Thursday, 10 October 2013

Getting articles published

I always wondered how you got a article published in a magazine. Then one day I just decided to write a article and submit to some of my favourite magazines. I decided on something that was relevant to the publication and that I was interested in. I took my time and wrote what I thought I would want to read, I then bit the bullet and emailed them with the article attached and waited.... and waited and then got a few emails back, lots never got back to me and I remember one very rude email back from a online magazine (Emerald Street)- which made me laugh at its level of nastiness, I emailed back saying 'Thank you so much for the effort it must of taken to email me back and for taking the time to read the article" I always have the saying in my head 'Fuck em and eat them'.

One article I wrote was wanted by two different magazines, which was just crazy, so I was requested to write a whole new article for V&Oak magazine.

What is surprising is that the majority of editors and sub-editors are just lovely and appreciate you taking the time to write a article.  

I have had two articles published in national magazines Vintage Life magazine and V&Oak magazine. It was lovely feeling seeing something in print and I felt proud - my mum bought ever copy in North London.

My advice is tailor a article that is relevant to the magazine, be polite and don't be afraid if you do not hear back from them, just dust your self off and write another article.

Nearly two years ago

It was nearly two years ago, that I first got the keys to Painted Black a shop that had been empty for nearly two years. It had been lots of things in the past from a Dry Cleaners to a Knicker shop. Those two years have not taken long to go by and the shop looks completely different. We have had over twenty bands play in store, art house performances, vintage markets, our clothes used for shoots for national campaigns and television shows, famous clients and some of our article published in national magazines. 

We have learnt about buying habits the perils of summer and the importance of new ideas and having time off. Shop Dog Rose has settled into being a career girl and now demands love from customers. We have achieved lots and still have lots of ideas we want to full fill. This time two years ago I was alone with Shop Dog Rose, there was no power in the shop I sat on the dusty floor with a screw driver and felt content and excited. It has been hard work of course, but it also been the most fulfilling experience of my life to date and I have made some of my closet and best friends through the shop. Roll on the next two years and all the new adventures Painted Black will go on.

Some of our pieces in the 2013 Autumn Dune Campaign (dress and jacket)

Canadian opera singer Hayley Westenra in one of our vintage gowns she loved it so much she bought it

Thursday, 25 April 2013

How some of our pieces have been used for celebrity shoots like Hayley Westenra's!

Before having Painted Black, I was friends with a few creative people, who like the rest of us was broke, passionate and looking for a break. I was not a media darling, neither did I come from an affluent background (far from it). So when I opened the shop and became part of the 'Vintage Scene' it came as some what of a shock, being contacted by actual magazine that were read by the general population and wanting to use some of my pieces, being interviewed and being asked for my opinion of fashion (to be honest it felt both startlingly amazing and like I was going to get busted as a charlatan any minute). 

What I have come to realise is, if you are honest, willing to put yourself out their for rejection (some people are very power crazed and love telling you that you suck) and not an ego maniac who thinks they are better then everyone else, amazing things can come from it. Being featured in The Sunday Times Stella magazine, some of my pieces being used in national campaigns for big brands, picked as one of Time Outs top 50 vintage shops in London and getting a piece of my writing published by Vintage Life magazine (in all good stockiest I am in May's issue). 

Actually having contacts that aren't a figment of your imagination is very cool, and I have come to realise that most people are just looking for like minded people to collaborate with. I have a few contacts now stylists, buyers for brands, journalists and photographers who I never knew before getting the shop. through these connections some of my clothes have appeared in brilliant print media or used in campaigns for big brands and have been worn by actual famous folk, or bought pieces that will be used as inspiration for new lines. All of these things are brilliant for your ego, and although mine is not very big I still like to feel the relieve of my stock being seen as beautiful or cool (as I hand source it all and work at the shop six days).

Here is Hayley Westenra in one of own gowns

It is strange to feel apart of something that seemed impossible to be a part of. When I was in Stella magazine I got up horribly early and went and bought the newspaper and all by myself sat on the freezing doorstep and looked at the piece - I thought this can't be I am just a girl that grew up in Tottenham and everyone thought dressed strangely.

I look forward to the next year and all the new people and opportunities that will come my way.

Failure is nothing to be ashamed of and happens to us all you just to have to keep on keeping on and have fun!


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Why We Love Rose Draws

The art of styling a shop window.

Here at Painted Black we are lucky enough to be friends with lots of creative types – and our in house resident artist Rose Hudson, pops in from time to time to create some amazing shop graphics and artwork. One of our favorite pieces being the brilliant Beatles window, which was created for Mothers Day.

We realize the importance of window dressing and every Monday we have a complete window change. We can either theme our window – we have done seaside, lazy day in the sunshine, 50’s glamour and 60’s pop. We have even had levitating felt animals heads (we are nothing if not inventive). We always try and draw people in with our displays. Its always our chance to be creative and have fun. Our window at the moment is Spring themed (call it wishful thinking) We have flower mannequin heads, floral wreaths and baskets of fresh flowers.

Although our budget is not very big we are always inventive and reuse some of our props, this is part of the perk of going on buying trips, is the props you can find. One of our favorite was a original 50’s metal rocking horse which adorned our central window for Christmas. Next week we are doing a record display – showcasing our 70’s record player and gramophone.

