Aloha my cherrypies! I recently did an amazing photoshoot using some wonderful night gowns supplied by Susie of Wake up Little Susie. I absolutely adore this ladies company as all her nightwear is so beautiful! So I thought I'd do a little interview with Susie to find out about the woman behind the magic!!
I love your business Wake up Little Susie, what inspired you to start it?
Thank you! Well, I’m a lifelong lover of vintage stemming from getting into 1950s & 1960s music at an early age & everything that followed on so I have always collected vintage clothing for myself, and around five years ago when the idea of vintage fairs started to really take off in Norfolk & when I was going through a spell of being desperately bored in my day job, I was looking for a creative outlet & decided to give it a go myself. I couldn’t have done it 20 years ago as I would have wanted to keep everything, but after a long time of collecting together with my husband Simon (who is able to express his love for vintage through his artwork!) we have a house crammed with stuff so now I am able to still enjoy searching out goodies, but am happy to pass them on to other fans! My first vintage fair was brilliant & it took off well, so I ran it as a sideline alongside my full time work until I was made redundant in December 2014 – while this was a massive shock to the system, it has given me the chance to make a real go of my vintage business.
Where can people buy your gorgeous nightgowns from?
Well, I can be found at vintage fairs and events all around Norfolk, including wedding fairs where I have lovely stalls of nothing but vintage nightwear & lingerie, which looks so lovely when it’s all displayed together!
For anyone who’s not local, I also sell online from my Etsy shop ( www.etsy.com/shop/WakeUpLittleSusies ) where I list as much as time allows, and nightwear fans can also check out my Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/WakeUpSusie ) or follow me on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/wake_up_susie ) for news of what’s for sale and where I can be found next.
I also occasionally host my own Vintage Nightwear Parties in small intimate venues where you’ll find an evening of cocktails, music, fab decorations, nibbles and of course LOTS of nightwear to browse and for sale! These have proved really popular and I’m looking to hold more exclusive nightwear evenings and boutique pop-up sales in 2016.
What do you love about vintage nightwear?
When I started my vintage business in 2010, I added ‘Specialising in Vintage Nightwear’ on my business cards at the very last minute as a bit of a whim, not really knowing how it would work out – in the stock I had been collecting up for my first fair there were some nice bedtime pieces, and it is something I’ve always loved myself from twirling around in full length nighties as a little girl, to falling in love with 1950s cute PJs and glamorous gowns as a teenager!
After wondering if it would work, I quickly found that I was able to source out lovely nightwear really easily for some reason (I’m like a magnet to it!) and because there are a lot of very good vintage dealers in my area, I also quickly found that it served me very well to have my own unique selling point and it didn’t take long before collectors & dealers started to associate me with nighties and the idea caught on and blossomed really well.
Growing up with a love of all things ‘50s, I think the combination of cute & sexy found in so many of the night garments that I love, like the lovely Baby Dolls Nighties, really epitomises fashion in this decade.
I also love the challenge of finding new ways to market vintage nightwear and like to plan photo shoots around different ideas such as the 1950s slumber party, nightwear as daywear, nightdresses as festival dresses and so on.
Also, I like pretty things.....
What would you say draws you to vintage?
I was first drawn to vintage clothing as a young teenager when I fell in love with 1950s and 1960s Rock ‘n Roll music which I became obsessed with from listening to my parent’s records, and also from the popular culture around when I was growing up when we were lucky to be influenced by the likes of ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Grease’. A passion for the music of an era then led to wanting to wear the clothing from that time too, and getting more & more interested in everything about the time from cars and movies to art and culture. This has stayed with me all my life and developed over the years and I now appreciate fashion from all eras, although I am still a 1950s girl at heart in my own look! Nowadays it’s lovely to see so many new people getting interested in vintage clothing for all different reasons, but for me the root will always be my love for Rock ‘n’ Roll music and being part of that music scene as I grew up, and naturally that’s how I met my husband Simon, also a Rock ‘n’ Roll fan and now a lover of vintage clothing from various decades.
I think I have also always had a desire to be different and individual, and having a vintage look is a great way of expressing myself creatively too.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
I wanted something to stand out & that people would associate with me, and being blessed with a very Rock ‘n’ Roll name (thanks Mum & Dad!) it made sense to incorporate ‘Susie’ into it somewhere & my hubby Simon actually hit on ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, of course from the 1957 Everly Brothers song which ties it back to my Rock ‘n’ Roll roots, and as it turned out, also fits in very well with the idea of waking up wearing fabulous nightwear! So perfect all round.
What do you love most about the vintage scene?
Currently, I think it’s the diversity of it nowadays that I love, now that the idea of wearing vintage is not necessarily tied to music scenes people seem more comfortable with wearing any kind of vintage that they want, looks from any decade and in any combination – I love fashion in general so it’s nice to see people mixing things up and combining vintage with modern clothing too to get a unique look. I always love to see people being individual and it’s lovely to see that developing a vintage look can give some an identity and confidence that maybe they didn’t have before, and of course anything that brings people together is great! I have made LOTS of great friends by being involved with the vintage scene.
You sell a lot of different types of nightwear, such as gowns and bed jackets do you have a favourite?
That’s a tough one....I really love the cute, pretty bedjackets (which sell very well) but in terms of what I tend to wear myself, I do love a cute pair of PJs! (and yes I sometimes work in them...) I have to say I love it all though, from the cute & frothy to the elegant & glamorous pieces.
What are you plans for Wake Up Little Susie in 2016?
2015 was my first year of Wake Up Little Susie being my sole income and gave me the time to try lots of different things, now a new year has started I’m really thinking about where to go with it in terms of what works and of course what I enjoy and I think 2016 will see me at less vintage fairs, but organising more of my own events such as pop-up sales and evening Nightwear Parties – I organised a big fashion show last year with a friend who deals in vintage wedding dresses ( www.the-wedding-shed.co.uk ) which was really hard work but went really well, and I’m getting the bug for event organisation! I can also see myself gradually heading away from selling general vintage (I do sell daywear and homeware as well!) and concentrating more on the nightwear and lingerie aspect, sourcing out really special pieces and coming up with new ways of showcasing it. I like the idea of showing collections in fashion shows, and I also hope to concentrate more on my online activities ( www.wakeuplittlesusie.co.uk ) which will include working with different models & photographers to get some great images, which is something else I love to plan. So, definitely watch this space as Wake Up Little Susie is aiming for bigger and better! Secretly, I won’t be happy until I have everyone going out in their PJs the whole time....
Coco Von Vintage x