By Michael Vincent and Brandon Vethakkan
What do you study at Loughborough and what year are you in?
Civil Engineering – in my final year (final year is my 5th year as the course is an integrated Masters)
Tell us more about your business
Lboro Vintage – we are a Loughborough-based vintage clothing business, selling sustainably sourced clothing at Pop-Up shops at a variety of locations in Loughborough (on Loughborough University campus, in collaboration with local businesses such as Bom Bom & Peter Pizzeria and at market stalls in Loughborough town centre).
How did you start your business?
Lboro Vintage was founded in 2019 after myself, and business partner/bestfriend Brandon, spotted a gap in the Loughborough market for vintage clothing. We then spent time forming our brand identity, sourcing stock and then held our first Pop-Up shop in the Students’ Union in October 2019.
What inspires you?
Being a Christian, my faith plays a massive part in my day to day actions and decisions and I am constantly inspired by God to love others and make a positive impact in my community. In addition, my family and closest friends always encourage me in all that I am doing and keep me motivated and inspired in both the successful and challenging seasons.
Furthermore, from a business perspective, seeing other start-ups thrive and grow into successful businesses (especially those which are black-owned) also inspires me as it reiterates to me that I can also be successful in what I’m doing despite the challenges that come with starting up a new business as a black person in today’s society.
Is championing Black-owned businesses important to you and if so, why?
Yes – because there are definitely extra challenges that come with being a black business owner in today’s society, it’s important to me that when I see black-owned businesses, I do what I can to support them. Whether that be going into their shop to encourage them at what they’re doing or buying a product or service from them, it’s important for me to show them support in some way.
In addition, being black myself means that when I see people of similar backgrounds and culture to me, there’s an added level of connection I feel with those people which makes me want them to succeed even more as they feel like family. As only 5.4 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises are run by a majority black and minority ethnic leadership, it’s essential that we champion/support those businesses as much as we can to also encourage up and coming black entrepreneurs to start up and have something to be inspired by.
What advice would you give people who want to start a business but are unsure?
I would advise people that if they want to start a business and feel like they have the capacity to start one, to be bold and just get started. You’re never going to have all of the answers before you start and there are definitely going to be highs and lows as you run the business, however that is completely normal. You will learn so much as you run and grow the business, so don’t be put off starting the business because you’re nervous and unsure, but back yourself and back your business and just give it a go and have fun with it!
Where can people buy your product/service?
You can buy from Lboro Vintage at one of our Pop-Up shops in Loughborough (all dates, locations and times can be found on our Instagram @lborovintage).
Where can people follow you?
Instagram - @lborovintage
Anything else you want us to know about you or your business?
We would love to have other businesses sell their product/service at our Pop-Up events so if you do own a business (irrespective of how big or small) and would like to sell your product/service at one of our events, do follow us on Instagram and send us a message to find out more, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org