Every month we put the spotlight on a different vintage trader, showcasing their business and asking them about their passion for vintage and why they love what they do. This month we interview Claire Milne, who founded Peapod in Rosemount, Aberdeen.
Why did you go into the vintage trade? What made you want to start your own business?
Five years ago I decided to change track and start my own business, with help from the Retail Rocks project. You should know Nina, you were there! (Nina’s Apartment also took part in this local business startup project- this I where I met Claire first! ed). My dad is a retired joiner and my mum is a fanatical recycler so furniture recycling and upcycling is in my DNA. The shop was initially in Torry for the first year, and we discovered I was pregnant with my second child soon after we submitted the Retail Rocks application but thought we’d give it a shot anyway. That’s where the name came from, Arthur was the pea in the pod! After a year we moved to Rosemount and we went in a more vintage direction as it seemed a logical step as I had less time for painting furniture, and my passion for quality items that were beautiful just as they are was growing.
What inspires you?
For us it’s more of a who than a what. Through working in the shop we meet some amazing people. Who knew Aberdeen was full of such wonderful creative people? Where were they all hiding before? We are also inspired by the other lovely vintage businesses we meet, we’re lucky their enthusiasm and knowledge rubs off on us too.
What has been the biggest challenge running a vintage shop?
Time. Never enough of it. Sourcing new stock, having a stall at fairs, changing the window display, social media all take time. Self-employed people don’t tend to take days off, but if you love what you do you never complain.
What is Peapod’s strength? How have you tweaked and improved over the years?
Moving with the times and our ability to stay on-trend. Most new trends have their base in something that has gone before, so we try to source the original goods while still putting our own twist on it.
Who does your window displays? They are fabulous!
We both do (Claire and her business partner June. ed.) It can take a whole day to do a window display in our wee shop. That’s what we do with our “day off” so it doesn’t disrupt customers and their browsing and purchasing. Great fun, we love a new window! It’s great fun and we’ve already started on our (dare we say it?) Christmas window!
What is the weirdest thing you ever had in the shop?
When you do this line of work the weird and wonderful appear on a daily basis so it’s hard to pick just one item, you just get used to it.
And tell us about something so beautiful that you regret you sold it.
Ah, this is an easy one. An Abel Morrall’s thimble box with glass panels that I didn’t get to enjoy long enough before it was snapped up by someone with a very good eye. Also a black gloss bar that opened up to reveal a mirror with cocktail glasses design on it and a light inside. Knowing these items went to very good homes makes it (slightly) easier to let them go, and the people who bought them loved them as much as we did.
Why should people buy vintage?
We’re great believers in buying what you like. All current trends have a base in a vintage past and the older items are made to a higher standard. It’s one of the greenest ways to shop and saves amazing historic items ending up being thrown out and wasted. Buying vintage can also introduce a unique twist to a home that also features high street styles.
What’s your plans and ambitions for Peapod in the future?
Developing a larger online presence with our Etsy shop, keeping up to date with social media and working on growing the Peapod Pinterest page.
Peapod can be found on:
144 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm