Getting to the Bell Bottom of it: The Vintage Vix Interview


Welcome to the first, 'Getting to the Bell Bottom of it,' a blog series, where I get to interview cool people who have fabulous wardrobes and even more interesting lives. Who better to kick things off than with my muse, Vintage Vix. They say don't meet your idols, but if they're anything like Vicky Brearley, I 100% recommend that you do!

My woman crush on Vix started gosh, maybe ten years ago (?!) when I stumbled upon her fabulous blog Vintage Vixon (which you can become addicted to here). As her blogger profile describes she is, a jumble sale-ing, car-booting, skip-diving, charity shopping hedonistic hippy chick in love with life, India and Vintage clothes. She hails from my neck of the woods (West Midlands) and describes her style as Woodstock refugee meets rolling stones groupie with a bit of vintage Bollywood thrown in. There is so much to love! It started with her clothes but my crush on her deepened having read her weekly blog posts about her travels, vintage boutique she takes around UK festivals and her gardening updates! So without further ado, here she is...

Question one: We don't do death row meals here, we do death row If you could only wear one outfit, an outfit that defines your style to end your days in, what would it be and why? 

Death Row it! I think mine would be a vintage Indian silk screen print kaftan which I've worn in India a few times (blue one in the attached photo). I feel like a goddess whenever I wear it, be it at Birmingham airport catching an early morning flight to Greece or having a cheeky all-day session in the pub. I won it on eBay for a song and when I shared it on my blog it turned out that I'd outbid a friend (and long-time blog reader) although we're still mates! 

Question two: Your blog often talks about escaping being a 'corporate whore' and becoming Vintage Vix, can you tell us about the catalyst that inspired that change and how you've come to be living your dream life? 

In a previous existence I trained as a chef and pâtissier and after qualifying was head-hunted and fast-tracked into a management position with the one-time largest contract catering company in the world. For years I lived a double life, a corporate suit-wearing whore by day and party animal by night. I managed a large staff, was solely responsible for a budget of over a million quid, catered for over 2000 people on a daily basis including a fine dining facility for high-ranking MPs, government ministers and royalty and worked over 90 hours a week. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the easiest-going woman in the world so putting on the persona of tough boss by day coupled with being on my feet for over 18 hours at a time with an undiagnosed skeletal deformity nearly destroyed me. At the time I earnt more money than anyone else I knew but hated every minute of my existence and was a nightmare to be around. The bravest and best thing I ever did was to admit enough was enough, clear my desk, resign and reclaim my life. 

Question three: Being self-employed is not for the fainthearted and often comes with challenges, as the owner of Kinky Melon, a retro boutique, can you tell us what's good about being a vintage seller and what's bad about it? 

I constantly bang on about how brilliant it is to be self-employed, I can choose my hours, go on holiday whenever I want and I'm not answerable to anyone (except the taxman!) The bad thing? It's unpredictable. There's no guarantee I'll find good stuff to resell or that people will like/fit into what I'm selling. 

Question four: Leaving the security of full-time employment to pioneer your own dreams of selling vintage, must have been knee-knocking scary, what advice do you have for anyone out there thinking of leaving their jobs to set up a business?  

There's no way I'd ever have become self-employed if I hadn't been lucky enough to pay off my mortgage early and had no other debts and even then, there's been times when we've led a hand-to-mouth existence, often selling belongings to pay bills. Before you jump into the world of self-employment give yourself six months and try to live on as little cash as possible. I soon realised that my monthly trips to the hairdressers, The Guardian, weekly organic veg boxes and splurges in Lush might have been lovely but living my dream and selling vintage clothes at festivals would be a lot lovelier!

 Question five: You used to trade at vintage fairs and eventually jacked that in for festivals, why the move? Can you tell us about your first experience trading at a festival, what that was like? 

Our main reason for discontinuing to trade at fairs is that the ones we did tended to be London-based and we live in the West Midlands. We'd leave the house at 4.30am and were rarely back home before 10pm. We usually booked a double pitch which meant us taking thirty laundry bags of clothes and accessories, a table, two mannequins, a carpet, a full length mirror and six industrial garment rails. These have to be carried from the carpark (often not on the same site as the venue) and often up several flights of stairs. A pitch takes a couple of hours to set up and the same amount of time to take down regardless of how much we've sold.
We're at festivals for a week. We drive onto our pitch, build it and set it up (which usually takes around 8 hours) and then that's it until the festival ends. We live at the back of the shop so can collapse into bed after a 14 hour trading day, not having to spend 3.5hours on the motorway. You mention not budgeting for a festival as you don't expect to see vintage clothes for sale - we (like all professional traders) take card payments as well as cash although ATMs are available on site at most festivals.
I've always loved festivals but was a bit concerned about missing out on the fun by working one but soon realised that it was even better, we talk to thousands of people, have the festival to ourselves days before the gates open to the general public (there's often DJ sets and parties especially for the workers) and often get to sell to the headline acts. I can't tell you how thrilling it is to see bands wearing clothes they've bought off us on stage! 
Oops, didn't answer all your question.... The first festival we traded at was a VDub weekender we always used to go to as punters. It was a real learning curve, we only took cash and traded out of a 1970s trailer tent loaned from a friend. We didn't have any lighting or even a sign but sold so much stuff we knew we'd done the right thing!

