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This tsoHost customer launched a business in the pandemic - here's how she made it work

This tsoHost customer launched a business in the pandemic - here's how she made it work

Posted 26th January, 2022 by Sarah

Sometimes in business, there’s a contest for the title of top dog.

However, at the Vintage Magpie Store, there’s no denying who the crown belongs to.

It’s Ronnie – the dappled dachshund.


Pictured above: Ronnie sat on a vintage wicker rocking chair

Vintage Magpie Store owner Deborah Hutchinson and her partner Phil bought Ronnie just before Deborah launched her vintage, upcycle, antiques and collectibles store in September 2020.

Since then, the pooch has become the shop mascot and he’s inspired one of the shop’s most popular lines of stock – dachshund products.

“There’s a lot of dachshund-related stuff in the shop at the moment,” Phil told tsoHost. “We’ve got cushions, broaches, earrings, boxes and pots. Dachshunds are very on-trend at the moment.”

It’s this ability to keep up with trends that makes the Vintage Magpie Store different to many other pre-loved shops.

“The store doesn't just deal in what I call traditional brown antiques,” explains Phil. “my wife Deborah tries to look for more unusual items. She keeps an eye on what’s on-trend and what people are looking for."

Items on the shelves of the Uppingham-based store – and on the pages of the Vintage Magpie website, which Phil helps to maintain – range from novelty teapots, like a Winston Churchill tank teapot, to elegant Victorian silver vesta boxes.

“One of the most interesting things we’ve had in the store recently was a boiled egg cutter,” reveals Phil. “It was silver and designed to lop the top off a boiled egg.”

Vintage Magpie Products

Pictured above: examples of the carefully curated products on sale through Vintage Magpie Store

According to Phil, dolls are also proving popular at the moment, especially Russian dolls. Although for Phil, there’s nothing better in the store than the teddy bears.

“I’ve always loved teddy bears,” he revealed. “We’ve had quite a few collectibles in the store recently. I stole one home for myself. I don’t think I’ll get away with another. I can’t keep stealing the stock.”

Vintage Magpie may only have been set up as a store in 2020, but owner Deborah’s antique experience can be traced back decades.

“My wife has been interested in antiques since she was 18 and she’s in her 50s now so it’s a long time,” Phil explained. “When I met her she had run a successful picture framing business for more than 10 years.”

Phil’s own passion for antiques, retro and vintage has stemmed from his wife’s.

Vintage Magpie Pull Quote

“It’s what she loves,” he told tsoHost. “So I couldn’t help but be interested in it.”

Deborah scours the country for collectibles, looking for pieces everywhere from traditional antiques fairs to Facebook marketplaces.

“We did two weekends away in 2021 and both turned into buying trips,” Phil remembers. “One trip was to Kent and by the time we got to Margate, Deborah had found 15 items she wanted from the local groups.”

It’s this span and scope of the products on sale at Vintage Magpie that attracts a diverse range of customers.

“The customers don’t fit into a particular demographic,” Phil said. “All ages come into the store and people also come from all over the world, from Chinese tourists to local regulars.”

Despite launching a business against the challenging backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Vintage Magpie store is growing.

After setting up the bricks and mortar store, Deborah launched a single-page website, then developed it into an ecommerce store that now offers a wide range of payment options including PayPal and Klarna.

In 2022, she hopes to develop the online sales side of her business further.

“Products in this industry are quite difficult to sell online,” Phil says. “People want to come in and touch them and feel them. It’s all about how an item makes you feel. You can see the joy in people’s faces when they see something and think ‘isn’t that lovely’. They have it in their hands and they’re turning it over – that’s when they realise they really want it.”

Vintage Magpie’s website runs on tsoHost’s Deluxe Web Hosting plan. It’s also protected by an SSL certificate.

“tsoHost is a reliable partner to us,” Phil says. “Our website has never been down and support is very helpful. I’ve been with hosts before where I can’t get hold of anybody, and communication is difficult. I always get the answers with tsoHost.”

To find out more about Vintage Magpie, visit the online store or head to Uppingham on a Sunday to say hello to the team in person.

For more information about the web hosting that Vintage Magpie relies on, see our Web Hosting pages.

Categories: Case Study

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