Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sisters perk up clothes business -

Sisters perk up clothes business
Sunday, November 02, 2008 By Cheryl Rickard
Sisters Sharon and Lisa Perkins turned their love of vintage clothes into a business last August, opening Perk Up! in Dublin to sell classic pieces and reworked garments.

Sharon previously worked as a freelance interior designer and as a production manager in the events industry. She moved to Australia for four years, completing a visual arts degree and setting up a vintage clothes stall at a market there.

‘‘Influenced by the vast array of amazing vintage clothes and the fashion scene in Melbourne, I felt I could inject a little of the same back home for Irishwomen,” she said.

Lisa was a holistic health therapist before managing a Dublin health centre and retail outlet for five years. On a career break, she joined Sharon in Melbourne and helped with the stall. ‘‘It was such an exciting time, as we had always worn and collected vintage clothing for ourselves and were delighted to get involved in a business we were both so passionate about,” said Lisa.

The sisters talked about the possibility of a similar venture in Ireland, and when they returned Lisa took a business course and the store location in the loft market of the Powerscourt Townhouse. After finding a dressmaker to look after the Perk Up! Revamp range, which Sharon designs, the shop was stocked with garments from estate sales, auctions and markets across Europe. Specialist buyers are also used.

The store has a number of designer pieces by Armani, Pierre Cardin and Laurence Kazar. Lisa sees vintage clothes as smart purchases.

‘‘Good vintage garments will increase in value as time goes on, so are investment buys, unlike high street garments, which decrease in value the moment you wear them.”

According to Sharon, the appeal of vintage clothing has grown. ‘‘In today’s economic climate, women are looking for affordable high-quality pieces. When buying vintage, they are guaranteed that it’s a one-of-a-kind item they definitely won’t see on anyone else.”

Both women believe that people now look for clothes that aren’t mass-produced. Perk Up! is open from Fridays to Sundays, and an alteration service is available at an extra cost. The sisters will also soon launch their website.

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