Local Heroes #4 - Poppy's Parade

A month ago we jumped on our bikes, took the ferry behind Central Station to the north of Amsterdam, to make our way to an interview with a charming initiative.

Published by Robin on 08/08/2013

They had been on our local heroes wish list for a while, but we finally found some room in our agenda’s to meet, greet and ask some questions. From Amsterdam with pride: Poppy’s Parade. Founded in 2011, a newly established family business ran by 3 sisters and a name that has been derived from their Indonesian inspiring grandmother: ‘Oma Pop’. We had a conversation with Marre de Visser, the second and middle of all three. PP_office

1. How would you best describe Poppy’s Parade?

Poppy’s Parade (PP) is an online Fashion store where we sell unique vintage items, same as brand new clothing and accessories, to mainly women. PP_office1 PP_office2

2. Is Poppy’s Parade something you always wanted to do?

We all for sure wanted to start our own company, but not particularly in the Fashion industry. Just something creative, all resulting in making beautiful things.

3. Are you all working full-time?

Unfortunately not, but we are in the transition of getting there. Our oldest sister Eva is the only one working full-time on Poppy’s Parade. Both me (Marre) and Rosa still combine PP with our jobs in PR and innovation inside the health care industry. But we are very happy with our recent intern (who is a great), working 3 times a week supporting us in all the Communications efforts. PP oktober 2012-2

4. How does it feel to work with your sisters?

Collaboration amongst sisters can be very challenging at times, since you are a lot more direct and honest to each other. But I think it’s also the strength we have. From a creative point-of-view, we are mostly on the same page, but ideas can be sometimes too identical. Attracting people from the outside can therefore be very refreshing.

5. How did you start PP?

We started selling all the vintage items through Facebook. We didn’t know how to build a website and found it very accessible, without any restrictions. And it gave us the possibility to involve and invite all our friends straight-away. PP_2 #1597

6. And it really kick-off. How did you get so many fans and followers?

Well, when we started back in 2011, we used the tactic of ‘sold’ (‘verkocht’) on all the Facebook posts of vintage pieces and outfits. The latter being images of ourselves, wearing the clothing we were offering to the public. The entire experience is just like a game: you see an item you like and you have to immediately decide whether you want it or not. If you like it and want it, there’s no room for doubt!

8. A golden combination to success?

I think so, yes. A low-key approach: using Facebook as a low threshold for consumers and the photography + styling as a great inspiration and role-model. Where the industry use skinny models, we like to shoot normal people. Real & authentic! We’re also not influenced by trends, such as the current ‘studs trend’. It’s not creative, since everybody is doing the same. PP_3 #1475

7. How do you find & acquire all the vintage clothing?

We get our vintage clothing from various addresses, wholesale and ragmen. No bulk, no kilo’s, everything is hand-picked by us. #1593 #1595

9. And who is the audience you’re targeting at?

Poppy’s offering is very broad, which means that there is something for everyone: Mothers, students, 16-year-old girls etc.

10. And what about men, are they using it too?

Not really, but we had "Men’s Monday", but those are mostly girls buying gifts for their boyfriends. Men don’t seem to really like the game element on Facebook. So we stopped it for now. PP_5 #1441

11. What would be the downside of using a social network such as Facebook?

Well, although Facebook is very interactive and we have been receiving lots of positive responses, we were also confronted with the direct in-your-face negative ones. But we've learned from that experience and keeps us sharp as a knife: it’s an immediate client service tool where we have to act upon. #1485

12. So what’s next?

We recently changed our business model a bit and launched our webshop last March. But the most exciting decision has been to not only sell used items but also produce our own clothing line, to be launched later this year.

13. Where will Poppy’s Parade be in the near future?

Right here, but we’re looking forward to have everyone of us working full-time and have a webshop with an international reach. The place where vintage meets the new, always surprising and nothing mainstream. PP_4 Thank you Poppy's Parade for your time, your cooperation and we will be tracking all the next steps you're taking. For more information, visit their Facebook page and their online Fashion store.

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