After some technological issues we are back with another Winners profile… Here Fiona Di Tondo Lee tells us a bit about how it all began and the day to day running of the Best Vintage Furniture Shop in Manchester (as voted for by you!) 2012.
“Rose & Lee began as an idea in my front room a little under two years ago, I wanted to bring beautiful furniture into peoples lives at an affordable cost, at the same time feed my passion for interior design and renovation. My father is an antiques dealer so I think my business was my destiny but it took me two degrees and various jobs to figure out that essentially selling and buying beautiful items was in my bones and it would be the only true profession I would be happy in. It took me a year and redundancy to become brave enough to launch Rose & Lee in the late summer of 2011, initially via website and since then everything has been a whirlwind.
The past 14 months have been full of tears, tantrums and above all lots of laughter and smiles, as I have watched the business grow from an idea into a small but nationally recognised little piece of antique and vintage heaven!
To raise the profile of the business on little or no budget I have worked hard via social media, fairs, friends and the vintage network set up by Alison McMath. As a little community of vintage sellers, along with the expert output of VintageManchester.com I have found working within the sector a fabulous experience and i have made so many friends along the way.
The job is hard, I have no idea what a day off is any more, but that is ok, the business is my baby and whatever it takes to be successful is where we are at. Highs go hand in hand with lows and the older and wiser people I have met so far on my journey have kept me grounded and determined to set realistic goals for myself and for the business (anyone who know me will know how impatient I am!).
The business however, is by far the best thing professionally I have done so far in my life, I get to travel all over Europe and to Italy at least once a month to hunt for exquisite new items for the store, I also work hand in hand with my family, including my husband and my father. Which is hard at times but the one thing we can be is 100% honest with each other and I am happy that the family business of antiques is essentially being carried forward by the next generation, I spend much of my time learning as much as I can from my father and his colleagues about the antiques business.
We do at some point plan to open a small shop, which is easily accessible to everyone, currently we have a showroom which is open view by appointment only , we also have a full ‘Hand Made in Manchester’ sofa range in the pipeline. Ultimately I want to continue adding a quirky edge to antiques and vintage furniture and bring the people of Manchester furniture they will treasure for a life time.
We have been featured in various national magazines including, Vogue, The Sunday Times Style Magazine, Easy Living, The Guardian, and BBC Home & Antiques. The most exciting thing other than wining the Vintagemanchester.com award is the upcoming Graham & Brown international advertisement series, where they chose to use all our furniture for their new ‘Cinderella’ wallpaper range, this is due to be launched at the end of November so we are very excited!”
Rose & Lee Vintage The Old School, Walker Street, Radcliffe, Manchester,M26 1FH
Telephone for appointments- 0161 723 1382