The Start Up Files is a series that aims to find out where good ideas come from and how they happen. Each fortnight we chronicle the journey of someone who brought their idea to life through the Renew Adelaide program. In this article, we chat to Amy Read from vintage clothing boutique The Lion the Witch Vintage.
Since she was thirteen, Amy Read has loved vintage shopping. Growing up in the south of England she would catch the train into town and go hunting for treasure in op shops and vintage stores. As she explains, the number one rule of vintage shopping is if you like something you have to get it because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Years later when she was living in London, her collection of vintage clothing had grown to the point where she had more than she could wear. Not wanting to give up her passion of vintage shopping, she started a stall in London’s thriving vintage market scene.
“It gets to the point where you buy so much stuff because you enjoy doing it, but you can’t hold on to all of it. It’s good to be able to buy and know that it’s going to go to someone else. I don’t have to keep it but it’s too good to leave.”
When Amy moved to Adelaide she found the vintage market scene was different to what she was used to in London. It was a lot smaller which meant she couldn’t do it full time.
She had the idea to start her own store when she discovered the Renew Adelaide program. The perfect retail space was being offered rent-free, the only problem was- applications closed in two days. After a mad dash to the finish line, she managed to submit an application and found out she was successful just a few days later.
“As soon as I got inside here my mind went crazy with all the things I could do. I liked the idea that there could be two different feeling spaces.”
Amy designed The Lion the Witch Vintage’s space to make it comfortable for people who weren’t necessarily familiar with vintage fashion. Inspired by the room divider trend of the 70s, the store is set up in a way where shoppers can browse in privacy and avoid the daunting feeling of being the only person in the store.
When curating her stock, Amy focuses on current fashion and often sells items that are the original versions of today’s trends. Rather than ordering in bulk, she personally selects every item of clothing sold in the store. This means the customer is more likely to find something they like without having to go through the exhausting process of sifting through overstuffed racks.
“Everything you see in here is something that I like and that I think other people might like to actually purchase.”
Amy sources all her vintage clothing from Europe which means making several trips a year. A lot of her clothing comes from vintage wholesalers, purchasing from which is almost like an extreme sport that involves diving into cages filled with thousands of similar t shirts, competing against other buyers to get the good find.
“The whole thing I love about vintage shopping and op shopping is finding the gem”.
The Lion the Witch first opened the door of its Frome Street store in 2016 where it can still be found today.
View this post on Instagram
So much vintage goodness in store now. #handpicked #southaustralia #adelaide #thelionthewitchvintage #tltwv #fashionrevolution #adelaidevintage #fromestreet #vintagestore #womensvintage #womensfashion #womensstyle #adelaidefashion #mensfashion #mensvintage #vintage #vintageclothing #reclaimed #recycle #reuse #sustainability #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion #supportsmallbusiness #slowfashion #supportlocal #adelaidebusiness #dressvintage #shopvintage #vintageshop