In the centre of Bournemouth's vintage quarter resides Lisa Watson's unique shop 'Lil' Vintage', a business brimming with bespoke home wares, upcycled furniture and vintage collectibles.
First launched in April, last week Lisa moved to a more spacious premises - just on the opposite side of the road! The newly re-opened shop has a small workshop at the rear so Lisa can be found working on pieces whilst being in the shop. We caught up with her for five minutes to have a nosy...
BV: Oooh, the new shop looks lovely! Tell us about how you got started;
Lisa: "I had always wanted to sell my upcycled furniture so opening the shop had realised a childhood dream. There is no job I would rather do. I chose Lil' Vintage as the shop name as I take a Little piece of vintage and by redesigning and upcycling bring the piece bang up to date. I have never worked in this industry before but have always upcycled and produced items which I have sold or created for friends and family. I even found some 'upcycled' pieces in my parents attic that I had made as a child!
In the past I have worked in finance and have studied interior design. My mum is very artistic and my dad is the sort of person who can turn his hand to anything - I believe that I have inherited these qualities from them which is why this is the only thing I want to do now I have finally taken the plunge! I chose Pokesdown to sell in as I think my shop suits the area - the quirky, vintage feel of Pokesdown is what appeals to me and I couldn't imagine the shop being anywhere else."
BV: So what is Lil' Vintage all about?
Lisa: "Unusual, individual items that give a wow factor to their home. Pieces that can't be found in any other shop in the local area - pieces that are truly 'one offs'. I love finding original furniture that some people may ignore and then imagining how or in what way it can be changed and improved.
The pieces in my shop cover a wide price range starting from £5.00 through to £190 for the larger pieces. The price is dependent on the original cost and the amount of time that I have spent upcycling each piece. I try as best I can to keep my prices as reasonable as possible as this is as much a hobby for me as it is a business."
BV: Where do you get your inspiration?
Lisa: "I get my ideas, as cliché as it sounds, from anywhere and everywhere, I can sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and will add it to the ever growing list on my phone of future projects.
My inspiration is a desire to improve or change a piece of furniture that could be classed as 'rubbish' or 'dated' to a lot of people - seeing a piece that looked ready for the tip be transformed into an item which is practical, stylish and gives a wow factor is all the inspiration I need.
My favourite thing about what I do is starting a new project - seeing the idea from my mind come into fruition gives me a genuine feeling of contentment."
BV: Talk us through a typical day in the life of Lil' Vintage...
Lisa: "A typical day starts with the school run and walking my pugs. If its not an open day in the shop I will be in my workshop or sourcing new items, auctions, internet, bric-a-brac shops etc - I would then be busy sanding down, painting and creating the pieces.
I always have 3-4 items at various stages of completion so am always busy. If I am in the shop I really enjoy interacting with the customers, being able to discuss and accommodate various customer requests is one of my favourite things about Lil' Vintage."
BV: What advice would you give shoppers new to the world of vintage and upcycled?
Lisa: "My advice to anyone new to shopping in the Vintage/Secondhand/Upcycled area is to buy the pieces you fall in love with. I have learnt myself that leaving a shop to 'think about it' only to come back to find it is sold is upsetting - the pieces you find within this category are generally one offs completely different to shopping on the high street - so if you love it buy it!"
BV: Any goodies in your shop at the moment that might make a great Christmas pressie?
Lisa: "Ideal Christmas presents from Lil' Vintage would be the upcycled candelabras, handbags made from gents ties, or upcycled coasters. But I'd like to think that anything from Lil' Vintage would be great under your Christmas tree!"
BV: ....and what plans do you have for Lil' Vintage's big future?
Lisa: "This year my main objective was to get the shop up and running and to complete the website - 2013 will be the year in which I start taking Lil' Vintage to the vintage fairs and markets. Really trying to get our name out there and being able to sell more items from my website are my hopes for next year."
Visit Lil' Vintage at 871 Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, Boscombe. Opening hours are:
Weds & Thurs: 10.30 - 14.45 / Fri: 10.30 - 13.45 / Sat: 11 - 17.30
Tel: 07983 428477
Images by NIcki Grainger