Heartfelt Vintage a hidden gem among many independent businesses on Alma Vale Road.
The vintage shop-cum-bridalwear tearoom is nestled between an electronics store and acupuncture centre, just a stone’s throw from the Alma Tavern and Theatre.
Owners Kate and Will Ashwell opened the shop six years ago, specialising in the sale of vintage bridal-wear and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Heartfelt Vintage sell wedding clothing dating from the 1800s to the 1980s, and pre-coronavirus, customers could browse the clothing on sale and enjoy vintage tea parties. However, lockdown has forced Kate and Will to alter how their store operates.
“The wedding industry been one of hardest hit industries during this pandemic,” says Will, adding that the store’s business model has had to dramatically change in order to survive.
Since March, the store have held virtual consultations with clients via Zoom and have hosted wedding dress showings online. The couple have enjoyed offering customers the “Heartfelt Vintage experience”, even if it couldn’t be in person.
Most weddings in the UK take place in spring and summer, the exact time lockdown was enforced.
Despite the economic blow to the wedding and independent retail industry, the couple have been able to weather the coronavirus storm. Kate has set up an Instagram sales page and attended virtual vintage markets, helping Heartfelt Vintage reach a completely new client base.
Having more flexibility with their time has allowed Will and Kate has also offered the pair the chance to expand different areas of the business, such as their afternoon tea service.
The couple have been delivering afternoon teas to customers head of the tearoom reopening September 11.
Heartfelt vintage’s hope for the future is to expand the business. Kate has built many online relationships with clients from all over the world over lockdown through other vintage dealers and clients from Australia and Hong Kong. The couple have learnt to appreciate the community aspect through online and say the business is ever evolving best at the moment.
Heartfelt Vintage, 32 Alma Vale Rd, Bristol BS8 2HY, www.heartfeltvintage.co.uk
All photos: Qezz Gill
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