Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Vintage clothing business founded by Derbyshire sisters set for new place in Pride Park

Vintage clothing business founded by Derbyshire sisters set for new place in Pride Park

When sisters Roxie and Issy Webster set up their wholesale vintage clothing business in 2017, they had just £2,000 in the bank.

Now, as they prepare to move into a brand-new warehouse on Pride Park, they are celebrating turning over their first few million – with their ever-growing team to help run their award-winning clothing business, Fox Vintage Wholesale.

“It’s really quite crazy when we think about it,” said Roxie, a former business owner from Belper, who is affectionately described as a ‘wheeler dealer’ by sister Issy, with Roxie adding that she prefers the term ‘budding entrepreneur’.

“We set up the business in 2017, selling from a small office in Derby. We’d started out as retailers, selling items we had found in charity shops on sites such as ASOS Marketplace and Depop before we decided to push our boundaries and become a wholesaler, supplying retailers worldwide.

“We saw a gap in the market, as we could never find the stock we wanted as retailers. It seemed a good idea to become a wholesaler.

“We really had little knowledge of the wholesale business at the time, but we learned as we went along. We started by supplying bigger companies than ourselves and we made out that we were bigger than we actually were; all we really had was one box of vintage clothing in this tiny room on the edge of Derby.

“Issy and I reinvested that money in the company - and now we’re one of the top vintage wholesalers in the UK preparing to move into an 8,000 plus square feet warehouse in the heart of our home city. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of a journey and it’s nice to reflect on this.”

Fox Vintage Wholesale source used vintage and branded clothing from around the world which they sell in bulk to small and large independent retailers. They import from America, mostly – by the tonne, shipping up to 10 tonnes every week. Buyers can either buy in bulk online or book a handpick session, where they either visit the warehouse or take part in a virtual call with experts from Fox Vintage Wholesale.

The new unit, situated on Royal Scot Road, Pride Park, will be an ‘experience for the reseller’ with new bold, vibrant branding, a chill-out area and games room - complete with pool table and a vintage arcade unit - where clients can play retro 80s game, Pac Man when they need a break from picking. 

There will be cages jam-packed with vintage clothing from classic USA sportswear and premium Italian designs. branded and unbranded vintage clothing. There is office space, too, which is where the team will keep tabs on their 25,000 Instagram followers and growing TikTok audience, and the team behind the scenes can ensure that the business is running smoothly.

“Instagram has been key to our success,” said Roxie, who also cites Derby business coach Tony Prueitt, of ActionCOACH, as helping to grow their business.

“Most of our customers have come to us via Insta and, during lockdown when online shopping was huge, Fox Vintage Wholesale really took off. I’d say that lockdown effectively made our business and our turnover for this year has really grown, which is incredible.

“Tony has been a huge part of our journey recently, too; he’s incredibly experienced and has helped to guide us through our business journey. He was a big supporter of our move to Pride Park and is always there to give guidance and support throughout our journey .”

Roxie has always been interested in business. Aged 15, she recalls a conversation with her mum Annie, where she told her that one day, she would have her own business. Fast forward a few years and now Annie is working in the new warehouse with the family business.

“Our parents although supportive had a few reservations about starting our business to begin with,” says Issy, who had ambitions of becoming a teacher and spent her late teens travelling around Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

“Mum loves working with us and is so proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Younger brother Ki is also an equal partner in Fox Vintage Warehouse, making this a real family business.

“We set out to be a family business, to bring as many members of our family on board as we could, and that’s been a big part of our success,” said Issy.

“Ki left university at the age of 19 and we offered him a job as we saw potential in him and took him on.

“For his 21st birthday last year, we made him a full equal partner and he has played a key role in our success. Ki is so hard-working, and he has great knowledge of the vintage clothing industry and a keen eye for detail.”

According to online store Thredup, we can expect to see the resale market grow much faster than traditional retail here in the UK with the second-hand fashion market expected to be twice the size of fast fashion by 2030.

Seen as a more sustainable fashion choice, Issy Roxie and Ki are well aware of the benefits, and the demand for more vintage clothing on the high street.

“By importing 10 tonnes of clothing every week, we’re effectively saving 10 tonnes of clothing from going to landfill,” added Roxie.

“Gen Z shoppers are fed up of fast fashion and vintage clothing is the more sustainable choice.

“We have got our hands on some amazing fine Italian womenswear, limited edition sportswear and authentic military jackets. Each item has its own story and I love to romanticise about who wore each item before it arrived with us; we quite often find American dollars in pockets, and we once found an unopened packets of chewing gum from the 1980s in the pocket of a hoody.

“Perhaps the most intriguing was a wad of receipts we found in a pair of jeans. I found it fascinating to see where this person had been shopping, seeing what they had bought.”

High Street retailers, too, are well aware of the trend in vintage clothing with the likes of big high street chain stores all getting in on the act.

Issy and Roxie, who have supplied some major high street retailers, believe that we will see more big names branching out into vintage clothing, as well as seeing a growth in independent stores as the pandemic begins to ease.

“Vintage clothing is big business – but you do need to know your stuff,” added Issy, “we have had retailers visit our warehouse for a handpick session and it can take hours. It can be quite exhausting.

“Our new warehouse, though, will have more space and the breakout areas will enhance the whole experience. We want to collaborate with as many Derby businesses as possible; there’s real talent here in the city and county – the likes of professional boxer Lianne Bush, from Ripley – who we proudly sponsor - Project D, Olympic hopeful Kid Karem and up-and-coming indie band Marseille.”

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