The Early Years
I was born an Angel to my parents. They named me Angela. I smiled all the time and quickly learnt that people smiled back. It’s life simple pleasure. My family made it easy for me to be happy. Both parents grew up on East London council estates and fell in love at the age of 16. They did not have much except a Ford Capri and a Cine 8 camera which lived at the end of my father’s wrist whilst he documented our lives in takes of 8. They are open spirits and become energized by feeding people’s souls with food, laugher and cocktails. They were not scared of hard work either. Growing up my mum often had two jobs to ensure we had good food in us. She made our clothes, curtains and cushions and whilst my father was running his full time jewellery business, family time was precious. Suppertime brought engaged. It was tradition. My mum cooked and I sat on the counter and pretended to cook. We ate, laughed and sometimes argued. I then would wash up and was given 25p for my services. I purchased my first fake fur jacket at the age of 6 with my hard earnt cash. Oh yes.. And some Minnie Mouse ears to match of course. At school I liked to chat and it was a good mask for my inability to read and write. It took nearly 5 years of bad reports to learn my lack of concentration was a learning disability.
Only one teacher picked up on this and she spent every Wednesday evening teaching me to read. I know she passed away some years ago, but I hope she is proud that I’ve now written two book and never gave up on my dreams. On the positive side, lack of concentration led me to fantasies. I had quite an enchanting team of animals, birds and plants, forestry and flowers and we all used to chat amongst ourselves, until I got into trouble for not paying attention!
During my teens I started to attend my local boot fair (where people sell their junk). This was the birth of my Vintage obsession. I had one rule. If I liked it I bought it. Clothes, shoes, jackets, china, bags, hats, anything! One mans junk is another man Jewel!
I planted the seed back then that I wanted a Vintage business, but there was no sustainability and the market was highly niche. What did come as a surprise to me was my love of business. And I threw myself into learning how to run one! Profit and loss, balance sheets, cash flows, SWOTS.. I perversely enjoyed it and found myself studying to be a chartered account.
At 21 I worked for a big accountancy firm in London. I had pink hair and a couple of piercings and apparently was not you average accountant. This did become a problem so I swiftly left and become a freelance management accountant for various alternative London companies.
It was also the beginning of something very exciting that sealed my fate. I started an event called the ‘Angel-A Vintage Experience’. I turned my old school house in East London into a Vintage Boutique and invited friends and associates to buy Vintage. I wined and dined them and everyone left with bags full of clothes, big smiles and full stomachs. I began to see how giving people a shopping experience made a huge impact on sales.
The Infamous night ended in 2007 with a proud history of happy women. 2007 also saw the end of my profit and loss years. Working my two careers had started to pay off and my Vintage passion was slowly making money. This was also the birth of The Vintage Patisserie.
My vision was to create a different bespoke vintage experience and turn tea party dreams into reality. I took my lifestyle and made in into a business. Support from press and friends saw my order book grow pretty quickly and I’ve never looked back. In fact I’ve never had a day off!
In 2010 I made the decision to apply for the BBC business program Dragons Den. For those that do not know, it involves you pitching your business to a board of successful entrepreneurs and if they like your business they offer you a cash investment in return for equity. I managed to woo two of the dragons and received a very favorable offer! Dragons Den exposed the Vintage Patisserie to a larger audience it taken my business on an unbelievable journey.
I’ve been bless with writing two books, with the thirds in the pipe-line and I’ve put my heart and soul into this making them special. I’m now blessed with an incredible team that exude passion and love of the brand and we are growing everyday. Our portfolio of clients is bursting at the seams and so know we must be doing something right!
This year also saw the launch of my first flagship events space in East London and from humble beginnings I’m a living examples that you can turn your dreams into reality.