-you kind sir - 
A 1000!!! You have got to be kidding!

"I have just been at a Glastonbury wrap party. I put together some of the stage sets and we have been mulling over the designs for next year. Well, one of them is a sort of UFO theme with flowers and butterflies - I need about a thousand of your flowers!!!"
Such a massive compliment - Thank You!!!!

We have received many compliments on our windows and lots of people comment on the frequency of the change of clothing on our mannequins.  Well, we do like to make an impression and so far the windows are doing their job!!!

The Winning Windows
"And the winner of the Dursley Festival Window Competition is da... da.... da...Lily & Violet Vintage!!"
There was really never any doubt that this was ours for the taking!! Lisa put her crazy brilliant papier mache skills to use and the windows were absolutely incredible!!!! The £50 Stonehouse Court Voucher will be put to very good use...

Over the course of the past couple of months we have been lucky enough to meet lots of great people all looking for an item of clothing to add to their own story....

One of these was a Mother of The bride To Be who came in looking for something truly special for her daughters' big day.  She was looking for something that no one else could possibly have.  And, you've guessed it - she found it in our little boutique!!! She decided to return the next day with her friend in tow for a (not needed) second opinion.  Her friends reaction -
" If we are friends, you will take my advice and buy the dress!"
She did; she looked absolutely fabulous and on her daughters' big day she will be wearing a one off dress that will set her apart from the other guests for sure!! Totally Unique. Totally Gorgeous.

Loving It!!
And how can we forget the young lady who looked amazing in one of our favourite iconic dresses - The Poodle Dress!! If you have visited our boutique then you may remember seeing this dress....

Katie was off to Secret Cinema's screening of Back To The Future showing in the East End and recreating the 1955 fictitious town of Hill Valley from the original movie. So the poodle dress was perfect!! Katie's verdict:
"I love it" 
Katie - that dress was made for you!! You should always dress like its 1955!!

We have had lots of people popping their head around the door and complimenting us on the shop and what a lovely addition it is to the town.  And in some cases, we may even have tempted them to stick around for a while and take their property off the market!!...

We are very proud of our little boutique and it is a pleasure to find out what you, our customers, think of, please - let us know!!
Mary & Lisa x 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Should You Stick Your Vintage Stuff In The Wash??

You've watched Dawn and you have rifled through those vintage rails and eureka!! you found the perfect vintage gem for you.. It could have been worn by Audrey Hepburn herself or maybe you take your inspiration from Olive of On The Buses fame. But whoever it was, you can rest assured that your lovely vintage gem probably hasn't strutted its stuff for quite a few years!!!

So, please, please bear this in mind when it comes to caring for and cleaning your vintage things!! When you buy a piece of clothing that has already lived one life (at least!) then the responsibility for caring for it becomes yours... Remember,  - at Lily & Violet Vintage we hope you will find clothes that you want to wear forever.... This will be a bit difficult if you kill it in the first attempt at a wash!!

Don't panic!!! This is your very simple guide to caring for your vintage wardrobe......

The first rule is surely obvious to everyone - if it isn't a washable fabric, don't stick it in your washing machine. Sounds obvious but maybe (like me) you sometimes risk a short, low temperature delicate wash - Don't!!

Now, you have all seen the advert - two girls in a launderette. One sat on a worktop looking bored. The other with some washing in her hand...
"so its usually when I want to wear my favourite vintage dress that I realise maybe I should do my washing a bit more often"
No, No, No!!!! Don't listen to her!!! She is (probably) a uni student with no full time job, working in the local cafe on a Saturday, living in a shared flat with 4 other like minded students.  They are all just getting to grips with having to fend for themselves.  Her skills in the washing department are limited ...

Even cotton needs careful handling
- especially where there is appliqué
Always go carful putting vintage items in your washing machine - bear their age in mind and handle them with care.  Even a bog standard cotton top should be treated carefully.  Some people advocate trying not to wash your vintage gems too frequently - in fact as infrequently as possible.  Try to air them instead of washing them and leave at least a day or two between wears to allow the fabric to rest.

