• Jemma Leigh Conway

The Denim Shop

Originally being an unplanned business, The Denim Shop has grown and developed extensively in the 4 and a half years it’s been running. Olivia, the founder of The Denim Shop, worked in retail straight out of uni and after growing to dislike it, she quit one day and found a vintage wholesale supplier the next, describing it as ‘a very strange coincidence but I felt it was meant to be.’

Being a one woman band, she has found it difficult but also so rewarding, ‘I love having my plate full and coming home exhausted! It just means I’ve had a really great productive day and that’s all I can ask from myself haha, i’d rate it an 8/10.’ I asked her how self disciplined she is with deadlines and workloads to which she replied, ‘I have to be! For the first couple of years I was really harsh on myself but I was also so obsessed with selling and building up reviews, that I just never took any time off. It was only in 2019 that I finally moved into a unit and stopped working from home so I had more of a separation and scheduled work hours! I still came home and did more work but at least I did it with a movie on. I don’t know, it’s a work in progress, I love what I do so I will never fully switch off.’

I’m sure when I say that I would find it hard to sell my favourite pieces, a lot of people would agree, especially vintage clothing. I asked the same to Olivia, and she responded that she hasn’t sold her fave pieces before trying them on for herself; perks of the job maybe? After having so many favourites over the years, she can’t choose a specific but had definitely found the quirkier items more appealing after styling them up. Having kept a varsity jacket she found from her first year setting up The Denim Shop, she recently sold it and she says she has definitely kept some of the Levi pieces over the time (a no brainer there!). She then goes on to say that one of the best things in the vintage industry is everyone appreciates the rarity in the things found and sold, so they know they can always find new loving homes for items. I asked Olivia if any other online shops, vintage or otherwise, inspire her, with her reply being that sometimes she feels her shop is all over the place, so she appreciates when a store has a more curated selection.

Running your own independent business can be daunting (i can tell you from experience!), but like Olivia says, there are so many things to enjoy about it! Yes it can be tough, but like myself, Olivia loves the challenges. She loves making her own decisions and learning from her mistakes which she says sounds like a cliche, but it’s helped her evolve and grow so much, ‘It’s been interesting growing up with it, I’m not the same person I was when this all started.’

If you’re thinking of starting your own independent business, Olivia states ‘just go for it and give it all you’ve got. It may be slow to start but slow and steady wins the race and you only live once so why not?!’ Being a cliche queen, Olivia says it’s better to try and fail and not try at all.

The Denim Shop is run on 3 different platforms currently, so the online side of the business keeps Olivia busy! While currently in lockdown in the UK still, all future 2020 events look to be cancelled, but keep an eye on her instagram for any updates!

The Denim Shop can be found on the main selling platform, Depop via www.depop.com/thedenimshop

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