How did you get started with Evelyn Wood – Vintage Fashion House and what do you sell?
I started my Vintage Fashion House out of wanting it for myself really! When I was looking for vintage reproduction pieces to add to my wardrobe, I was always disappointed. I wanted something that looked and felt like real vintage! Most of what I found were ‘polyester references’ to the past, not anything that resembled a true fit and feel of a dress made in the 1940s.
So of course I began to create my own reproductions using vintage patterns along with fabrics and sewing techniques used at the time, and voila! They were beautiful! I would get asked all the time where I got my clothing from and soon realised that I was not the only one who wanted quality reproductions!
So now I produce glamorous, authentic vintage reproduction clothing from the 1930s, 40’s and 50s under my label, Evelyn Wood that I sell through my online store
What is it about your work that you love?
I have always loved fashion and vintage style and combining the two is my life! I get the most enjoyment out of being able to create something new out of the old. I have a vision in my head of a particular outfit and then going into the studio, rummaging through fabrics, making patterns and sewing all the pieces back together to create something glamourous to wear is just wonderful! And then having other ladies wear what I create…. is just icing on the cake!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start their own business?
My advice is to just do it! Stop thinking about it and just do it! These days you can make a business out of just about anything, thin air pretty much! So go all in and just see what works for you, as there is nothing better in life than being able to do what you love! Know it will be long hours, hard work, and a long time before you see the dollars match up to the hours you put in, but to be working on your own terms doing what you love, is worth the sacrifice to me.
What has been the biggest learning curve about working for yourself?
I would have to say the hardest thing is that EVERTHING comes down to you! I mean, you think you know this going in, but once you’re in the position where you are the only moving thing driving your business forward, if you don’t do it, then nothing happens! You have to keep motivated all the time and be able do things even when you don’t feel like it, there is no boss to push you forward or check your progress, only yourself! Sometimes other life events come up to distract you , and can pull your focus away from your business, and it will show because you’re the only one turning the wheel! So I know now that I have to make time to work on my business if I want it to work for me.
Can you recall a time when something you set out to do has failed – how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?
Of course!!! So many times, and there will be many more in future for sure! It can be really tough, especially if you have gone all in on something and then it fails. It’s heartbreaking really. I can’t tell you how many designs over the years have never made it to completion as I just couldn’t get the fit right or make it look like it dose in my head! (But thankfully there is a special place in sewing hell for all these items that ‘make that pile’)
But it is not about failing, it just means that doing it that way didn’t work, and you just need to pick yourself up and try it another way! Then rinse and repeat until you find the way that dose work!
Why do you think we are so reluctant to talk about our failures?
No one want wants to admit failure because I think it has a stigma attached that it means you were defeated and gave up, as, this is what most people do, and no one wants to be seen like this.
But as I said above, if you don’t give up and don’t resign yourself to defeat. If you instead look at it simply as a way that didn’t work, pick yourself up and continue on to find the way that dose work, I find it is not so difficult to talk about.
What inspires you?
I look for and find inspiration everywhere! I am obviously inspired by the fashions of the early 20th century in my own personal fashion style. I love the silhouettes, the glamour and the femininity that was exuded by Hollywood films. I love creating new outfits based on something I have seen in the past and make it come to life!
I find great inspiration in meeting people that have their own unique style about them, and just do what makes them happy, without care of what the masses do! I actually am more inspired by the more extreme the style is and the more different it is from my own! I love to see peoples personality on the outside, expressed through clothing!
Biggest misconception about women who dress in vintage style?
In my experience the biggest misconceptions would be either that we are all sexy pin ups, or that we want to go back and live in the 50s (it is always the 50s for some reason!)
What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest personal challenge has been to stop looking around at others and society for reference as to the way I should look, think, feel, and take myself as I am and develop my true self, not worrying about what others think about it.
How do you deal with feelings of self-doubt?
I think self-doubt is mostly about having concern of what others will think of you and fear of being judged. I have found the best way to combat this is to take a moment to look inside our self and ask yourself if YOU are truly happy with what it is you’re doing, if not then adjust, if you are, then go for it! Then others opinions don’t really matter anymore.
How do you switch off? What’s your favourite way to relax?
Bubble bath!! But sadly do not currently have a bath tub… so going to a beautiful park with flowers with my puppy Esme and taking a long walk and some quite meditation also does the trick!
And finally – where can people find you?
Check out other interviews in The F – Word Series.