We have so many fabulous stockists of Skinny laMinx all over the world, and right here in South Africa, too. One day, we’ll manage to visit all of them, but for now, we’re lucky to have a long-time favourite just a short stop away, at 368c Albert Road, just opposite the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.
If you’re in Cape Town, you’re sure to have already visited Vamp Furniture, but for those further away, here’s your opportunity to snoop around inside this fabulous store, owned by Paula and Michael.
You’ve been in business for a good few years now, with a big bright shop and a dedicated following. I remember first meeting you at your first premises in an old church behind the St Mary’s School about 6 years ago. How did Vamp Furniture start out?
Vamp started with a happy weekend away and a very fortuitous furniture find! Whilst on a West Coast getaway, my partner Michael and I stopped off at a junk shop where we stumbled upon a jaw-dropping selection of vintage furniture that had previously belonged to some or other government department. We spontaneously bought the lot and sent it back to Cape Town on a rather large truck. We had to figure out what to do with it all and the business idea quickly developed on the two hour car trip home. With Michael’s background in woodwork and my passion for furniture, interiors and decor, creating Vamp seemed to be the most obvious decision in the world. We opened our doors a few months later.
In the beginning, our idea was to rescue neglected retro furniture pieces and give them a new lease on life. Over the past 6 years the original idea has evolved and grown and as well as revamping retro furniture, we source and sell mid-century furniture classics, vintage collectables and kitchenalia and our own range of mid-century inspired furniture which we design and manufacture on site.
In addition to all that, we stock a curated range of home and gift ware from amazingly talented local South African designers, makers and illustrators like your fabulous selves!
There must be things that you’ve sold that you’ve always regretted not holding on to.
There is one piece that haunts me a little: An exquisite sideboard, beautifully designed with the most gorgeous lines. I so badly wanted to keep it, but at the time had absolutely nowhere to put it or store it. I knew it was very special but was not sure of its provenance despite my extensive research. I put it in the shop and it sold in a heartbeat (of course!) Very soon after, I found out that it was a highly collectable mid-century piece that at the time was fetching quite a sum on the websites I tracked it down on in Europe. Needless to say, I sold it at about a fifth of the value.
After I got over the fact that this beauty was never to be mine, I called the lovely buyer to tell her the exciting news about her new acquisition. Despite my enthusiasm, she wasn’t that interested in the history or how special it was at all, she was just happy that she had found something to put her TV on. Boy was I bleak!
What do people like best in your shop?
People often comment on what a bright, fresh and happy space Vamp is! Our stock also turns over pretty quickly, so you are always assured of seeing lots of new treasures on your next visit.
If I had to choose one item, I would say our furniture draws the biggest crowd, and it’s all the smaller collectables and designer pieces that keep them browsing for ages and ages.
Vamp is such a treat to visit, as there’s so much to look at. Do you have a top merchandising tip?
Because our stock is mostly made up of one-off pieces the shop can look very busy. I like to colour block items, especially the vintage kitchenalia and collectables, it soothes the eye and makes everything seem calmer and more curated!
Our businesses have been running for almost the same amount of time, and you’ve been a fan of ours ever since we began. Do you have a favourite Skinny laMinx print?
Thanks so much for chatting to us, Paula! We appreciate your support, your eye, and the friendly chats we always have whenever we pop in.
Top tip: sign up for the weekly Vamp newsletter to be the first in the know about what’s new in the shop.