Oxford Vintage has faced transitions and challenges since the company was founded in 2008 by two Ole Miss students who wanted to cater to a fashion-forward crowd.
Owners Jackson Vanderslice and Luke Little are now focusing more on eCommerce, selling their products online from home. They work by appointment only. Clients can contact them to view their stock.
The company recently introduced a special line of original clothing, offering their own take on the “Bootleg Bart” vintage tees of the ’80s and ’90s, as a play on the Bart Simpson cartoon character. They plan to release several more original designs in the future.
“It would be awesome if we were big enough to have original clothing that would be released in special drops sometime in the near future,” said Little.
The business has faced challenges. The first was the difficulty of tracking profits, which was countered with a shifted focus to eCommerce.
“It was a lot harder to track profits through solely selling at the house,” said Vanderslice. “eCommerce allows us to keep things organized, and we save on shipping.”
The transition from the “cottage business” model into an actual brick and mortar storefront has proved to be difficult. With expensive rent prices in the Oxford area, particularly on Jackson Avenue and the Square, the two owners have struggled to find a settlement for their business model that would reach many in Oxford. Advertising has also proven to be a challenge.
“Finding the best way to advertise the product has been one of our biggest obstacles,” said Little. “It was hard for us to cater to each individual client through our Instagram page.”
Vanderslice and Little hope to roll out “three Instagram posts a day,” and they are “maybe look into sponsored Instagram ads, but not to a degree that would be annoying.”
The group has also struggled to find high quality and “cooler” products. They haven’t easily procured clothing their clients find aesthetically appealing from area Oxford thrift stores.
“We want to move out of the $10, $20 range of T-shirts, and deliver products that will guarantee higher profits and higher quality to our customers,” said Vanderslice.
Having only two people running the business is also a challenge. “If you’re an established business in our industry, you’ve got six plus people working together to make it happen,” Vanderslice said. “That kind of workload on two people is a lot to handle.”
They’ve designed a website they hope will offer customers a good look at their stock. The two hope the business will continue to grow so they can move into a building in the future, offering a more personable experience similar to popular vintage stores across the country, such as Round Two in New York and Los Angeles, they said.