The sun’s out and so is the denim and check!

Well the sun appears to have finally started to show its face in the UK.

It’s encouraging me to get out all the denim and checked items I’ve been slowly collecting over the recent months. I’ve got a stash of them!

Denim shortsI’m working on levi shorts and other vintage cutoffs. These are being studded and having little extras added to them.

Some will have bleach effects too. I quite like to use bleach to create patterns in the material rather than just to lighten the denim.

Denim waistcoatI’ve also got some denim jackets which are being turned into sleeveless waistcoats.

I studded up a couple of maternity skirts last autumn and they were sold as soon as I put them online, so I have another couple of those to work on. They looked really cool and you won’t find anything like them in the High Street.

Checked shirtOn the shirts side of things I have some more of my popular re-worked checked and denim shirts. Some are going to be sleeveless and some will have roll up sleeves. They’ll also be studded.

These are a cool cowgirl or rockabilly style that can be dressed up or down and are perfect for holiday or festivals.

I couldn’t really get inspired to do these while we had the grey skies, even more so when everywhere kept getting covered in snow. The sun’s out and now these are getting a make over.

They’ll be up on the Etsy and eBay shops soon. Contact me if you want something special.

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Vintage buttons – it’s all about attention to detail!

I was photographing a few items to put onto the Online Shop yesterday and was admiring some of the buttons on a vintage 1960s dress. It reminded me of how much attention to detail you find in vintage clothes.

I specialise in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s clothes and even the day to day wear dresses all have those little touches. It might be a matching belt in the same fabric or a completely contrasting belt with matching buttons. But it is buttons that really tend to make the difference in the look and the feeling of it being ‘complete’. They very often give the simple garment that luxury touch!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ignoring the quality of vintage clothes. They were made to last, which is why they are still around and still good enough to wear. I’ve even got some handmade dresses from the 1970s and these are massively superior to anything mass-produced for the High Street.

Here are some of the buttons I found that are used for contrast or highlight on the garments:

This gallery shows the buttons that are made to blend in with the garment or just match the material or colour. Sometimes it’s even difficult to pick out the buttons from the material itself:

They really make the outfit, don’t they?

You can also pick up original vintage buttons in some charity shops, if you don;t mind searching through pots of them. Usually you can pick up enough to make a set, and they are perfect for using on handmade or remade items.

And hopefully you’ve only paid ‘button’s for them..

Not available on the High Street – Christmas fairs, markets and pop up boutiques

We’re pretty excited here at Quirky Purple!

We’re off today to set up our area in our first ever pop up boutique collaboration!

I would imagine that anyone involved in vintage, handmade and remade are pretty busy at the moment. What with online sales, Christmas markets and the like, it keeps us all busy. Not just in appearing at market, but also making things for the market.

Last week, it was getting to the stage that every time I made a zombie kindle cover or tea cosy, I sold it. I was on a zombie treadmill for a few days!

Anyway, back to the pop up boutique. We’ve run a couple of stalls at Bartons over the last few months and this first pop up boutique for Nottingham is a collaboration between Bartons and Bluebird Tea Co.

Pop Up Boutique details

Pop Up Boutique details

We’ll admit to being a little bit excited! It starts on Wednesday 5th December at 12pm and runs through until Christmas eve. There’s also a launch night at 7pm on Wednesday 5th December with mulled wine and mince pies (and I think there are also some other lovely goodies). Opening hours are on our Events page.

I hope we see a few of you there. Remember, this boutique has things that are not available on the High Street. You don’t want to buy the same as everyone else. Buy something different, original and maybe a one off!

Halloween goodies – zombies, skulls and Jack o’Lanterns

I can tell it’s Halloween in a few days – I’ve had a run of zombie items being bought from the online shops. Unless of course, it’s because Zombie Fallout 6 came out recently, or in fact the new series of the Walking Dead is out now.

Anyway, I was just doing a review of stock in the store as I’ll have to replace a few of the items I’ve sold, and I realise due to my obsession with all things horror, I do have quite a few Halloween related items in the store. So, I’m going to shamelessly list a few of them!

Zombie GoodiesZombie Goodies

Kindle, eReader, tablet and iPad covers, tea cosies, mug cosies and hats.

Skull GoodiesSkull Goodies

There are Kindle, eReader, tablet and iPad covers, plus mug cosies and hats (adult and child).

Pumpkin Tea Cosy

Jack o’Lanterns

We’ve got Jack o’Lantern tea cosies in the shop. These can also be made as hats, Kindle eReader tablet or iPad covers.

Just use this form to request a custom item.

Halloween mixed
We also have lots of clothes in the online shop that would be suitable for Halloween or even on the run up to Christmas.

