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Thanks to everyone who entered our Dupenny competition – how cool are those tea towels? We’ll be announcing the winner over on our Facebook page TODAY so be sure to head over & see if you’re the lucky one!

Today, we’re bringing you Part II of our wonderful Inspirational Women features and we’re super glad to have the brilliant Keeley Harris of Discover Vintage sharing her business history, secrets & tips! I’ve always been a great admirer of Keeley’s various business and she is definitely an inspiration to us women in the vintage world! I loved reading her answers to our questions, and hope you take inspiration from it too!

Vintage Keeley

Name & business name

Keeley Harris, Discover Vintage & Vintage Emporium. I run Discover Vintage which organises fairs & events including The Vintage Wedding Fair, The Vintage Home Show & The Festival of Vintage.  I also manage Vintage Fair Listings Website www.vintagefairsuk.co.uk and write for Vintagexplorer Magazine. I am also currently writing a book about Vintage Inspired Homes!

Alongside all of this, I run Vintage Emporium & sell Vintage Homewares, Furniture & Fashion at Fairs & through Various Outlets and soon to be online!

 I do all of this without any staff, just the help of my family

Year your business was established

2009 

What was the inspiration behind your business name?

I always believe your business should be called something relevant, simple and that describes what it does. I want people to Discover Vintage, whether it’s for the first time or whether it’s about them finding more vintage to add to their collection. By coming to my events or looking at my websites they will do this.

 What was the original inspiration for your business?

 My business comes in two parts, Vintage Event Organising and Vintage Dealer

 As a Vintage Dealer

The inspiration for being a dealer come from being obsessed with “old stuff” since the age of 10, collecting items with pocket money. Then when I was a student buying books to learn about Antiques and Vintage. Then I started selling with my Dad at Antiques Fairs. I also knew this was the perfect job for me. There is nothing more satisfying than buying something interesting, finding out its history and selling it to someone who will give it a new home.  

And, as an event organiser….. 

I got the inspiration whilst trading at Vintage Fairs and knowing I could create more vibrant and interesting events myself. I had worked in the event industry for 8 years and had a vast amount of experience running indoor and large outdoor events. I realised I could use this information and experience to apply it to an industry I loved.

 Knowing that I was never cut out to work 9-5 in a boring, uninspiring job knowing that running my own business was destiny 

Did you have an initial start-up investment or funding?

NO! I had given up my well paid job on the spur of the moment and talk my partner I just wanted to sell vintage. You can imagine the response! I had roughly £400 with my partner telling me I had 3 months to see if I could make it work or I needed to find a job.

Did you have any input from family/friends?

Yes, I could not do it without my family. My Partner, Steve helps out at events and is a sense of reason. I am a born entrepreneur who likes to take risks but Steve keeps my feet on the grounds and reminds me I can’t act on every new idea I come up with. My daughter who is now 15 is a great help too. She is an event manager in the making!

Which field did you work in previously?

I worked for The East of England Showground as the Event & Marketing Manager and worked on Equine & Agricultural events mainly.

Did you continue to work in a different field while building your business?

No – I wanted to get going straight away and was in a lucky position where I could just get on and do it!

What was the hardest part about starting a business?

Doing Accounts, I hate Maths!  I soon released I need someone to help out with Book Keeping!

Who has been your biggest inspiration in business?

This is a cliché but it is Richard Branson. He likes to create brands that people can identify with, has some crazy ideas and is a nice guy even though he has pots of money! 

What would you say are the three biggest keys to success?

 Being a leader not a follower

Having a strong vision of what you want to achieve

Identifying your target market and knowing what they want 

What is the best part of running your own business?

You get to plan your day and make your own decisions with no-one else to report to.

And the worst?

You can’t switch off – its 24/7!

 What would be the biggest lessons you’ve learnt?

Remember to enjoy it, it better than having a proper job! Don’t let it stress you out

What would your advice be to other potential business start-ups?

Do plenty of research.

Embrace Social Media.

Know who your competition.

Great advice from Keeley there! How seriously impressive is it that Keeley manages to run all of her businesses with no other staff?! Hats off to Keeley – she does an amazing job and we’re all in awe!

Be sure to check out all of Keeley’s adventures through her various sites here:

www.discovervintage.co.uk

www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk

www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk

www.vintageemporiumyork.co.uk

www.festivalofvintage.co.uk

www.vintagefairsuk.co.uk

Would you like to be part of our Inspirational Women feature? Do you run a vintage inspired business and want to tell us about it? Get in touch! karenwhybro@gmail.com 

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