24 January 2013

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

How do two charming actresses with a love for vintage and playing Scrabble set up a successful and entertaining pop-up vintage business? With plenty of enthusiasm and cups of tea, apparently. Charity and Frances may not have a permanent location, yet they easily attract locals and customers wherever they set up shop.

You can currently find their pop-up at 147 Evelina Road, Nunhead, until this Sunday (27th January). But until then, do have a read of their of their interview below. You will find there is a lot more to these ladies than vintage.

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

Frances: "It started at a Scrabble game, and we decided we would have a swap shop, with myself, Charity, and our other two friends who we play Scrabble with. So we brought in loads of bags of stuff to swap, and myself and Charity particularly realised that we just had huge amounts of stuff at home.

"And then that got us talking, and we thought we would start with... I think it was Charity who noticed that there was a sale on in a pub around the corner called The Ivy House, and she got a stall there and said, 'Let's do it.' It was really unplanned, and we just got a few bags, put them in the car, and set up. And we were really worried we wouldn't have much, but we had quite a lot already. Although nowhere near as much as we've got now."

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

Charity: "We both love playing Scrabble. We have a Scrabble club, which is four girls meeting once a month, and we keep score, and at the end of the year, there's a trophy given to the best player. And when we play Scrabble, we take it turns to host the event, so whoever hosts has to provide a really nice spread and lots of nice foods, and it's as much about getting together and having a good natter as it is playing Scrabble.

"Actually, those two girls are really into vintage as well, so they've both been really good to us as we've gone from stage to stage during our kind of movement, from being a table sale, to a market pitch, to a pitch at a vintage festival, to going to a boutique in Hempstead, and more unusual events. The other two girls have been really helpful.

"We love Scrabble and we love the look of it, and we have a vintage Scrabble set that we play on. And actually, here in the corner before those few bits of furniture, we did have a more comfortable corner or gaming area, where we wanted people to sit and play board games. If we had a bigger place that was more permanent, I think we would set a little corner for people to have a cup of tea and play games."

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

Frances: "Tea and biscuits and Scrabble are very important to us. And any kind of gaming is as important as the vintage clothes. For us, it is all a part of the same thing, which is why we have the Scrabble tiles as our sign, that we always have hung up wherever we go. It's sort of a running theme throughout.

"Because the shop is so personal to us, I think that's what people really like about it when they come in. And all of the tags are tagged with a C or an F, which is how we originally would know whose stock was whose. And when we were thinking of a name, we originally were called Chaz and Frank Vintage, which we both really quite like still. But we were thinking it can't be that, it's too silly. So we were stamping everything with a C or an F with this sort of Scrabble theme that was running throughout the shop, and that's what Charlie Foxtrot then came from. But yes, Scrabble and vintage are just completely interlinked for us, and that's really the style of the shop."

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

Charity: "We also do other things, like we make videos. Frances and I went to drama school together. Two years ago, we made a video called Charlie Foxtrot Dating Agency, which was a comedy short, featuring a lot of our friends who are actors. And the idea was to do a little ad for the clothes, so all the clothes you could at the time buy from us. 

"We've done a boys version of that in fact, and we had lots and lots of people come in to do it. And it's very funny, and we need to edit that together. And we have also done a documentary short this year that's about to go into edit.

"We've got the website for Charlie Foxtrot Pictures as well as Charlie Foxtrot Vintage. It's not going to be a huge thing, and it's never going to be that anyone has to pay to see any of these videos, but we try to combine the theatrical notion of having this amazing collection of clothes, some of which are eighty years old, and to make use of them and to find characters. Documentary aside, we love the idea of characters coming from clothing, which is not often the way that people work. But it's great for comedy. And it makes actors able to move far away from themselves to adopt an interesting character."

Charlie Foxtrot Vintage

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