Where cult followings exist the opportunity for bandwagon merchandising presents itself.
(article continues below)
For example, the popularity of Dita Von Teese, burlesque performer and ex-wife of Marilyn Manson gives rise to a plethora of e-bay shops selling products with the following descriptive sales pitch style: "This fully boned corset is the type that gives you Dita Von Teese curves."
If you're thinking of setting up a retro clothing store it pays to keep your eye on the high profile celebs who favor the style. As mentioned, Miss Von Teese and her flame haired retro sister Paloma Faith have adopted the style, made it their own, and made it one many want to mimic.
In this case you don't have to sell authentic vintage clothes. Repro in the correct style will actually have more mass market appeal. In addition, it's easier to guarantee a constant supply of stock when buying new goods -- your business idea and sentiment can still be retrospective in style even if the product itself is newly manufactured.
If you are selling retro repro, or modern manufactured clothing in the retro style, pay attention to making other aspects of your business chime in with this. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Mimic your chosen era's advertising style in your own promotions.
- Be sure to use a type face for your logo that suits the period -- these days there are literally thousands upon thousands of fonts to choose from, but a great deal of them won't suit the retro business. Keep it real and steer clear of computerized or high tech styles.
- If you set up a bricks and mortar store and wish to play music on site -- keep it relevant, choose hits from your chosen period. With a retro business you are selling a concept as much as you are selling a product. With this in mind, decorate the store accordingly. Obviously, you needn't go so far as to source genuine vintage wallpaper for the shop, but again, it will pay dividends if you keep in the mode of the time you are trying to evoke.
Retro style businesses needn't always focus on recreating a particular look.
Sometimes, in manufacturing terms, the emphasis will be on the way a product is made and the materials used to produce it. A modern item that is fashioned using old school techniques and components also fits into the retro bracket. Likewise, the creation of items using reclaimed vintage components constitutes legitimate retro merchandising.
The sub-culture of Steampunk is a case in point here -- jewelry and even PCs fashioned in this growing style are big business these days. Reminiscent of something Heath-Robinson might have created, Steampunk products are a mass of cogs and mechanical parts. An odd idea, certainly, but again, because it is a specialist interest group this new trend represents an interesting commercial niche which, while it lasts, could reap rewards.
And who's to say Steampunk won't last? It very likely will until the next fad comes along.