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  • Ezzy Lacey

Being Beautiful and Saving the Planet

Bell St Vintage is a wonderful clothes shop in the heart of Sawbridgeworth.

We all want to do our bit to help slow down the production of CO2 in our atmosphere, and Jo, owner of Bell St Vintage, is doing her bit to help.

How does it work?

Jo buys vintage clothing and accessories (1920s-00s) to save clothes from landfills and give them a new lease of life. She buys small quantities of stock, mostly from individuals or from her own collections, and extensively researches the history of the items to pass on to customers.

Jo's customers are mostly individuals who love vintage and people looking to make more sustainable shopping choices. She also sells to costume departments for theatre, TV, and film.

I interviewed Jo to find out her thoughts...

What is your favourite part about running Bell St Vintage?

My favourite part is sourcing the stock. I love finding unique pieces and finding out any history about them. I love finding new homes for pieces and being able to tell the original owners that their much-loved clothing is being worn again!

What is your favourite part about running your own business?

Aside from the vintage, the most rewarding part of running my own business is working for myself and the flexibility and control that allows over my own time.

How did you get involved in vintage fashion retail? I studied costume design and fine art at university, but I never knew exactly what I wanted to do. In the years after university, I tried lots of different jobs and studied more. I had been collecting vintage and selling on ASOS Marketplace and eBay while working, as a hobby, but I wasn’t sure if I could make it work as a full-time business. The opportunity came up to rent a small shop space in Sawbridgeworth and I thought it was a good chance to give it a go full-time!

What is your relationship with the other businesses in this area?

All the businesses in Sawbridgeworth are very supportive of each other and are always encouraging of new businesses. Recently there have been a number of new businesses opening which is exciting to be a part of; all new business brings new customers to the town and the more variety there is, the more that people will want to visit.

What is your advice for people who are considering setting up their own business?

Make sure it’s something that you are genuinely interested in, as you must be able to motivate yourself. Be as organised as possible, there’s a lot to keep track of and as the business grows it can quickly become overwhelming if you are not on top of everything. Seek advice and support - there are lots of support and mentoring schemes available, especially for young people and start-ups.

If you have something you want to try, go for it, there is space for everyone and you don’t have to be a big business to be successful, think about what you want your working life to look like and start small; just doing what you enjoy and being able to make a living from it will make you successful.'

We don’t all know exactly what we want to do when we are young and it’s ok to try different things, explore your interests and be open to any opportunities that come along. All work experience whether good or bad is valuable in helping us find what we are good at and what we enjoy.’

To support Jo, visit her pages below.

Instagram: @bellstvintage


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