Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.
There’s an amazing second hand shop here in Bedford which I can only describe as an alladins cave of house clearance. It’s owned by Pat who I have known for years (my mum used to own the cheese shop next door). I have been going in there forever, loving a root about in all the treasures (and some junk).
When I started the business up I kept going in asking for handbags and cases. They were always gone! To a local girl who “likes to stick things on bags” (Pat’s words). I envisaged a crafty type, sticking beads on bags for a hobby. Now there’s nothing wrong with this but I had no idea this person was creating the most amazing works of decoupage.
uoldbag! is owned by Lisa Tilley.
She lives locally and is a textile designer. She collects vintage magazines, papers, maps and anything interesting to add to vintage suitcases and bags. The result is truly stunning and unique.
She also makes the cutest bags from upcycling tea cosies. The cases are real works of art and beautifuuly finished. I recognise they are not cheap…but think how amazing you will look at the airport carousel!
I caught up with her last week and she was good enough to answer some of my questions.
Where did the name uoldbag! come from?
A lot of people love the name and think there’s some special story behind how I came up with it, but actually it just came really easily. I knew it had to be something around old bag and I thought of a few different versions and did some research and found other companies called things such as ‘the old bag company’. It was finalised by talking through ideas with my partner and he came up with the ‘u’. I wasn’t sure about it at first but then after some more discussion we decided ‘uoldbag!’ was the way to go.
Nostalgic, Fun, Young, Original, British!
What does a typical day look like?
I don’t really do typical days, whilst setting up my business I worked in many different jobs to fund it, which meant I had very different days and no routine. I am currently working full time on my own business which feels great and I’m finally able to focus purely on my own work, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a typical routine. I do what needs doing; I have periods of making and then periods of photographing the products and preparing the images and products for sale.
Then I’ll have periods of admin work, where I’ll upload the products to sites and market them. I’ll also be working at selling them, speaking with shops, organising delivery of sales, sourcing materials and everything else that needs doing. You have to have many heads, which keeps the work varied and I can’t see me ever getting bored. I love the making the most of course but the rest comes with it.
Whats your biggest achievement to date?
My main achievement to date with my work is creating a range for Paris and Milan fashion week for Paul Smith which were displayed in the shop windows. My main personal achievement would have to be what I’m doing right now, working on my own business full time. I come from a very poor, large, single parent family where I helped raised my brothers and sisters, I was never expected to become anything, but I was determined to make a life for myself and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to help make the lives of others when I’m able to expand and employ people.
Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
I’d like to still be doing what I’m doing full time, be making a comfortable living from it and to hopefully have taken staff on to help me. I hope to have my own shop combined with a studio some day, preferably in London. This is one of my main aims and I hope that this will turn into many uoldbag! shops, but we’ll see. I like to walk before I can run.
Bedford’s a great place to live because it’s quite close to lots of places, the most important being London. London’s great for creatives and an exciting place to live, but is very expensive and a bit manic for me. I love it in small doses but when I spend time there, I love getting off the train in Bedford and feeling the peace and ease. I like the fact, Bedford has the necessary things you need and then if you need something more you can just jump on the train. I also love the parks and river and I especially like the area my studio is based in, which is Castle Road. For a small town, Bedford is quite arty and the creative network is building all the time. I love the River festival and that it’s free and think the council should invest in more events like these that would attract more people to Bedford.
I’m sure you will agree her work is stunning. These are some of my particular favourites.