Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020

11 | Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020 Located in Edinburgh, Carnivàle is a vintage clothing boutique offering the most beautiful selections from the 1940’s to 1970’s. Following its well-deserved success in the Scottish Enterprise Awards 2020, we got in touch with Rachael Coutts to find out more. Scotland is an incredibly accepting place of difference, particularly in terms of the different ways of dressing. People will barely blink at whatever interesting and unique way someone is dressing, which allows a freedom of expression and creativity that is pretty unique. This acceptance means vintage is a key way to show identity or creativity, whether from a student or a lawyer. In the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, sits Carnivàle – a unique boutique which excels in providing high-quality vintage clothing for men and women. Providing a glimpse into the award- winning business, Rachael begins by sharing the history of Carnivàle and the variety of people who enter the store to discover hidden gems. “Carnivàle started in 2016 to provide excellent vintage clothing and accessories spanning 100 years, from the 1890s to the 1990s. Sharing passion for vintage is extremely important to me, nothing compares to the quality, fabric, shape and construction of vintage items. Naturally, I want others to share my passion that old things can be loved again and still have use and value. Locals, students, and tourists all have a desire to dress individually, and our vintage clothing can recreate a past look or form part of any modern wardrobe. Clothes which have lasted this long, will last many decades more because of their quality, and sustainability.” Vintage clothing is a funny business because competitors can often be the biggest supporters, particularly the Edinburgh vintage scene where firms are extremely supportive and work together to bolster each other’s prospects. However, as Rachael goes on to explain, Carnivàle can offer a rather unique selling point with its approach to the preservation of its clothing items. “The preservation of vintage is extremely important to me, so I clean and repair items so they can be worn immediately and last many more years. Not every vintage seller does this, and I think my customers really appreciate Best Boutique Vintage Clothing Store 2020 the effort I go to. In addition, I’m very good at sourcing an incredibly diverse range of vintage, literally spanning 100 years, and with a bit of an emphasis on the eclectic and eccentric. Thankfully, this is something my customers really respond to.” Showing passion for the business of vintage forms a instrumental part of the firm’s internal culture, and as Rachael points out, this is a value all staff members adhere to. “Nobody gets into this industry to be a millionaire, we simply do it for the sheer love and joy. There is nothing more exciting than finding an amazing item, and being able to share the story of its history with the new owner, and then hopefully getting a photo of the new owner wearing it to send back to the family from where it came.” Although the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a negative effect on the retail industry, the firm has still managed to prosper during these difficult and uncertain times thanks to its online platform and overall approach to social media. “Prior to the pandemic, we already had an online presence as well as our physical store. COVID has certainly presented many challenges to the industry, and more businesses have realised the need to have a website” Rachael informs us. “Thankfully, our customers are exceptionally supportive and have actively kept us going throughout a difficult year. One of the changes we have introduced this year is the daily drop of new items on Instagram stories, where videos allow us to show, demonstrate and explain the history of items in a very new and exciting way. Many of our customers have said this was the highlight of their lockdown, and a time they could forget the sacrifices and hardships and just enjoy seeing pretty and uplifting things.” As for what the future holds for one of the best boutique vintage clothing stores operating today, Rachael signs off by envisioning where she hopes Carnivàle will be in the years to come. “Moving forward, we plan to keep finding awesome vintage clothing, repairing, and renewing them before sending the clothes on to a new home where they will be loved and cherished. Whether that’s in one shop or five, who knows I want to keep sharing my joy in old things that make customers feel good about themselves.” Company: Carnivàle Contact: Rachael Coutts Website: Oct20700