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Friday 4 September 2015

An interview with Gretchen from Bohemian Finds!

Anyone who knows me, will know about my unhealthy obsession with dresses. Nothing makes me feel as good as getting made up and putting on a stunning dress that stands out. Sometimes however it can be a little difficult to find the perfect one. This can be made harder if your a plus size, interested in clothes that aren't in main stream stores or you live in a town with minimal shops.

There are so many vintage inspired brands that I love online, but sometimes I want the whole experience. I want to spend hours in a shop with like minded staff who feel like friends, and rails of dresses calling to me. I want a comfy changing room that I can take my time in to see how my chosen dresses really feel, and I want to leave the store feeling I have cast of my old worried and warn look and replaced it with a new bright and cheerful one.

So as you can imagine I am beyond happy that in Northampton I have found this happy place, our very own little Vintage inspired clothing store. I have had a number of delightful experiences at Bohemian Finds. I now love to visit not only to shop but also to see the beautiful Gretchen and her lovely staff.

Bohemian Finds is not only about shopping its about confidence building, friendship making and bringing a smile to peoples faces. Gretchen is just the perfect lady to do this, Why not read our interview and you can see this for yourself.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself and your life before Bohemian finds? 

For as long as I can remember, I’d always dressed different to everyone else. Whilst others wanted to fit in….i wanted to stand out and purposely wore things that clashed…. I’d scour the second hand shops looking for some little gem that no one had…. I left school at 17, dabbled in many careers, raised a family….but clothing always remained close to my heart.

What inspired you to start up a Vintage Inspired Clothing Store? 

I guess I reached a certain age and thought it’s now or never. As Lucille Ball once said…. “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done, than regret the things I haven’t!” Actually when I first opened, I sold more original vintage, however, although the clothes were appreciated by all, the sizes were tiny and so many customers were left disappointed. I love the quality and cut of the 40’s & 50’s Vintage Inspired clothing today and with many brands to choose from, I can cater from a UK size 6 to a curvier 26 in some styles.

Who is your ultimate fashion style icon? 

I love Vivienne Westwood’s bold and evocative stance on the catwalk and Helen Bonham-Carter’s gothic and quirky poise .Of course Audrey Hepburn is up there along with the Hollywood favourites such as Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe.

How do you source out the pieces you sell?

I could spend my whole life sourcing for new brands and am always on the look out for something new, but luckily I get to visit a trade show twice a year, to see the new and exciting Seasonal ranges from Hell Bunny, Voodoo Vixen, Banned and many others…

How would you describe your own style and do you have a favourite brand? 

Well my son said to me recently…..”Mum, I wish you would dress like other Mums!” I have no intention of conforming to middle age yet and wear whatever I feel comfortable in. That could be a pair or jeans and biker boots one day, a full swing 50’s dress with all the accessories or some hippy and Boho little number.. I love to mix old and new and don’t believe you have to spend a fortune to look great.

What if your favourite era for womens fashion and for mens? 

Of course I love the 40’s & 50’s but particularly adore the clothing of the 1920’s era. The cloche hats were so stylish hats and if you’ve seen Angelina Jolie in ‘The Changeling’ you will know what I mean.
Men always look great in Jeans….but throw on a vintage velvet jacket and a cravat round the neck and I’m swooning. We do a small selection of Men’s Clothing in store, however most of our customized clothing can be found in a “Most Marvellous Place to Shop”

What do you like best about your job? 

I love never knowing who will come in….the stories I get to hear and the satisfaction of finding that perfect outfit for whatever the occasion might be.

I love the fact you cater for a variety of different shapes and sizes, was this an important factor for you? 

Most definitely… As women we come in many shapes and sizes. Traditionally the rockabilly era lends itself to the curvier style frames, but look equally as good on a slender figure too. Having the freedom to stock Size 6-26 has extended our target audience and made us a specialist in this field.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement since starting the store? 

I’ll be honest it’s been a huge learning curve…. And mistakes have been made along the way….but I finally think I’ve got the balance right of styles that will sell and are affordable for our target audience.

Recently your shop has expanded to a new store in Bedford. What brought on that decision and what is next for you and Bohemian finds? 

Two years in to building our brand at Northampton, I knew that our brand had a place in the market. Of course there are other online stores that you can purchase your 40’s & 50’s clothing from, but as a woman, I still believe a consumer wants to walk into a shop, feel the fabrics and try on. We have worked hard on building our reputation and take pride in our customer service. As to why Bedford? It is a great little Market Town with a strong connection to Glen Miller and the music of the 40’s. Where do we see ourselves in the futures…. Oxford…maybe Cambridge…we will have to see where the wind takes us.

Thank you to the Lovely Gretchen for letting me interview her, and thank you for reading my post. I highly recommend taking a visit and treating yourself to some beautiful outfits. Also pop by to see some of Bohemian Finds live window displays, which I love modelling at. They provide a great atmosphere for shopping as well as bringing local models and performers together. Bohemian Finds can be found at Market Walk, Northampton NN1 2DP and Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TG.

The Powderpuff Room
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