If you have a mark that needs removing then try spot cleaning just that area or delicately washing by hand to remove the stain. If is absolutely has to go in the machine then always use a dedicate cycle on a low heat and use a liquid specially formulated for delicates.

As a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Dry cleaning.  Surely its safe isn't it?!? Well not always! Firstly make sure all of the buttons and any appliqué etc is properly fastened.  Some vintage garments may well have discolouration of the fabric from wear over the years. Often, this is a permanent characteristic and cannot by removed by any sort of cleaning.

If you garment has rhinestones or heavy beading, make sure that it is all secured before taking it to the dry cleaners. Any quality items from the '50s will probably have as a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Magical zip lube!
Keep sticky zips running smoothly with a zip lube. No other lube will do!! It would be such a shame to discard your favourite item just because the zip sticks a bit. Some vintage items may not have been worn for the past 60 year!! Of course the zips might be a bit stiff.. So prolong the life of your garments by keeping them in good working condition.

If you have a bit of cashmere in your closet then beware any harsh, abrasive washing powders. Best to use a bit of fairy liquid and gently hand wash your woollens - actually that is exactly the same for new cashmere...And don't let the moths bite!! Good quality vintage woollens are hard to come by so if you find some handle with care!

So the moral of the story here is wash only if you have to and even then do it with care - your vintage favourites have already lived one life and have come to you only because their previous owners took good care of them, so make sure you do the same.

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Lily & Violet Vintage Soiree

OK, so we have had an idea (yes - another one!!) This is one for the girls!!
(apart from the bit at the very end which could see an end to the suffering endured by the male of the species when they need to buy their other half a gorgeous gift...;)

As you have probably gathered now, we are having the time of our lives - as you know, Audrey Hepburn is who we aspire to but even dear old Audrey would envy the fun we are having!!!

Since opening the Lily & Violet Vintage boutique most of our energy has been directed at making sure that what we offer is a fabulous collection of vintage clothing in a sumptuous environment - exactly how we think it should be!! (Really we have opened the shop that we want to shop in and have just crossed our fingers that others think the same as us!!!)

We know from lots of our customers (and from random passers-by who pop their head round the door) that you also think our shop is pretty fab and that you all love looking at our windows and waiting to see what gems we can find for you next!! We can't tell you how pleased we are...

We have also had quite a few people who are coming in feeling a bit braver in their choice of clothes having watched Dawn on This Old Thing on C4 on a Wednesday....

Surely, this is solo wrong??
But, please!! come on!!! We can do way better than some of that rubbish '80s stuff she is coming up with!! Really??!???!!! - turning the sequin butterfly top into that awful jacket!! - Why would you bother!!! And don't get me started on the guys jacket full of moth holes that didn't even fit....And, have you noticed how Dawn herself is always wearing something incredibly cool from the '60s or '70s???? ppffff!! (rant over - we love it really and are avid watchers).

So anyway, we got to thinking......people are ready to wear something a bit more unusual but no one wants to look like they are in fancy dress.. We have lots of customers who are new to the area, new to vintage or who perhaps lack the confidence to just get and try it on, so we thought a pre party season shopping soiree with like minded people would be a good idea. The shopping experience that we offer is, we think, quite special but we want to make it even more fun!!

Came and try something different!
There are lots of you who just need a little tiny push to try on something that you wouldn't normally pick off a rail.  But what if it doesn't quite fit right, is there anything you can do?? (We are no sewing experts but we know someone who is!!!) If you need a little helping hand shrink your waist by an inch then our What Katie Did Glamour Shapewear may be just what you need - we can explain it all to you....And what about hair and make up...are there any things you can do to complete your vintage evening out or adapt your 'look' just slightly?...We know the people who know!!!