Question seven: As well as festivals you have annual trips to India, regular excursions to Greece and often check out National Trust houses. When and why did the love affair with India begin and where would you like to go next? 

Growing up in the multicultural Black Country sari shops, Bollywood videos, curry houses and Sikh gurdwaras are as much a part of our lives as chip shops and churches. I'd always wanted to visit India but didn't get there until 1999 when we visited Goa. In a jet-lagged fug we made our way to a ramshackle hut pursued by mangy pi dogs and beggars, pulled up a bench and asked for a beer and a pakora which a man in a loincloth was frying in a huge pan over an open fire on the side of the road. The food arrived quickly, the beer took ages arriving half an hour later on the back of a bicycle - unbeknown to us, the meals joint didn't sell alcohol but, as the smiling waiter told us, Guest is God and nothing was too much trouble. Since than we've visited India at least once every year until 2020. I desperately want to go back but we always stay for at least five weeks and, at the moment, British tourist visas are only being granted for 28 nights. There's lots of places I'd like to visit - Mexico and Guatemala are top of the list!

Question eight: What brings you balance on days when you feel like your head's on backwards or nothing is quite working? 

There's nothing like exercise when I'm feeling like that - I've recently rediscovered my love of swimming and visit our local baths twice a week, failing that a good half-hour Wii Fit workout of sit-ups, push-ups, planks, balance bridges and weights. When I'm focussing on my body my brain soon sorts itself out. 

Question nine: A vintage business, blogging, regular travel and a long-term relationship - Vix, how do you do it all? For people who may be unhappy with their lot, what advice would you give them for making a change? 

I'm a bit like a swan, outwardly calm and unflustered which is detracting from the chaos going on behind the scenes - the garden's a jungle, the house is a mess and the stockroom like an explosion in Oxfam! In all seriousness though, just do it - follow your dream. If it doesn't work out at least you can say that you tried. 

Question ten: What five things are you most proud of in your life? 

That's a tricky one! Apart from all the obvious ones - being happy, healthy and loved - I'd say it would be still being alive. I look back at some of the mad stuff I've done and I can't quite believe that I'm still here! 

Bonus question: Can you tell us your favourite singer/band(s), favourite food and what book you're currently reading? 

Another hard question! Best band I've ever seen has to be The Rolling Stones, band I've loved for the longest (but never seen) was The Smiths (although I did see Morrissey' doing a solo set at Glasto). Current favourite band is probably Yard Act or Wet Leg. All-time favourite singer is Amy Winehouse but Michael Kiwanuka's voice always sends shivers down my spine.
Favourite food is either Greek gigantes, stuffed vine leaves and Greek salad or anything South Indian but I do have a soft spot for a vegan pizza!
I'm currently reading Natalie Haynes' Stone Blind, the retelling of Medusa's story. Natalie Haynesis a Brummie classicist who retells the Greek myths from the often- overlooked women's perspective, she's a great writer. 

Thank you so much Vix! You can find Vix's amazing blog here and buy fabulous vintage from Kinky Melon Retro Boutique here


  1. Our Vix is one amazing lady! Feel very lucky she pops in and out of my world, she is much loved. Zxx

    1. Isn't she just! Such a lovely lady. Thank you for giving this interview a read! xxx

  2. You're an absolute superstar. I loved the questions you asked! xxx

  3. what a great interview, you asked some really good questions - Im the one that lost the bid for that fabulous blue silk dress in the first pic :) I think your interview has brought out the many facets of Vix - she is an inspiration to many and in my case inspired me to venture into second hand clothing and maxi dresses :)

    1. Wow what an amazing story, how lovely that she was the catalyst for thrifting, isn't it such a wonderful pastime and community! Can't believe she pipped you to the post with that fab blue silk dress, hopefully you weren't too disappointed! Thank you for stopping by xxx

  4. Fabulous interview. Vix is always inspiring and captivating. Looking forward to being a regular visitor to your blog :)

    1. Ahhh this makes me so happy! Welcome to Hippie Trail Vintage, so stoked you liked the interview xxx

  5. Brilliant questions ... and answers. :-)

    1. Thank you so much for such kind words, Vix isn't hard to interview her life and thoughts are so interesting, whatever she says is gold! Hope to see you around here soon xxx

  6. My favourite blogger!

    And what great questions you asked! X


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