Seller Visit: Gone Retro

Jason, founder of one of our biggest vintage boutiques, Gone Retro, spills on setting up a vintage shop and putting a personal stamp on it...

Tell us about Gone Retro! Who, where and when?
Gone Retro started in my bedroom in early 2010 as a bit on the side. I had no money when I arrived back from travelling and became hooked on the idea of selling vintage - I decided to take the plunge and go full-time midway through 2010.

It all came to life when I started selling silk and printed shirts before they were popular! I was importing them from America, hence our strap line 'selling silk to buy the milk', as that's all the business was making back then, enough to buy the milk!

How did your obsession with all things vintage start?
I've always liked old gear! I went to jumble and table top sales with my mum and nan from being about five years old - I used to get sent off with £1 to see what I could find. Even then I'd help my mum and nan find jumpers, and that was 23 years ago! 

Can you tell us what you look out for when buying vintage?
I look for anything that most people hate or don't have the minerals to wear, and then turn it into something more current or stylish.

And what's selling like hotcakes at the moment?
Vintage shirts are still our strongest seller, but our own brand sheer front t-shirts and long sleeve tees also seem to be doing the trick!

You rework a lot of your vintage pieces - tell us about the process:
We rework as much as we can. We take a shirt and can make three items from it, so every item includes a piece of history.

Tell us about your typical working day:
Gone Retro is like a little factory as a lot of our stuff is made to order, and we do our best to get it handmade orders out ASAP.

We have great team - somebody is always in early to get a head start on the day. Between us, orders are picked, packed and sent, plus we spend as much time as possible designing new lines and getting our stock photographed and live on Marketplace. Of course, we also spend time looking after the dog!

Tell us about your store! Where is it and how have you made it your own?
Our shop is in Stony Stratford, a town about ten minutes from the centre of Milton Keynes. It fits the bill pretty well, as the building is 600 years old.

It was an absolute mess when I moved in - I slept in the shop for the first few weeks on a sofa as I didn't have time to sort out the rest of the building. It's difficult, but I've tried to give it a old school look with the check floor and brick wallpaper, which I may have got a bit carried away with as it's everywhere aside from the bathroom! 

I built everything in the shop, including the counter. We get a lot of comments from people about how cool the shop is. We have three rooms and we try to make each of them different. One is full of vintage, another houses our own brand, and the front room is a total mix, but we are very quickly running out of space!

We'd love it if you could share a few top tips for hunting down quality vintage!
I just buy things I would wear, and the fact that people like them is overwhelming!

Scroll through the latest listings from Gone Retro in their Marketplace Boutique