I promised a while back, that I'd showcase talented artists, makers, creatives and entrepreneurs here on my blog.
Today's featured entrepreneur and addict of all things retro is Sue from yay retro!
How and why did you begin your business?
Back in the spring of 2012, I had just made the very happy acquaintance of a delicious Poole Pottery cheese dish, which I fell head over heels in love with. There followed many months of tracking down a large Poole Pottery collection and in the process I found heaps of other gorgeous vintage items from the 1930s to 70s. I began selling vintage wares online via my website ‘yay retro! ‘ later that year.
I had been collecting china and pottery jugs for many, many years, and each time I found something fab, I would think ‘yay - retro!’, and that’s how my shop name came about!
I work part-time for the family web design company, and the Yay Retro! online shop was designed and given to me as a birthday present by my son and husband.
I decided to spend my birthday money on buying some stock, and seeing ‘what would happen’…. Now 2 years later I work pretty much full-time selling vintage wares worldwide via the website - https://www.yayretro.co.uk/.
How have you been able to grow your business?
I have grown yay retro! wholly by using my website and social media. Spreading the yay retro! word by regularly writing on my blog about the vintage wares I have for sale, yummy recipes and also showcasing some brilliant artists and makers https://www.yayretro.co.uk/blog/. I have a great group of really supportive customers and followers on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Yayretro and really love meeting new people there. Many of them have become great virtual 'friends'. I also tweet from my blog and pin my photos onto Pinterest.
Have you always loved retro pieces and does this relate to your childhood?
My enthusiasm for all things retro stems from childhood memories of my Nan, Gran and Mum's kitchens in the 60s & 70s. I loved spending happy times with them, learning to run a house and cook simple things. Also of my Dad and Gramp who were keen campers and caravanners; we were always going away in a tent or caravan, having picnics and making the most of being outdoors. All of these happy times come to mind whenever I spend time on yay retro!
What do did you do before yay retro! ?
I used to be a professional painter, creating and selling large abstract works. I also taught art for a local college. I am not sure I was a 'real' artist as one day after 10 years, I just stopped completely... I don't even have a paintbrush in the house now! I think it is this part of me is that makes me really appreciate the designs and patterns on vintage wares. Cheese dishes can be viewed as mini 'sculptures' and pattern/designs as paintings or drawings on china. Later I became a wedding photographer and did this for about 5 years. Though it was a lovely job, I have to say it's a lot easier photographing china and homewares in my studio, than people at a wedding!
Have you bought something and discovered it was a rare treasure?
I recently bought some vintage salad servers, and then watching daytime TV when I was poorly saw them on an antiques programme. It turned out they were by Clarice Cliff, which was a lovely surprise. These have just sold, and are being given as a gift to a lover of the Art Deco era, which is just great.
Where do you source stock from and is it mainly in this country?
I never go a day without searching for items for the yay retro! shop. Wherever I go I cannot resist treasure hunting! My sons and parents live away from us, and all are in different counties...This means we are always travelling about the South of England, which throws up lots of hunting opportunities.
What's your very favourite piece?
I can't pin it down to just one piece, but I am very proud of my Poole Pottery 'early morning breakfast set', it's a joy to use and also to look at.
If you could go back in time to the 50s 60s how would you furnish a sitting room and what pieces would you HAVE to have?
I have furnished my sitting room with an Ercol style suite in lime green and charcoal with orange cushions - I love colour! This is from John Lewis, it has little stick legs and so matches my 1963 Ercol coffee table. Everything else is minimal so that I can add in the odd vintage piece of glassware or pottery here and there.
Where can we see and buy your retro items?
Buy the very best genuine retro 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s china and homeware in our ever changing online vintage shop.
Thank you Sue! A lovely insight into how your interest in the art of an era turned into a thriving, online business.
I'm amazed to discover that you are also an artist. Perhaps one day you'll treat us to a little preview of your art.