If you could choose only one, what is your favorite vintage item in your closet and why?
November 1, 2010
People You Should Know: Teju Bolaji
It has been so long since I’ve done a People You Should Know interview! Fortunately, the individual I am featuring was well worth the wait. I originally learned about her a couple months ago on one of my favorite websites, The Fashion Bomb (which really is a fabulous website, I suggest all you urban fashionistas out there go check it out!). After reading the feature, I had a few more questions I wanted to ask her so I got in contact with her and set up this interview. I am so excited to share this with you all because not only is she the first girl that I’ve interviewed for a People You Should Know feature, but she and I also share the same passion…vintage clothing! And as if that isn't wonderful enough, she is Nigerian too! I absolutely love seeing fellow Nigerians doing big things so without further ado, here is..
Anyone who knows me and all of you who visit my blog regularly knows that I am an absolute vintage clothing fiend, that is no secret at all. I am so taken by the look of vintage clothing; each piece is truly unique and adds its own flair to any outfit. Before I became a serious thrift/vintage store shopper, I was so frustrated with my wardrobe because I had felt that it lacked that extra “it factor”. You know, that element that sets your style apart from the next person’s. Thankfully, all my thrift purchases have filled up every hole in my closet and have added a whole other dimension to my wardrobe without subtracting a whole dimension from my wallet. Yes, it is definitely safe to say that vintage clothing is one of my many passions but I am certainly not the only person who feels that way. Teju Bolaji is a remarkable young woman who decided to merge her passion for vintage clothing with her business savvy and from this delightful combination Vintage Tartlette, Teju’s travelling vintage store located in London, was born.
What inspired you to start Vintage Tartlette?
A number of things but ultimately it was the fact that I was a shopaholic (I mean what woman isn't) and desperately needed to clear space out in my mum’s house. My mother was in fact the person who suggested I started selling all my unwanted things and told me of a new market in the area. I began doing that every Saturday for over a year week in week out slowly clearing out my wardrobe. Being from East London you see so many different people and styles and I noticed there was a huge market for vintage in the area so started "people stalking" i.e. watching what people wore and decided to try source clothing more like that and sell them on the stall and Vintage Tartlette was born.
How do you go about accumulating the clothes for Vintage Tartlette? Do you buy all of them yourself?
I have been building the collection for almost a year now. All items are handpicked by myself, I make it a point to pick items by hand as I feel it adds a personal touch and I only select things I feel my customers will like because I’m always thinking of them :-). I go sourcing all over the place, anywhere a bargain is going.... I mainly collect my items from London but I’m planning a trip to California soon so hoping to get some thrifting done and find some gems. I think my first vintage purchase EVER was actually from a store in LA, it was a pair of gold 80s snakeskin heels... still wear them today and they still give me that great feeling.
What kinds of pieces can be found in Vintage Tartlette?
The rails are filled with an eclectic mix of items. Being a self confessed disco baby, I must admit there's a lot of sparkle. But besides that, I have items from the 40’s right up to the early 90’s so items to suit different tastes. I’m a fan of patterns and bright colours so many of my items are of that theme as that's usually the first thing I notice when I go sourcing.
What do you love most about vintage clothing?
The pieces have so much attention to detail, it might be something very small but it’s what catches your eye and what makes the item interesting and unique.
I have two (is that allowed?) lol has to be my first ever vintage purchase (the snake skin gold heels) they just remind me of a great time in my life and being in LA (my second favorite place besides London). I have this multi colour Frank Usher jacket that I absolutely adore, it just gives me an instant hourglass figure because its cut so well. I’m yet to find that special place to wear it because it is that “Whoa” and in your face so need to find the right occasion for it.
Can you give 3 quick reasons for those who do not shop in vintage stores why they should?
*You can collect one of a kind pieces that nobody else will be wearing
*Good on the purse strings, you don't have to pay a hefty lot for quality clothes. Clothes made decades ago were made to last hence why we're still wearing them today unlike the clothes made nowadays so if you want quality buy vintage
*Vintage clothes also have a character about them; they always seem to tell a story of some sort
How has Vintage Tartlette been doing so far and what can we expect in the future?
The next big thing for us will be trading on ASOS marketplace and also with developing our own online store. The main goal for the following year is to expand more and take the travelling store to more cities and events around England. We are also branching into menswear (under another label), and we're thinking about our boys too so hoping to do a full launch of the line next year also.
For all my readers in the UK, where can Vintage Tartlette be found?
Because we operate as a travelling store we move around London visiting various vintage events. You can keep updated on our next location by joining the facebook group here: www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=86738738400 or twitter www.twitter.com/VintageTartlete . We are currently working with ASOS marketplace and will selling some of or favorite items online so if you can’t make it to the store physically you can virtually.
It is amazing what a girl with too many clothes in her closet can do! This is just more proof that the possibilities are endless when it comes to starting your own business. One can truly turn anything they love into something profitable. Talking to people like Teju is so inspiring and it causes me to evaluate my interests and to see if I can possible turn something I love into a business. I think that is the main key to success, as long as you are truly interested and invested in whatever you choose to do, failure will not be an option. Next time I am in London visiting family, I will definitely hunt down Vintage Tartlette and stop by! Make sure you join the Vintage Tartlette Facebook group by clicking here and keep your eyes open for the online store opening soon!