Timing is all with retro -- launch a range of retro products too close to the time of the originals and you'll find the look or style is considered old hat.
Old isn't the new new until it becomes desirable again and there's no telling when that might happen. It's something of a waiting game, sometimes the wait can be as little as ten years, sometimes it will be a lot longer than that. And of course some retro styles stay around for long while after their resurgence. The retro looks from the 40s and 50s eras have now been popular for longer than the decades themselves. Perhaps second time around has more endurance.
Why is the past so appealing and it what way does it represent lucrative business ideas?
People look to the past for a number of reasons, comfort and sentimentality. Some even look back to times they are too young to remember themselves. However, they have learned of these eras and there's a credibility attached to wearing the 'cool' clothes of the seventies even though their moms and dads now baulk with embarrassment at photos of them in the same attire.
Retro clothing is a particular favorite with a young demographic, the teens – mid twenties group. Some might argue that this audience has limited expendable income, and that targeting a business toward gaining them as customers mightn't reap rewards. On the other hand, young people are often seen as having more freedom to spend their money on what they want to. When they're not obliged to pay bills or shell out for life's necessities it leaves it means their money can be spent on wants than needs. Proportionally they are likely to have just as much money to spend on clothes as their parents are left with after footing all the life bills.
If you've got the canny knack of predicting what the next retro fashion trend will be then you could set yourself up with a very lucrative business indeed. Years ago we ignored all 1970s clothes that were on sale for peanuts in thrift shops and charity stores. No one wanted them. Now that pair of flares or tank top could command serious prices. If only we'd known. Second hand stores are often a good stock source for the vintage store owner.
With a business that sells retro items, you're selling more than just the product; you're selling a culture, an era, a sensibility.
There are many people these days who feel dissatisfied with the world and the way it is. Some so much so that they become retro enthusiasts, it's not just that they wear the clothes, say, of the 1950s, they live the lifestyle, decorate their homes in the appropriate style. As an audience the group is admittedly small, however, the niche is one that is classified as a special interest one and the products, by their vintage nature, are rare. This allows for prices to be higher than they would for items that are the modern day equivalent.