There are lots of different sizes too. Have a look around and see what you like!

All of these, and more, can be found in  our online shop on eBay.

Yesterday was market day!

Barton's Sunday MarketYesterday we did our first stall at NOT the Camden Market in Beeston near Nottingham. They run on the first Sunday of every month and last month we went to have a look around, liked it, so decided to do our first ever stall there.

I knew that it would be different to our eBay and Etsy shops, so I wasn’t sure what stock to take, so had to take quite a mixture of goodies. This meant quite a lot of trips to and from the car, but it was worth it to see what things people liked at this market, rather than on the online shops. I also took along some new things that I hadn’t even tried online yet.

Well, we sold a few things and took a few orders, spoke to some lovely people, and made some new stallholder friends. It was also encouraging to have a few people say that their daughters would love the clothes we have and would bring them next time or point them in the direction of our online stores.

Also, we were asked a number of times if we would be at the next event as folks were already starting to think about Christmas pressies – we’d better get cracking on more Christmas stock!

Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market Quirky Purple stall at Barton's Not the Camden Market

To eBay or not to eBay? Or Etsy is the question…

I’ve been running my online shop on eBay for a little while now. The good thing about eBay is that you have a lot of traffic. If you get the price, the description and the product right, people will find it and hopefully buy it.

The eBay auction side of things really helps to drive sales, and also helps to guide people into your shop. Also with a shop you can lay things out reasonably well with quite limited skills. You can also try to get people to add your shop as a favourite or sign up to your newsletter. At least you can let people know what’s new in your shop – that’s if you can get them to sign up!

eBay is great in that you get all the things you need to set up an online shop, all the payment side, all the reminders and they act as a ‘big brother’ to sort of disputes.

Feedback is good to help enhance your reputation as an online seller. 100% good feedback not only looks good, but also lets your customers know that your products are good and the delivery times and prices are good. The problem is that the feedback is more on the side of the buyer rather than the seller. If you had a poor customer (which if you’re on eBay, you will have from time to time) you can never give constructive feedback. Where as customers can give positive, neutral or negative feedback.

Aside from all these good things about eBay, there is a big elephant in the room. As a small seller it actually costs a lot. I find a large portion of any profit I make, is fed back to eBay, as shop costs, listing costs, and selling costs.

So, I’ve been investigating options.

This is where Etsy comes in. As I sell mainly vintage or handmade, Etsy actually fits the bill quite nicely for me.

I set up a new shop on Etsy really easily and I’ve listed some of my more premium stock. There’s no charges for an Etsy shop, unlike eBay. Also the listing costs seem cheaper, but I need to look at the financials on this over a couple of months. The listings last for longer too – 4 months as opposed to the eBay length of up to 30 days before renewal.

I quite like the ‘feel’ of Etsy. It’s more like a community and you can start to build up circles.

It’s early days, but I haven’t sold anything on Etsy yet. I have had a few people add some items or my shop as favourites. During the couple of weeks I’ve had an Etsy shop, I have been selling items on eBay, thought mainly from my auctions. But, like I said, the auctions do drive more sales.

Here are the two shops:
eBayQuirky Purple eBay Online Shop
EtsyQuirky Purple Etsy Online Shop

I’m going to try both out, side by side, for a couple of months to see which works best for me.

Has anyone else had experience of switching between these two? Which worked best for you an why?

Reworking, customising, fading and studding

I do like to mooch around the garden centre looking for plants that are a bit sad and neglected, and usually in the bargain bucket. I like to buy them, build them up and pop them in the garden or allotment. Most of my garden is stocked with bargain rack plants – and my garden is blooming nicely thank you!

I tend to also like mooch around charity shops and look through the rails to look for odd little items that look a bit sad and neglected. I like to try and think what I can do with them to revive them and make someone want them again.

Well I’ve been working my was through my pile and seeing what I can do with them. I posted an article a little while ago about reworking an old shirt and I’ve been doing some similar things to some other shirts.

Below is what I’ve done with a few shirts – mainly cutting and studding:Reworked and customised shirts at Quirky Purple

Here’s some of the cut of jeans/shorts that I’ve been working on – these have been cut, bleached, and studded:Reworked and customised denim shorts at Quirky Purple

Here’s a few skirts that I’ve recently customised – these have been studded mainly:Reworked and customised skirts at Quirky Purple

It’s quite nice seeing what they actually become as I don’t always know exactly what I’m going to do, and it kind of evolves as I work with the garment.

I’m always on the look out to try new things to try so I’d be interested to hear of any new projects I could try!

These reworked, customised items are available in our Quirky Purple Online Shop – happy shopping!