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Now I absolutely love running the boutique. The aim is to have a varied selection of designer clothing, shoes and accessories downstairs and a selection of genuine vintage clothing, shoes and accessories upstairs in the Vintage Room. It works well downstairs with a steady stream of accessories from Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, Moschino, Swarovski and more. However it was proving much more dificult with regard to vintage accessories. Barely any were coming in and the few I was sourcing elsewhere were insufficient for demand. Step up – Janice in Wonderland!!

Janice in Wonderland is a lovely vintage jewelery and accesories business run by the eponymous J. Like me, J works full-time elsewhere and so indulges her passion outside of working hours. She really has amassed a large selection of good, genuine vintage pieces. You will often find her out and about at vintage fairs in London and Essex where her wares are always popular. How do I know this? Well I first met J at one such fair and then bumped into her at others and always enjoyed poring over whatever selection she had brought with her. Just before last Christmas I bought a lovely black snake clutch from Janice in Wonderland which I still love.

However, offering her fantastic collection as vintage fairs still meant that it was hidden away for much of the time. A problem for J. Then I opened Now and Then in December 2011 and started to work in the boutique on Saturdays. I love it but I could do with the odd weekend off. A problem for me. And then our problems (or at least these ones!!) were solved.

J has solved my problem by installing her own Janice in Wonderland cabinet upstairs in the Vintage Room at Now and Then. As I thought, they ahve proved to be very popular. In return J does some Saturdays in the boutique, where she is a real asset. So far this has worked well for J and for me and also for vintage lovers who now have permanent access to a special collection from Janice in Wonderland. A wonderful example of mutual back scratching! Also a great example of small businesses recognising that they are stronger together than seeing each other solely as rivals – a subject for another day!

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