Chantelle Clough, founder of online bag business Vintage Recast, understands what it’s like to be in want of fashionable clothing whilst on a student budget. Experiencing firsthand the pressure of sourcing unique and fashionable bags for all those university parties and formals she decided to do something about it. Clough states “Whilst at university I attended many formal events. I became frustrated with the low selection of evening bags available, which often resulted in a high number of attendees at an event having the same £30 clutch.”
Creativity with a needle and thread can stretch a lot further than sewing on a button or darning up a hole in your socks. Clough used her love of vintage and fashion to customize bags with vintage broaches. The customising not only resolved her bag issue but also attracted the attention of fellow students prompting Clough to develop the idea further into a business, Vintage Recast.
Where does Clough source her bags and broaches from? Look no further than the nearest vintage shop or antique shop she says. The internet and travelling have also been promising places to pick up a nice broach or two, whilst the bags are sourced from an ethical wholesale supplier. When asked to choose her favourite clutch it seems each bag has a special tale to tell. “It is impossible to choose just one favourite!” she says, but manages to narrows it down to her top three including ‘Man on the Moon’, ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ and ‘Blossom in Fall’. “I think these are the most striking brooches and I would seek to pair these bags with a simple dress, allowing the bag to be the statement piece of the outfit” Clough states.
Vintage Recast is proof that your degree doesn’t necessarily dictate or limit what career path you will journey into, as Clough says “I believe that people should not feel constrained by the degree that they study. Their chosen degree may only reflect part of their talent.” Whilst Clough holds a Law degree from Durham she proves that there’s more to a degree than the actual subject and that the transferable skills you learn are just as important, stating “My Law degree helped me improve my quick thinking and problem solving. These have proved to be essential skills in early business start-up.” So can you just pack up your bags after university and start your own business? “Why not go for it?” she rightly says.
Yet with the strain of the harsh economic times and suffering job market, the venture into ‘the real world’, especially running a newly formed business, must be challenging. Clough managed her business start-up costs and continues to fund her expenses by holding down two other jobs as a Sales Assistant at Debenhams and a Financial Assistant in a local business. Although running your own business is manageable she warns new business hopefuls that you must be prepared to “account for hidden costs that can arise”. Clough runs Vintage Recast by herself, however a helping hand is not far away “I do seek to ask friends and family members for their advice. It is amazing the great ideas that can just arise from a chat with friends.”
With fashion magazine editors and bloggers alike tweeting about Vintage Recast’s bespoke clutches, Shelly Vella the Fashion Director of Cosmopolitan posting ‘Absolutely gorgeous and clever clutches’ and Jenny Dyson, the Creative Director of ‘Pencil Agency’ and ‘Rubbish Magazine’ stating ‘Very Tippi Hedren/Grace Kelly on Christmas Eve” it seems the only way for Vintage Recast is up. Clough says in the future she would love to see the products on the high street but currently she’s exploring the possibility of expanding the product line into scarves and gloves.
To contact Vintage Recast visit www.vintagerecast.tumblr.com or email [email protected]