Tell us about your business:
The vintage industry needs an overhaul. Sellers are overworked, receive little payment, and don't know how best to promote themselves to maximise value.
TrendListr aims to offer a platform for sellers to list their products on whilst giving them a measure of pride in what they do - and providing buyers with the 'ASOS of vintage clothing', an intuitive and aesthetic user experience connecting them with a global database of vintage dealers. Listings to the site will be curated to ensure quality and authenticity and make us stand out from other such selling platforms.
What did you do before setting up your business?
I’ve just finished my master’s degree at Newcastle University in Arts, Business and Creativity. Before that I was studying fashion photography at the London College of Fashion down south. I’ve not yet graduated, so I suppose you could say I’m still a semi-student!
What inspired you to set up your business?
I saw a clear need for an online platform for buying and selling pre-owned clothing that serviced the gap between the ‘bargain bins’ of the web and the high-end consignment services such as BuyMyWardrobe and Vestiaire Collective.
Being a vintage trader myself, I became frustrated with how existing platforms were treating their seller base, whilst simultaneously refusing to curate their content and in turn cheapening the brand image of these small independents.
What makes this business different?
TrendListr is a curated platform that is designed with the end-user in mind, whether they are buyers or sellers. Sellers have access to clear metrics, an attractive digital shopfront and a global community of users – whilst buyers can enjoy the unique clothing, high quality product photography and easy-to-use browsing interface.
What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?
My business advisors based within Newcastle University signposted me to the challenge. I strongly believe in anything that can bring positive press to the region and its’ entrepreneurs. Being an honorary Geordie myself who has fallen in love with the North East as a place to do business means I am keen to spread the word to other graduates who may be considering leaving to go down south, and let them know of the abundance of resources and success stories on our doorstep here in Newcastle.
Where do you see your business in three years’ time?
I want to be the ASOS of Vintage. Even Etsy built its user base by allowing handmade goods and crafts on it, so specialising in vintage before opening the platform to other forms of preloved goods will cement TrendListr’s position in the online market.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The best thing about starting my own business has been being able to take credit for everything that goes well. Naturally it’s a double-edged sword, if things go wrong, it’s all on me, but there’s an incredible amount of satisfaction in knowing that the work you put in has a direct impact on where the business goes.
What has been your biggest challenge?
At this stage, finding the web development skills needed to polish the platform prior to launch. I love digital media and tech, but I am not a techie myself! The venn diagram of people who love vintage clothes and coding is basically two distinct circles, but I remain optimistic.
Who/what gave you support or advice?
My lecturers at Newcastle University were invaluable in helping me to do this, without them I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to attempt this.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
I know people don’t want to hear this but: Talk to people. Be a bit cheeky. Fire off some cold emails, see what happens. The biggest mistake you can make is assume that because people aren’t approaching you, they aren’t interested – they just don’t know you’re there!
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