An interview with Angelique, founder of TopVintage Boutique and Vintage Diva clothing, about strong women, being a female business owner and – of course – her wonderful, vintage inspired fashion.
Die deutsche Version des Beitrags findest du hier: Interview mit Angelique von TopVintage Boutique.
All of us living the vintage lifestyle absolutely love the feminine, classy looks of the ladies in the 30s, 40s or 50s. We love how elegant gentlemen dressed during this time, how much people appreciated what they owned – whether it was fashion, furniture or even food.
At the same time we are aware that women’s position in society was extremely hard in the past. Today we are wearing 40s and 50s looks while we are sitting in offices of big companies, studying at university or going out to parties with our friends. But the women’s perspective in the past was mostly made of learning to cook, getting married, having babies and serving their husbands. They had no rights to vote, study, and never even could dream of having an own business.
A photo of the beautiful 40s inspired Vintage Diva Cherie dress*, designed by Angelique. Pictures by wonderful Gina Marry. I am wearing a headpiece be Seegang Berlin* and Earrings by Bow & Crossbones, the gloves are vintage.
We honour and appreciate the past times, but live modern attitudes and morals. One woman that is an absolute idol to me regarding women power, retro fashion and leading a successful business is Angelique from Topvintage Boutique*. Angelique started her business in 2008 and now is one of the most successful women in retro fashion in Europe. Then she made her dream come true and founded her own business label, Vintage Diva Clothing.
“We like to empower women: “You are important, you are unique and you are beautiful!” is the message.” Angelique
I had a lovely interview with her about her beginnings, her personal style and some tips for ladies who’d like to go their own ways. Alongside the interview I am showing you some wonderful pictures wearing the Vintage Diva Cherie dress*, shot by photographer Gina Marry.
Dear Angelique, you started your business selling vintage designer boots. This all came after a burnout and your search for a new career path. I am so impressed you speak about this! As I am fighting depression myself and have been talking about this in public, I see how many people have similar struggles. Ladies like you are role models for others who are trying to discover their purpose. How did the decision to found your own business change your life?
Thank you! Well… it changed my life big time. TopVintage* became a very big part of my life. Officially I started TopVintage on April 1st (I like this date!) 2008 so almost 9 years ago. And it is hard to tell: What didn’t change? The most important thing is: it makes me really happy to do every day what I like and what I am good at. I was so fed up working in an office… And starting my own business is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. It is not easy. It needs a lot of courage and hard work and I believe it is not the best choice for everyone. It is not for the fainthearted!
I learned so much the last few years, not only about the fashion industry, about other people, but also about myself. I believe being a business woman is a calling to me. I am able to express my talents which I believe God gave to me. It is so satisfying to me… You must know, I haven’t had a great childhood and I hardly ever heard (and therefore believed) that I was good at anything… so I come from a very different place and it makes me very humble to be in the place in which I am now.
And as I also say on my website: “I cannot express my gratitude in enough words for the fact that I, just a girl who once almost believed she wasn’t capable of anything anymore, can establish all this together with others. All glory to God!”
What would you like to say to women who are too anxious to start their own business and who are too afraid to fail?
It is very popular to say: Follow your heart and just do it! But you also have to be wise and take your time to prepare everything: read everything you need to know, talk to professionals, do your maths and ask yourself: in what way does my business stand out from other businesses?
Doing what you love is one thing, making money is another. If you prepare yourself and you take the step to start your own business, then don’t be discouraged too easily: it takes time and a lot of guts, but you won’t regret it if you can do the things you love with a lot of passion.
TopVintage is the leading retro clothing shop in Europe. You seem to know exactly what is making women happy. What would you say is the essence of a good business and especially the essence of TopVintage?
The essence is: you have to love your customers and you have to place yourself in their position – at least that is what I do. So the way I like to be treated as a person, as a customer, as a woman: I make sure we treat our customers in this way. We also put a lot of time and effort in our products: every piece of clothing you see online we tried on ourselves. Is it flattering or not? If not, we will not buy it: clothing has to emphasize a woman’s beauty, not her butt :))
It is also the base of our worldwide community: we love our customers and we love to see them in our clothing. We also like to empower women: “you are important, you are unique and you are beautiful” is the message!
Vintage Diva is a dream come true for you. After a long time you are finally starting your own fashion label. What does Vintage Diva Clothing mean to you and how would you describe the look of your garments?
Vintage Diva Clothing means a lot to me. My own fashion label – it was one of my big dreams as a young girl. Building my TopVintage boutique takes a lot of time and energy, so we had to decide what the best time would be to start my own label.
I believe everything you do, you have to do it 100% to make it succeed and it takes a lot of internal organisation and letting go, which I am not that good at, but I am still learning – and 2017 had to be the year to launch it.
I love the old Hollywood era: the movie stars, the feminine looks and the romance. Vintage Diva is inspired by all those strong women from past decades. I love clean strong feminine silhouettes, which emphasize the female body and I like to add a touch of drama to it. Every season one or more pieces are directly inspired by an icon who I admire: our first collection contains the dress Marilyn Monroe wore in the movie Niagara (1953). Of course Marilyn had to be the first icon!
Finally, of course, I would love to know something about your personal style. You sell so many different designs from different eras – which one is your favourite and what clothing makes you feel most comfortable and beautiful?
I am a woman with many style flavours: I really like to dress according to how I feel that day, which means you can see me some days in ultra-tight skinny jeans and other days in a leather pencil skirt with seamed stockings.
I like variety and one of the many perks of living in this era is that you can dress and be like you want to be. My favourite era, however, is the fifties: I love the feminine shapes and silhouettes. What I don’t like about the fifties is the position women had, because in those days women got fired when they got married. We are very lucky that our sisters from past times fought for our rights, so you and I can be successful (business) women in 2017 and dress the way we like!
Thank you very much Angelique for your words. It is very important to be thankful for what the ladies in the past decades accomplished so we can live the life we have today. And I think your answers are a great inspiration for all those who are not quite sure whether to follow their dreams and how.
I am wishing you all the best for your amazing business and thank you, in the name of all vintage ladies, for all the beautiful fashion you bring to our homes.
“One of the many perks of living in this era is that you can dress and be like you want to be.” Angelique
Do you ladies also love to shop at TopVintage Boutique and Vintage Diva Clothing, and what are your favourite garments from the shop?
Find more posts about retro fashion and TopVintage looks here:
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