When it comes to vintage shopping, I am an extremely difficult person to impress. I am one of those nostalgia-driven kind of girls, one who thinks of this decade as a ‘fashion-recession’ era, seeking comfort by overloading my Barclaycard with expensive ‘seasoned’ buys, spanning from 1920’s cigarette dresses to 1980’s vintage Reeboks. While roaming through the collections at the Dust PR press day the other week, I came across Roberta della Bona, a fellow Italian young lady who was there to promote Vintage Seekers, an e-commerce website that sells rare vintage treats. I interviewed her about this ambitious project.
Naomi Morello: How did you come up with the idea of Vintage Seekers?
Roberta della Bona: It all happened on a day out at Goodwood Revival -[a classic car event sponsored by Rolex and Vitra that celebrates the heyday of racing at Goodwood between 1948 and 1962] in the Autumn of 2008. Me and my business partner Rob Keylock could sense the connection between cars and vintage fashion. We quickly put two and two together and realized that there was no online platform uniting these categories, so we decided to give it a go ourselves!
Could you briefly describe the website to our readers?
Vintage Seekers brings together 20th century design and collectibles across six categories in a premium lifestyle site. An e-commerce platform and online magazine combined, our aim is to connect the seeker with the sought after.
What kind of products do you offer?
The product mix is in itself unique, taking a very specific timeline (vintage pieces are between 25 and 100 years old) and applying it across six industries (design, collectibles, fashion, wine, watches, motoring). Anything from a first edition book collection to a vintage Airstream to an original 1963 Aston Martin can be found by the connoisseur. We’ve also started an online heritage-focused lifestyle magazine, which brings all of these six areas together. Also currently developing is the ‘Future Vintage’ category, which covers a whole range of products from all our categories that are 0 – 25 years old and set to be the sought-after collectibles of the future.
How important is the internet to your business, how has it helped?
The Internet is our business. We sell niche product and thanks to the internet we managed to reach a targeted consumer based globally, connecting a collector in Hong Kong with a piece sat in a gallery in Holland, or a gift-seeker in Washington with a perfect anniversary present from a supplier in Kent.
Do you see the growing popularity of vintage as a result of the recession?
There has been a growing global demand for vintage products. The economic downturn has generated an increasing interest in nostalgia and heritage, and a reaction against ‘fast fashion’ and other disposable purchases and while independent niche dealers may have the stock, they often lack the digital knowledge or marketing skills to reach a wider audience and capitalise on the new media age.
Since the ‘vintage trend’ has been spreading all over Europe in the past five years, you must have a lot of competition. How do you distinguish Vintage Seekers from other vintage stores/websites ? What makes you special and worth visiting?
First of all, there isn’t another vintage site that covers all these categories under one roof to the same level. We are not a listing site or a portal, but a real e-commerce website, where you can click and buy from anywhere in the world. Also, since we are not a second hand ’shabby-chic’ outlet we don’t see ourselves in competition with many of the so called vintage shops. We have very particular criteria to define and select our items which sets us apart. Everything we sell are investments items, true classics iconic of an era that retain value in time.