Married couple, Jack and Louise Messenger, spent their savings turning an idea into a sustainable business.
It’s nice to know that you are helping the environment when buying sustainable or second-hand clothes. Even if it is a small difference.
Many people have seen the devastating effect that fast-fashion has on developing countries and the environment. Because of this, many people have become more conscious of the fashion choices they make.
And this was a huge factor that led to the set-up of St. Paul’s Vintage, a vintage clothing shop based in Cheltenham.
“There is such a big awareness of fast-fashion now and I think people are really trying to buy second-hand, buy vintage or even make their own clothes last longer,” said Louise.
Within recent years, big brands such as ASOS, H&M and New Look label some of their clothes to highlight the sustainable qualities. Even with shops such as ASDA having their own vintage section.
“The message of sustainability is becoming more widespread and it’s making people think about where their clothes are coming from.”
“Even if it is just a couple of things, I think people are trying to make more sustainable choices. There’s some things that people are really keen to buy second hand like denim jackets for example and same with doc martens, because new ones are so painful to break in.”
St. Paul’s Vintage is a fairly new business that was born in the midst of the pandemic.
After being made redundant from the army in 2020, Jack Messenger took a step back from the world of work and came up with the idea of a vintage clothes shop.
Louise said: “He’s always got a crazy idea, but this time I actually liked it.”
Bonding over their love for vintage clothes, the couple spotted a gap in the market in the shops that Cheltenham had to offer, but before investing in the physical shop, Jack and Louise launched online and ran pop-up shops to sell their merchandise.
“We were shocked at the amount of people who were interested, but it got to a point that there was so much stock in our house and friends’ garages that we had to do something.”
After making the decision to get a shop, Jack and Louise were handed the keys to what is now St.Paul’s Vintage, but on one condition – they could paint the whole shop pink!
“We were out shopping and Jack spotted a tin of paint… bright pink paint. And it was from that one tin that our entire shop is based on.”
The shop can be seen as a DIY dream. From website, remodelling and actual making of the clothes, everything has been done by Jack and Louise. A challenge for anyone, but especially when being the parents to three young children.
“When we were fixing up the shop it was quite challenging, but the shop has a basement, so the kids spent a lot of time playing down there for the few weeks we were remodelling.”
When it comes to customers, the shop welcomes all ages.
“We were expecting a lot of students in Cheltenham, but as time went on its been anyone and everyone. Our customers are a large mix.”
“The shop being open and having that family life balance has been the highlight. We have new customers all the time and people just seem to love it, love the idea and love the shop.”
St. Paul’s Vintage is open Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am – 5pm.