Conveniently situated right next to a car park, so you can carry your vintage haul easily back to the car before looking round the shops in Wells High Street! It’s a small vintage fair organised by Vintage Somerset (A great website by the way, full of vintage shopping info), and takes place in Seager Hall on Union Street. My daughters and I visited on Saturday, but I think it’s on at other times in the year too. It’s a cute little fair – to be honest, too small for my liking. I do like to go to a vintage fair knowing I’ll definitely come away with something, but with only about twelve stalls, your chances are fairly limited with this one. And I wasn’t impressed with the £1 entrance fee, given the size….
There were a few vintage clothing stalls, most reasonably priced, but not really for bargain
hunters. We looked at a dress in a Laura Ashley style (but wasn’t Laura Ashley) that I guessed was £30-£40 and when I asked, the stall holder told me rather snappishly that it was actually £82. Stallholders PLEASE label your stuff. No-one on this planet likes asking the cost of things – it’s just laziness. It only serves to let potential customers feel embarrassed when they can’t afford things, and stallholders to feel affronted when people give looks (we are British after all) suggesting that the price is somewhat ambitious.
While I’m at at, here’s another tip from a customer’s point of view: organise your clothes please. Either by colour, so the stall just looks prettier (Donna May Vintage in Frome does
this very well), or by labelled decade, so all the 1940s clothes are together and the 1990s clothes are together. Or even better, just focus on one particular decade for everything. Going back to this dress we looked at, it was hanging next to a dress (that actually was labelled as £20) that was no older than late ’90s. So it was reasonable for me to think that this dress was 1980’s and led me to be suspicious when the stallholder said it was from the 1940s. Just because I disliked her attitude, I wish I’d studied the dress closer to come up with my own opinion on this!
An organised stall is just much easier to face than rails of jumbled up clothes that look no better than those at, well, a jumble sale.
I picked up a business card from Cheeky Rose Vintage, who was very friendly and helpful, and my daughters very nearly went halves on a Voodoo Vixen dress they both liked. I loved the handmade items on her stall – stunning fascinators and hats and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get a photo to show you. I’ll definitely going to treat myself to something from the stall when I next see it – I’ll look out on the facebook page.
The purchases we did make turned out to be from a stall from the Vintage Hideaway in Glastonbury. (Somewhere we can visit at any time without having to pay to enter.) I’m going to give them a post of their own soon, so I won’t go into it too much now, but my daughters and I love this shop. I bought a bundle of lace and trimmings and a bundle of tray-cloths and doilies for £10 each, which will probably go towards the bohemian wedding dresses I make for Oshun Occasions 🙂 and Rain bought a 1980’s floral Laura Ashley style dress for £20.
So at least two of the three of us came away happy. Another stallholder worth noting was
Before Digital, who sold mainly vintage cameras, but also had a hand-crank sewing machine and a typewriter which took my fancy, but unfortunately I really have no need for one or anywhere to display it.
From a trader’s point of view, although I don’t know how much the stalls cost, I should think it is quite a good vintage fair to do. It was very well advertised and busy the whole time I was there (which was quite a long time while Rain tried on and dithered over the dress). The entrance fee means you’re getting serious potential buyers through the door and the lack of competition must be a good thing as people don’t like to leave without buying something!
Other fun vintagey things from our trip to Wells: we found these Ladybird books for adults, which were rather funny – particularly the Hipster one; and I will definitely be buying the Shed one for Dad for Father’s Day.
Also, in the pocket of the fake-fur coat Rain was wearing, (which I bought a very long time ago in a charity shop) she found a cash receipt from January 1995 and we realised that I was withdrawing cash wearing that coat when I was pregnant with her, but probably didn’t know it yet. My children found this cool and weird at the same time!
Let me know if you’ve discovered any good vintage fairs and what treasures you bought.
Photography notes: All taken by me with the Panasonic GM1 with the Lumix 20mm (equivalent 40mm) fixed lens at aperture priority F1.7.