So how would you fancy an evening of trying on, with us as your hosts and with a seamstress for ideas and prices on alterations, a hairdresser and make-up artist on hand for advice and demos??? - Oh and maybe just a little glass of bubbly to help the evening along. Come on!! Get your big Bridget Jones' on and stick your heels in a bag and come with us for a girlie trying on session.

We also thought we would take this opportunity to launch our 'wish list' - only for those who want to of course!!  You will be able to note items that, (if anyone asks us ;) you would like as a gift from one of your nearest and dearest. Maybe it could help you to get a very unique gift this year!!!

So, Saturday 11th October. Our evening will start at 6.30pm and will probably end at around 9pm - but who knows?!? we could be having too much fun to care! There will be a hair demo and a make-up demo (and both of these professionals will be able to answer your questions or take a booking for your forthcoming party if you want).  Should you try something on that doesn't quite sit right or needs taking up etc, a seamstress will be on hand to tell you what is possible and how much it will cost.

Oh, and did we mention the fashion show? - there isn't a formal one but all of you trying stuff on will be the fashion show!!

So - what do you say?? We have 40 tickets to our Lily & Violet Vintage Shopping Soiree. They will cost you £5 a ticket and are available from the shop.  If you can't get to the shop then please message or call us.

Mary & Lisa x 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Radio Ga Ga!!

"And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio

Well ??? Did you hear it ?????
This week I thought I would tell you about my recent venture into radio…It would have been both of us, but any of you that know Lisa will agree, she is the shy and retiring type (and doesn’t think she has the face for radio!! ) So, who is going to tell her?!? Not me!! thats for sure.  I am not that brave….or stupid!! You can though…
It all started with BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s ‘phone with no home’.  I was handed this phone in a tupperware box and told that someone from the station would call between 7am and 9am the next morning and that I would then have 3 minutes or so to tell them whatever I wanted. 
Lisa refused point blank to take charge of the phone, so the next morning off I went on the school run armed with all sorts of sugary bribery in case I was called when Lily was in the car!! Luckily, my call came just after the school drop off, just as I had started my journey home. 
I sat in a lay-by and and had a lovely chat with Mark telling him all about Lily and Violet Vintage and the Caravans.  That very short bit of air-time led to a couple more calls from the station passing on enquiries and related information.  
Then came the random call about the driving test!!! My guess is that they had a long list of potential idiots and hit the jackpot with me!! The call went something like:
Radio person : “We are doing a feature on driving. Mark’s daughter is taking her driving test and we thought it would make a good feature if Mark were to retake his test to see if he would pass. So, we are looking for other people who would be willing to retake their test too - just for a bit of fun”
Me: “Well, um, so let me get this right. You want me to retake my driving test, on air to see it I would pass todays driving test - just for fun?”
Lisa in the background: ‘Go on. Do it!!!”
Me: “ OK then”
My Husband (much later that evening):  “You must be mad!! Who in their right mind would agree to retake their driving test? - And on air!!”
So, off I went to retake my driving test - complete with the lovely Zoe in the back holding a microphone in-between the two front seats!! I actually did alright I thought!! I nervously repeated the ’10 to 2’ mantra to myself throughout the test and in the end failed only because I didn't look over my shoulder when pulling away from the kerb. (I say ‘only’ and I am aware that this is an extremely important thing to remember to do - but compared to what I could have failed on, this was relatively minor!!) 
I was actually quite chuffed with that!! Admittedly, it was a very quiet day on the streets of Gloucester - eerily quiet in fact…..People must have heard that it was Lisa out on the roads that day!…
After the driving test radio feature, Zoe contacted me and we agreed to meet up at the caravans and she would interview me about them.  We met up at the barn and I enthused about our tropical Marj and the lovely Hilda and also showed her Rita and Marigold (who are both in need of a little extra tlc). So that was on Tuesday and the Program was aired Friday lunchtime!! Did you hear it??

I have gone completely radio ga ga!! Lovin’ it!!

Mary & Lisa x