Posted: Wed 25th May 2022
Cork businesswoman, Katie Sloane, started selling vintage and pre-loved clothing on Facebook five years ago, now she’s taking her wears on the road.
Things began to take off with the Facebook selling and she had more and more people contacting her and requesting she sell their clothing, so she decided to turn it into a business.
She set up a website and began selling other people’s vintage and second-hand designer clothing under her business name Peach Vintage Clothing.
Fast forward to 2022 and she has decided to add another string to her business bow and exercise a new found talent too.
“The sustainability side of it was always really important to me but I never really thought that I could make anything,” she explains. “I asked my mam, would she teach me to use a sewing machine because she worked for an interior designer when we were kids.”
“She made a lot of our dresses for plays and communions and confirmations, so she'd made a lot of our clothes growing up.”
“She hadn't worked on a sewing machine for years and years, so it was just kind of a nice thing that she was teaching me,” she says.
Katie had an idea to use vintage towels and turn those into clothing like summer and beach wear. Only, the towels she found in her local charity shops where quite colourless and not really what she had in mind.
“There were no prints or anything and I remembered when my auntie had towels when we were kids, they always had loads of prints and stuff,” she says.
Sourcing the good stuff
Reaching out to her network of vintage sellers she was out of luck, so she began to look outside of Ireland and found suppliers in The Netherlands and the US.
“Obviously, I wanted to kind of keep my carbon footprint down, so I didn't want to be buying on the likes of eBay at just one piece at a time,” Katie explains.
“I bought in bulk and the towels I got from The Netherlands were from the 70s and the towels I got from The States were mostly from the 60s.”
“I got some really cool prints, and the idea was to start making towel tops for beachwear and festivals, and just generally for kind of nonconforming people that like to look a bit different,” she says.
She did hit a slight snag though, the towel sizes meant she could not make clothing over a size 14 and she always prides herself on having a business which caters to all shapes and sizes.
With her newfound sewing skills, she began to think about what she might offer which would cater for all her customers. Vintage lace became her next material to work with and soon she was adding ponchos made from vintage lace to her new range of reworked vintage materials.
“The vintage ponchos fit everybody, and they are adaptable for everyone as well. I’m absolutely adoring them; they are completely unique – I haven’t seen anyone making them in Ireland,” she says.
Katie is able to source the vintage lace in Ireland and the UK which keeps her carbon footprint down.
“They are vintage tablecloths with embroidery. I have a lot of creams and whites that would be suitable for wedding wear for over wedding dresses – they are really beautiful pieces and look absolutely stunning,” she says.
“I have vintage scarves that I’ve turned into ponchos too, everything is one off. I don’t have two of anything,” she adds.
Post pandemic Katie has been hitting up the crowds at Middleton farmers market with her vintage wares. Her next project is converting an old horse trailer so she can take her offering on the road.
“I’m going to have a little pink horsebox, hopefully by the start of June, to take to the markets in the summertime,” she says.