Trader Profile-El’s and Co
For our fourth Trader Profile we picked the brains of El, the über-stylish founder of El’s & Co. about daily uniforms, minimalism and how it all leads to good stuff! Read on friends…
Tell us a bit about you and your business.
I’m El, Dorset based business owner, minimalist, wannabe musician, and sea swimmer. El’s & Co. draws together my many varied projects and ventures to offer a curated selection of highest grade vintage-wear with specific focus on European and American workwear, denim, Americana and military wear. The Co. element is a blog of stories, insights and philosophies from those challenging the expected and accepted, and those good people doing good stuff. The premise behind Co. is to seek out the deeper stuff in life, the truest of good stuff.
Where do you get your inspiration – what motivates you to do what you do?
A minimalist lifestyle comes first – and yes it sounds a juxtaposition to retailing but hear me out, I deal in product that represents a daily uniform: high quality, highly functional and durable pieces of clothing that have lasted years already, and will last many more. These are items with a story. The love of the product extends from my own daily uniform, underpinned by over a decade of deep diving into a life of simplicity, intentional living, minimalism – whatever you want to call it, I define it as: less bad stuff, like excessive material possessions, tolerations, anchors and digital overload, and more joy, fulfilling relationships, peace and good stuff. I have retired from the 9-5 and curated a lifestyle around a really fun “job”, fantastic people, and product I believe in. That remains a constant source of inspiration and motivation.
Why did you choose to come and trade at The Frome Independent?
It’s a joy to see how Frome has changed over the past 15 years and to have seen The Frome Independent snowball to the juggernaut flag-bearer for small and independent businesses that it is today. Frome and the surrounding areas is home to a fantastic and vibrant creative scene, one which I’m honoured to sort with their vintage workwear needs.
What do you like about market trading – why not just sell online or through retail outlets?
Younger folk than I might tell me I’m using this phrase wrong, but it’s a vibe – it’s a get up at 5:30am, drive as the sun comes up, catch up on your market neighbours’ months, fight a gazebo and enjoy a glorious fresh coffee, before meeting and greeting 100s of nice people who have a shared understanding and appreciation of what the market’s about – vibe. You see old faces, new faces, and each day’s different – purely operating online or from a bricks and mortar premise doesn’t scratch that itch for me right now.
Tell us about your own favourite or best-selling product. How much work goes into creating it, why do you think this is your strongest product?
My favourite and best-selling product is by-far the humble French worker jacket, or blue de travail. It’s ubiquitous appeal I feel sits with its austerity and indiscriminate uniformity. These jackets appeal to all as an everyday staple. I love that the style transcends fashions, trends and fads, and long may it continue, because the high quality and durability of these jackets mean that they will continue! I fall deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole in search of really special pieces – these hunts take me across the UK and Europe. It’s fun, rewarding and I call it work.
What is your favourite Frome shop, or stall to visit at The Frome Independent?
I can’t choose! My market neighbours, Damien and Matthew at Rita Jayne Antiques, and Chantelle at Red Records I look forward to seeing. It’s been great pleasure to spend time with Steph at Style Vintage UK and the Paper Round boys too. However, Claud the Butler is my first friend when I arrive at 7:30am on market day!
And finally, some quick fire questions….
Anything F. Scott Fitzgerald – I was born in the wrong era.
Describe your dream day off.
Everyday that I get in the sea, have fresh coffee, good food and get to listen to good music is a dream day, whether I’m working or not.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m going hard on some 50s and 60s country – Patsy Cline, and Nancy Sinatra (and the Lee Hazelwood albums) are on heavy rotation at the moment.
What are you cooking/ eating / drinking at the moment?
Whiskey Highballs because I’ve overdone the Aperol Spritz.
Cheers! And thank you El! Head along to the Flea in Market Yard on Sunday 4th September where you’ll find El’s & Co