Thursday, 23 May 2013

Guest Post: Peta's Vintage Boutique

Lesley's Girls have really enjoyed watching the meteoric rise of PVB magazine, and have loved getting to know Peta through the magazine, her blog and her Facebook page. What was really lovely was meeting her in person when she stopped by our shop in Colchester (bearing in mind she lives in Spain this was a massive surprise!), and when we chatted we persuaded her to do us a guest blog post which the lovely lady was more than happy to oblige us with! So enjoy getting to know more about Peta, the magazine and the marketplace.

PVB by Me!: Peta Coote
Vintage has always had a magical spell over me; something that has pulled at my heart strings throughout my life and made my heart beat that little bit faster. I have always had a rather big obsession with tea cups and saucers along with an intense love affair with history; its tales to tell and wonderful artefacts that hold memories of days gone by have always held a dear spot in my heart. I suppose in many ways it comes as no surprise that I work with vintage every day. 
What exactly is it that I do?
When people who know of me are asked this question the general consensus is “Oh! She’s the vintage girl!” If my friends and family were to be asked I am sure they would tell you quite confidently that I run a small online shop and magazine. Those who work with PVB will say something along the lines of “A promo girl who works very hard at social networking”. But what do I say? Well, I’m a jack of all trades I suppose. I adore vintage jewellery which accounts for the online vintage boutique but what about the rest? I love to help others and I am a very nosey chatterbox too! Through my free online vintage and handmade magazine, blog and PVBMarketplace I am able to promote amazing small independent businesses with an aim to award them with the recognition they deserve for all of the really tough, hard work they put in on a daily basis to achieve their goals.

How did PVB start?
Towards the end of 2011 I found myself with no job, no money and no matter how hard I tried to find a job nothing came along. During this time I was so upset, I had never gone longer than a few short weeks without work since the age of 16 and so I found myself feeling useless and hopeless.

My mum, who I am incredibly close to, showed me a story online of somebody who had started up a business from nothing. My mum and I are very similar in many ways, believing you can do anything that you set your mind to we decided anything was worth a shot, after all what did we have to lose? So, we set ourselves the challenge of creating a successful business from nothing.

To begin with we completed online surveys until we each made £1, the next part of the challenge was to double that pound to £2. I bought a vintage bracelet, cleaned it up and managed to sell it for, you got it! £2.00! Using those two pounds I bought another piece of vintage jewellery, cleaned it up and sold it on, doubling my money once again and so slowly but surely it snowballed and Peta’s Vintage Boutique was born. 

I have always had some kind of etsy or ebay shop on the go from handmade creations to second hand shops ever since being a teen I have always sold something. Over the years I have learnt everything that you shouldn’t do. This is down to doing the wrong thing in many different ways and through trial and error finding what works. It has been and still is a huge learning curve and a lot of hard work but nothing in this life comes for free and if something is worth it, it won’t ever be easy.

At the beginning of April this year, I asked a few different small independent businesses if it would be ok to include them in a one off 10 page publication showcasing my favourite online independent shops. This idea stemmed from my “Pick Of The Week” blog posts. Somehow, word got around and a lot of people wanted to get involved. That “one off” publication turned into the first issue of PVBMag which spanned 100 pages and featured over 50 small businesses. Within the first month of being live it had been read by over 1100 people. 

Whilst putting together what was to be the “Summer” issue of the free online magazine (I had planned to only release one issue per season) I received many emails demanding a monthly issue. Why not? I thought, after all I do love a good challenge! 

Around the same time 3 different people had asked if I could help them set up a vintage or handmade shop and asked for advice on the best way to do this. From this, PVBMarketplace was born. I feature up to 20 handmade and vintage shops on the exclusive marketplace providing a platform for the small businesses to sell their products. I do all of the promotion for each shop personally as well as the advertising via social media, my blog and in PVBMag. Slowly but surely PVBMarketplace is starting to take off, each day more people visit the exclusive online vintage and handmade shops and we’re beginning to show up more and more in search engine results. I have to say, although it is a pain to learn SEO is the best thing I have ever studied in my life! 

I am very picky about who I feature on the blog and marketplace as not only do I believe each and every online business should offer fantastic customer service and quality products but I need to fall in love with the shop applying to be featured. Why? Because if I fall in love with something I become passionate about it. Once I’m passionate about something watch out because I will want to tell the world all about it! That is why I believe it works well as the passion is my drive to promote these fantastic small businesses.

I am currently organising the first Big PVB Giveaway whereby small independent businesses gain further online exposure by working together and offering a prize in the giveaway. Some amazing people are getting involved and I feel so blessed and happy to be a party of the community PVB is becoming. 

Who knows what’s next? I love challenges and believe there is always room to improve and create bigger goals to reach so I am sure another crazy idea will pop out of nowhere and like a whirl wind I will be off!

Many thanks to Peta for this post- please visit her website, like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter for more of Peta's vintage "ramblings, gossip and updates".  Lesley's Girls are also contributing to the big give-away with some goodies, so we'll keep you updated when that is launched.

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