Pop by each Monday to see Amelia the owner beavering away.
Love PB

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Launching an online shop to rival Asos (only kidding) and our first customer being a celebrity

Everyone says online is the new way to shop - and I mean everyone. Asos is the second biggest commodity website globally and we want a piece of that pie or even a slice okay some crumbs.

So we thought we would bite the expensive bullet and launch our online shop. This is both terribly exciting but also some what scary, its like opening our doors again after being open a year. Will anyone like our stuff, does the website look stylish and function properly - will the Post Office elite finally let me take my dog in so I can post stuff? These kind of questions keep us up at night. 

It takes a surprisingly long time to have a complete redesign of your website, catalogue all your stock - or most of it (blame television and chocolate) pick a font - that is much harder then would seem, think of colour schemes, and take the pictures and not spend most of the day taking photos of Shop dog Rose laying on her back - now thats the hardest.

We have taken thousands of pictures, bought pieces which will be exclusive to Painted Black online. All we need to do is put everything together and work with our web guy - who actually is a web girl to create something that we love. Our launch date is the end of March and we are really excited to see our shop become global.

So keep your eyes peeled to where you can come and get your vintage fix.

Oh and we are having a launch party on the first friday of April to celebrate - with wine music and chocolate - how we love a party.

Since the launch our first customer was a beautiful stylist Pip buying pieces for the Canadian Opera singer Hayley Westenra who loved our 50's blue cocktail dress and may be using it for her front cover of her new album.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fashion Royalty

We are lucky enough to have in our shop Mary Quant pieces; we seem to sell them pretty quickly – the last being an amazing jumper.

Mary Quant

In 1955 Quant opened her first shop called Bazaar on the Kings Road in London which sold her own designs and stock bought in by her. A few years later she went on to open her second Bazaar shop, which focused her on designing and producing her own range of clothes. This was lounge wear trousers to white plastic collars used to alter an outfit and men’s cardigans made long enough to be worn as women’s dresses. By the end of 1966 Quant worked with over 18 manufacturers of her unique designs.

Now when you think of Mary Quant you think of two things monochrome and mini shirts, but she did much more then that. She also worked under different labels like Ginger by Mary Quant, she even designed a Mary Quant mini Copper and home ware. The thing about Quant is that she is a pioneer of fashion and the relation between the social economical and sociological changes of the times in relation to fashion. Where women in the sixties can afford to buy their own clothes (they were more career minded), they did not have to conscribe to an ideal of female and fashion; because of women’s liberation (and the invention of the pill) women could wear what they want, work (all be it still in a limit career) and be a part of a movement where youth, beauty and independence (in style or lifestyle) were applauded.

Now there is lots of talk about whether Quant actually designed the mini skirt and we really will never know – but she was one of the first female designers that designed for women that broke down boundaries and moved things forward – she was a pioneer of the hot pants. So she is alright in our books. Her designs have carried on trickling into popular culture think of The Spice Girls who really took on Quant’s ideas of the power of female fashion – Geri in her union jack  mini dress and Mary Quant hot pants she wore in their first video.

Mary Quant designs still lead the way in fashion (we are really sick to death of seeing the detachable collars that are everywhere - now) .

We love her style and feel lucky to have some of her pieces in our shop.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Vintage Kin

Vintage Kin

The world of vintage is very small, which I did not realise before opening the shop. On the opening week people came from all over London saying they had heard we were opening and they own this shop or work at this magazine. Now this is both nice and unsettling (someone who I will call mean came in on my first day and yes I did do a little cry afterwards but that only happened once) as you have the feeling that you are being sized up, what are your prices like, your stock, your shop decoration and even the outfit you are wearing! But as times goes on you realise they are all here to support you to take some of your shop flyers, do a Follow Friday on Twitter and wish you well and say yes times are hard but stick with it you will do alright.

I have had people buy stuff from my shop who own their own shop and not ask for a discount or mates rates they are trying to support you – because you are vintage kin. Through this a network builds up where you become known, others recommend you and things happen. Like Lena who own Vintage Guide to London who wrote a review when we first opened and through that we have got in to Time Out from her piece on us and we also won 2012 Best New Vintage Shop too. It is this kinship that makes you feel that you have become part of a community and that unlike big chains we are not competing with each other we are just trying to survive in this though time. 

Here is a few of our favourite local vintage shops.

Cha Cha Cha in the mews in Muswell Hill, they have loads of beautiful dresses and their prices are really great they stock a small men’s section with really cool pieces and they have vintage furniture and home ware – oh and they sell online too
20-22 Avenue Mews N10 3NP

Mishka in Middle Lane Crouch End now this shop truly is a treasure trove filled with Ossie Clark’s and original twenties gowns and the owner lizzie is beyond lovely and knows loads about vintage fashion too.
210-212 Middle Lane, Tottenham
London, N8 7LA

And lastly is Rock Candy on Holloway road the owner Emma has a great eye for what’s on trend this season and her prices are crazy cheap she also sells online too and is well worth a visit.
Rock Candy is located at 716 Holloway Road, London, N19 3NH.