In the past year we've seen the likes of Che Camille and Made in The Shade shut up shop in Glasgow, and it's looking like Tatty Bon is now suffering the brunt of the recession. While we all love our independent retailers, the high street still offers that fast fashion fix. I sat down with Tatty Bon owner and Merchant City's resident bad ass Lynne Anderson to talk about Tatty Bon, the recession and fighting the good fight in the indie market place.
Bee Waits: First of all - for those not in the know - What is Tatty Bon and what made you decide to open a vintage shop? Could you tell us where the name comes from?
Lynne Anderson:Tatty Bon is an independent boutique based in Glasgow Cross; the heart of Glasgow. We like to think of ourselves as an alternative to the high street. We offer a wide range of handmade/handmade jewellery, hand crafted accessories (bags being a favorite) as well as customised clothing (all recycled from second hand & vintage garments) and a good bit of vintage to boot! As for the name.....well, as many now know I'm sure, I named the shop after my cat, Tatty Bon-bon. It seemed fitting as I'm a crazy cat lady & she's now the shops mascot and is sometimes to be found in the shop.
BW: Who is the typical Tatty Bon shopper.
LA: I like to think we don't have a 'typical'. We get such a mixed bag of people in. Of course we get the our fair share of stylish students in, but we also get their mums! I pleased that the shop is such that anyone can walk in & feel comfortable.
BW:There seems to have been a backlash against the high street, yet with fast fashion outlets like Primark - how do indie shops make themselves stand out aside the competitors?
LA: Well, attitudes do seem to be changing towards the high st. I think that we've all experienced that awkward moment when you turn up at the pub and see someone in the same dress as you! That's not going to happen when you buy vintage or customised clothing, you know your a one off. I think it's a similar feeling you get when you by bespoke designer items, but without the price tag. You can still buy current styles in vintage/customising shops, fashion is ever evolving and always influenced by the past, so you know you can be fashionable, stylish & there's no chance of anyone turning up in the same outfit as you!
BW: As an indie retailer what have you found to be the challenges with running your own business?
LA: The recession has hit the whole country hard and when we look to the rest of the world so many are either the same of have it worse. In this kind of climate, it's always the little guys that are hit first, and often the worst, especially for a young business like myself.
As the shop is young we're still building the brand, looking at what weaknesses are & trying to build on our strengths. We're always working on building a solid customer base as well as customer loyalty and that's hard to do at the best of time, much less now. People often forget the DIY nature of small business, we don't have the budget and resources that large shops, owned by larger companies, have. It really takes time....
BW: What are the best things about your own business?
LA: I love what I do. I love creating and coming up with new ideas all the time. I think that most of my customers enjoy it too. It's important for there to be options other than the high st giants, the city needs to have the life and vibrancy that we bring to it. It's great to feel a part of that.
BW: You've ran your own series of events in store and are known for the market circuit. How have you found working with other indie retailers and why run events in store?
LA: It's great working with other indie retailers, there's so much variety out there and the people are so nice! I've made a lot of friends doing this, and much of it has been through other retailer/crafters that I've met along the way. we're all small and I think we need to support each other....and it's great to have people to bounce ideas off of. I really enjoy the in-store events. It's giving something back to the customer, some of whom are very loyal and supportive, so I can say thanks with some discounts, cake and a wee tipple, then why not?! It's also a great way to encourage folks who may not normally venture down our neck of the woods down to check out what we have to offer.
BW: What are your top 5 in store picks?
LA: Hmmmmm. Well I LOVE the over sized eagle necklace, I made myself one & I wear it most times when I'm going out. Also, you can't beat the heart scroll necklaces; you can be as sweet or offensive as you like. Express yourself through jewellery you might say. The small winged ones are a particular favorite.
I'm a big fan of bags, esp when you can fit tones of junk in them! So the hand made bags are def in there. They've been really popular & make great gifts.
Another thing I think makes the shop stand out are the hand painted shoes. All ladies love shoes & every pair are a one off. I also have loved plastic animal toys since I was a kind, so the taxidermy for toys range is my new favorite. They're so quirky...and funny.
BW: Do you have a favourite vintage era at all?
LA: Well I love the style of the 40's, especially the late 40's. But I must admit I'm also very partial to 70's sun dresses and print shirts.
BW: So who is your vintage style icon?
LA: Marlene Dietrich!! Marlene forever!! Now that was a woman with style. She was even involved with designing her film costumes. She should've been a designer. Marilyn Monroe is a close second, no one did adorable/sexy like Marylin.
BW: Where can the Tatty Bon shopper get herself/himself some goodies if not Merchant City bound?
LA: We're well represented online too. Log onto tattybon.co.uk for links to Etsy, Folksy as well as the online shop. There's also all our online networking sites such as Facebook, so you can always feel free to chat or even put in a wee sneaky custome request. I'll also be at GWBP Boyroom Blitz this Sunday with a range of mens goodies.Tatty Bon is a great wee shop and it would be a bloody crime to see it shut down. Follow Save Tatty Bon on facebook for updates of in store events or follow @Tattybon on twitter for updates and tweed #savetattybon. Remember sharing is great but buying something would be better. Tatty Bon is based on 61 Parnie Street (next to Static Games...imagine if you're walking to Mono) or online via etsy or folksy or direct from the site here.