Craig Irvin, 23, shop-owner

I started selling clothes when I was 15, on ASOS marketplace. I traded T-shirts, sweatshirts and saw that there was a market for vintage clothes, so I started buying pieces on eBay and selling them on.

I ran the whole business throughout studying for a degree in business, keeping my stock in a warehouse in Fairlie. I started negotiating the leases for a store whilst I was in my last year at uni and got my keys two days after I handed in my dissertation.

We opened in July 2017, starting in Saltmarket because it was affordable and there were similar shops around. I’m from the seaside, which is why it’s called West Vintage. A year on, we opened a shop on Great Western Road. I think that the shop could do well in Edinburgh, so I’m interested in opening up a store there next.

I always liked the idea of a vintage store that was a bit more curated than other shops, that seemed to be piles of clothes chucked onto rails or mixed up. In West Vintage it’s really tidy, well-presented and displayed by range. They’re light and airy – we didn’t want to have it dark and dingy and bursting full, like it’s about to cave in on you. People come in and say, “It doesn’t smell in here”, like they’re surprised. No one wants to shop in that environment.

I’m not that strict about the era of the clothes: it’s more the quality of the stock I’m strict about. It needs to be something that’s good quality and on-trend: 70s collar shirts wouldn’t sell right now. I try to keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground. I react to the trends elsewhere quicker and bring them to Glasgow. For example, I saw in London that people were wearing old Dickies military boiler suits. I got some in and they’ve been a really good seller.

When I first started dealing with people, they thought I was taking the p*** because I was so young. They wouldn’t listen to me and suppliers could be difficult. After I started employing people, I earned more respect in the industry. Meeting and interacting with other people who are young and creative and wanting to do something out of the realms of normality gives you freedom to believe in your own enterprises.

Glasgow is a really creative city, and there is so much going on. It has a collaborative spirit, and if that wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be here. I could go down to London and make it work, but I don’t want to; Glasgow is the only city I want to live in.

The high street will be dead soon. My customers are so conscious about how they source their clothes; buying quality, expensive pieces that last or, buying vintage. I think that’s another attraction to buying vintage; you know it will last longer, because its already lasted till now. They’re so wise the dangers of fast-fashion to independent traders and the environment as well.

I started West Vintage small let it snowball it instead of jumping in. You don’t need to come from money or privilege. If you’re passionate and serious about it, don’t let anything hold you back – the independence and satisfaction from running your own business is worth its weight in gold.

Someone asked me yesterday, ‘why do you think your stores are doing so well when there are so many other vintage shops in Glasgow?’.

All I could say was that the other stores aren’t run by people who are in the same age-bracket than most of their customers. I spend a lot of my time hanging about in places where my customers go, and I see what people are wearing and adapt to it.

West Vintage, 699 Great Western Road and 30 Saltmarket. Instagram: @west.vintage

Carla Jenkins