Saturday 3 December 2016

Dinner party conversation leads to online platform for vintage items being launched

Published 12/06/2016 | 02:30

James Loftus, Sarah Byrne and Colin Saunders are the brains behind Open For Vintage
James Loftus, Sarah Byrne and Colin Saunders are the brains behind Open For Vintage

Three style-conscious entrepreneurs have launched an online platform specialising in vintage clothes, accessories and jewellery . . . and it all started with a dinner party conversation about 'future collectibles.'

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James Loftus, Sarah Byrne and Colin Saunders are the brains behind OpenForVintage.com which went live less than four weeks ago.

The website currently showcases a collection of over 1,500 unique and pre-loved pieces sourced from leading vintage specialist boutiques in Ireland and the UK and in the next few months, will be exhibiting pieces from stores in France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The product offer extends from affordable to luxury fashions, with rare Givenchy and Nini Ricci accessories for under €180, to investment pieces from Chanel and Hermes. The most expensive piece on the site is a diamond Rolex watch in solid platinum - and it costs €94,000.

CEO Colin Saunders says: "Open for Vintage not only gives consumers a new destination to shop online, it's helping small businesses to grow their audience and improve sales.

"Ecommerce is tough and we want to share our expertise with the boutiques who we have carefully selected based on quality, variety and uniqueness. We are on track to showcase pieces from more than 70 boutiques of this calibre by the end of the year."

A number of the boutiques featured on the website are family run businesses and include the highly respected Circa Boutique in Fulham, London, Zeus in Bath, Dirty Fabulous run by sisters Kathy Sherry and Caroline Quinn on Dublin's Wicklow Street and the award winning Miss Daisy Blue run by Breda Casey in the English Market in Cork City .

Open For Vintage raised €319,000 seed investment from retail and fashion experts in the UK and Asia, and were selected to showcase at Web Summit in Dublin last year.

Colin (33), from Dublin, has a wealth of international and retail experience having spent seven years in Beijing and the last three in London. He was responsible for developing House of Fraser's international ecommerce business and held a variety of eCommerce and Operations roles in Tesco's international business.

Sarah (32), from Carlow, is a TCD law graduate who never fancied the corporate world. As a graduate in London in 2006, she couldn't afford to buy antiques "so instead, I spent all my salary in charity shops on vintage clothing. I started buying and selling as a sideline to my travel job to my friends in pop ups in my house. Colin came to a dinner party the day after one of my sales and that's where the idea for OFV was born," Sarah explained.

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