British Eccentric Living in a P ineapple Sophie Crocket and her life as a vintage connoisseur
T he Beautiful Dream
Autumn/Winter ÂŁ2.50 Issue no. 136
Living in aPineapple Sophie Crocket owns Pineapple Ice Bucket Retro, a vintage shop in the small town of Brockenhurst in the New Forest. An odd location for such a shop, she has had a mixed reaction from the sleepy village. Surrounded by her eclectic wares she talked to me about how it all started and the joys of doing something she loves every day. How did you come to run your own vintage shop? Well, I’ve always been passionate for vintage, I used to wear it in college and get laughed at quite a lot because of my odd combination choices, but I started by selling my own vintage clothing that I didn’t want any more on good old ebay and then it progressed to going out and finding my own things to sell and turning into a business basically. How long have you been here? About six months, so I’m still quite new but I’m starting to get some regulars in which is good. At the moment its that awkward point to turn the summer into winter stock so I’m deciding what to put out which is a challenge. I don’t want all the colourful pretty things to go and get brown coats and things in so I’m leaving some pretty things out. Why ice buckets? The ice bucket thing. I wanted an item that was synonymous with an era so I knew I would always sell that item which is true. I sell more pineapples
than anything else so, good old ice buckets synonymous of the 60’s and 70’s. It’s the ultimate kitsch item as well and I love my kitsch. Where do you get your stock from? Ooh trade secret! You can be sketchy of you want! Well wherever I can really. I know a couple of vintage dealers that are reasonable that I get stuff from and actually I hate saying this but most of it comes from ebay now. I wish it could be the way it used to be and find everything at car boot sales for 50p and everybody would be happy but it just doesn’t happen. You just don’t find anything and if you think you’ve found something you can guarantee it’s going to be high street. Where do you shop yourself? Oxfam! I love all the charity shops but this place doesn’t exactly make a lot of money so I’m on a strict budget. I love all the stuff that is vintage that I’ve bought in to sell and then cant part with which unfortunately does happen a lot!
Is your house furnished in a similar style to the shop? I really wish. I have the stuff to do it but unfortunately my other half doesn’t have the same inspiration that I do so we have one room that I’m allowed and I’m kind of creeping out, I’ll wait for him to go to work and then he’ll come back and it’ll all be orange and he wont be able to say anything because it’ll all be done! Have you had a good response from the village? Yes, and no, a lot of village people still give it a wide birth but now we seem to be getting the ladies who lunch brigade in now so that’s quite good, certainly in the summer when they’re feeling more adventurous. Do you enjoy your job? Yes, I absolutely love it. Doesn’t exactly make a lot of money but I love it and as long as I can keep feeding everybody its worth it completely. What sells best? Well, as I’ve really only had a full summer season I can only go on what’s been selling then but defiantly pretty summer dresses, 50’s summer dresses in particular have gone well. I bought one from you myself! Exactly, just goes to show. I did a massive experiment buying various bits and different styles from different eras just to see what was going and it was definitely 50’s summer dresses, but the difficulty is as always the sizing. You cant get a reasonable size generally, most of them the waists are usually in a different place for modern women so sometimes I can do
some alterations and things and to be fair most of the decent sizes I keep! What do you do with your days here? I don’t stop, its mad, at the moment its choosing things to go on the website. I’m aiming by Christmas to have everything here on the website, so it’s a hell of a task. Keeping on top of orders, if I have five minutes I’ll be on ebay. Its difficult when there’s so many areas of the shop that need to be stocked, I was finding it very difficult, I don’t go to as many car boot sales anymore because its such an overload looking for everything I stock, my mind just completely overloaded. Would you consider your shop successful? Yes I think, basically if I could find everything from car boots which is how I started I would be a financial success, but as its going it’s ticking over. Really really good response from everybody that walks through the door so I think its successful from that side of things, a real enthusiasm from people, just a passion which is really strange, its lovely but its strange because everything is hand picked by me so its all completely my taste so to find that many people that share my taste is quite strange. Do you have any plans to expand? Well, the thing is this shop’s only got a three year lease and then it’s being pulled down so basically I’m going to have to re locate somewhere anyway, I’d love to, I don’t want to stop, my ultimate goal was always to have a shop and I’ve finally done it so
Picture Credit: Georgia Weaving
For me its all about looking individual so as far as I’m concerned you might as well have something that really looks vintage rather than something from the high street
people in and god have a website, you have to have a website. For me the pineapple thing really helped because I think I’m above ebay on google so if somebody searches for one they will come to me and find, hopefully a wealth of excitement on my website. What inspires you to do what you do? Why do you keep going? I can’t stop! I just love it, I love everything about vintage and retro, I love the colours and the designs and I love discovering new fabrics and new styles and ceramics. Its just continuous really, every day I find out something I didn’t know yesterday.
W ea v i n g
I don’t want to give up on that. There should be a vintage shop in every city, there really should and I’m not just saying that because I’m in the business but with the fashions today everything’s going towards vintage and lets face it always will go back to vintage in one way or another so everywhere should have one. Some of the students over the road seem to be really scared of it, they don’t want to stray from what they’re told to wear and what they’re told to do and you can see some of them going past and gazing in but they wont stop they just keep going so there’s very few who will actually dare to wear the real thing which is actually really sad. They’re still fresh out of school. If I were close to a university I would be over run with students! What do you think is the best thing about buying vintage? Its got to be being unique, very rarely you will see someone wearing the same thing and even if you do they will have put it together in a different way with different accessories. Everybody has the opportunity to look different and stand out from the crowd and from the home ware side of things prices are going up so why buy MFI when you can buy the real thing and actually make some money out of it eventually. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own vintage shop? Just do it really, basically don’t expect to make a lot of money out of it unless you find a fantastic location unfortunately that tends to come with a fantastic price tag as well so it’s a bit of a catch 22. Just do it, fill it with stuff that you love and just try and get your name out there as much as possible. Think carefully about how to advertise, where to advertise and just think of gimmicks to get
I don’t want to stop, my ultimate goal was always to have a shop and I’ve finally done it so I don’t want to give up on that 24
Picture Credit: Georgia Weaving
Published on Nov 1, 2010