Teenager Lottie Baxter started out restyling items from her mum’s wardrobe and selling them on Depop. Now she’s running her own business while studying fashion at Nottingham Trent University. Here’s how she did it.
November 26 was one of those days that was cold, grey and ridiculously windy. But the spirit of Sneinton Market lived on, conquering the chill that nipped at everyone’s noses. It was a day dedicated to all those who worked independently, selling their unique arts, clothing and food. It was Small Business Day and Nottingham was ready.
Tucked away in the warmth was Lottie Baxter, 19 years old and building her business. She stood with rails of clothing, cases of scarfs and silks and tables of accessories. It was inspiring to see a young woman doing what she loved, on a day dedicated to people doing the same thing.
Miss Baxter set up clothing brand Love at First Sight Vintage during lockdown some 18 months ago. Her eyes were opened to the world of fast fashion and sustainability during her time studying A-Levels. Passion stemmed from the research she did, clearing out her wardrobe to start anew.
Selling these clothes were just the beginning. She said: “One day I found my mum’s old vintage scarves and started styling them as bandanas, handbags, twillys, headbands and even tops… people messaged me saying they liked my clothes. So, I went hunting for them at car boot sales, antique fairs, charity shops and styled them.”
She now studies Fashion Communication and Promotion at Nottingham Trent University, increasing her knowledge alongside running her business. The motivation and drive made Miss Baxter a top seller on Depop and eventually a regular at Sneinton Markets and The Avenues.
Sneinton Markets is known for its diverse businesses that attend their events, working hard to let independent traders shine. This is where she grew, gaining confidence and learning the benefits of talking to her customers face to face. Miss Baxter praised the effort of the people behind all the markets, a place her business has flourished.
“I think Nottingham is great as a city, especially for independents. The people that make the difference are the people that run Creative Quarter, Sneinton Markets, The Avenues and all the small businesses themselves.”
Starting and managing her own business hasn’t always been easy. It takes a lot of bravery to stand behind a stall for the first time, she says, but “when you get to spend every day doing something you love, it doesn’t even feel like work”.
It’s important to support small businesses as they’re companies founded on enthusiasm and individuality. Here in Nottingham, we’re blessed with a wide range of people growing their brand. The level of passion is something we all see in ourselves, a desire to do something big and exciting, to drastically change career paths, to follow a dream. Only aged 19, and Lottie Baxter reached for what she knew she could do.
“I like the idea of wanting to make both the eight-year-old and 80-year-old version of you proud. I often think about what eight-year-old Lottie would think of what I’m doing now, she’d think it was so cool.”