Kat and Emma, founders of Dot & Dol Vintage travelling shop


The last thing I expected on a Saturday morning at the kids swimming lessons was to bump into a long lost friend and to then start gushing over her vintage start-up business. But that’s exactly what happened and the rest, as they say, is history…

Vintage clothing is a bit like marmite, you either love, love, love it, or absolutely loathe it…

I A.DORE it dahling *puts on best Craig Revel Horwood voice (and Marmite too!) So you can imagine my piss-pants joy when I discovered that a pal from my Beauty Editor days had started up a joint business venture selling vintage clothes – with another pal from my Fashion Editor days (do keep up)  And get this!?  It was all local too!

You see, back in the days when I worked in London, getting my vintage clothing fix was easy. I’d hit up places in the East End or head West to places like Portabello. Like a kid in a sweetshop, I’d scour thrift shops like Beyond Retro and Rokit. But I don’t really get a chance to do that much these days and while there are lots of great charity shops locally,  I’d have to rummage really long and hard before I found that true style bargain from yesteryear.

So it’s fairly safe to say that vintage shopping wasn’t really something leafy Surrey sold itself on – until Dot & Dol *claps hands excitedly

Allow me to introduce you…

Kat and Emma, founders of Dot & Dol Vintage travelling shop

Dot & Dol are Kat Mackie (L) and Emma O’Leary (R). Emma says: “Our name combines Kat’s youngest child, Dottie and my eldest daughter, Dolcie.”


Kat: “Dot & Dol is a travelling, pop up, vintage shop. We started up over a year ago with an old, beaten up 60s horse box that we found online for a couple of hundred pounds. We slaved over it for months in our spare time – with babies by our sides – and turned it into a walk in shop with flooring, rails and everything.”


Emma: “We go way back, we both did a Fashion Design degree at what is now the UCA. Our friendship cemented over our love of second hand clothes and vintage pieces. I then had a long career in fashion and beauty PR and marketing, while Kat worked as a stylist and all the while she’d be whispering in my ear about setting up shop! It wasn’t until we both independently moved back to the leafy suburbs of Surrey to raise children, that Dot & Dol became a viable option for us both to explore. It is now the baby of our broods.”


Emma: “We’re super realistic, we have to be, we’re both full time parents so from the very beginning we didn’t put any unnecessary pressure on ourselves to achieve XYZ within a certain time frame. Not to say we don’t have a plan, we certainly do! Selling vintage by its very nature is a very organic process, and we like to keep it simple. We source and buy vintage stock in relatively small quantities, even individually and sell at vintage fairs and markets. Even when we get our online shop, which we’re in the process of creating right now, we will still head out to markets as much as we can because it’s great to see peoples appreciation for what we have lovingly curated.”


Kat: “We know that current fashion trends are cyclical, which stands us in good stead for our mini mission of prolonging the life of good quality, vintage clothes and stop them going to land fill.”

“In the U.K, 350,000 tonnes of good quality clothes go in the bin! ”

“We both very much feel that when you wear vintage, you don’t have to recreate the past, you have to make it your own. Be guided by your own body shape, colour palettes, even era and more importantly what you feel good in. That’s the beauty of vintage, there’s not just one season to shop from, there’s decades of choice!”


Emma: “Our personal styles are so contrasting, which is why we work so well together. Between us we cover a broad spectrum of colours, eras and patterns! Kat has been likened to a pantomime dame (by her kids!) she’s an explosion of colour and print clash, whereas I favour more boho muted tones and soft prints and textures.”

Emma o’Leary, founder of Dot & Dol
Kat Mackie, founder of Dot & Dol

Kat: “It’s still a common perception by many that vintage can be ‘difficult’ to wear and we hear so often that “vintage just doesn’t suit me.” or “I’m not brave enough to wear that.” It doesn’t have to be that way. We hope the way we present our vintage pieces, which we style up in to full outfits, with accessorize, whilst mix and matching eras and prints, helps our customers to see the versatility and fun of vintage shopping.”


Emma: “For this winter, you couldn’t get more of a 70s influence, it’s amazing! We’re seeing a lot of high collared dresses with long puff sleeves in delicious ditsy prints. Then there’s pussy bow blouses, silk retro prints and velvet is big this winter again, too. Wide leg trousers in jumbo-cord and the return to rich caramel colours work well in autumn and seasonal checks and tweed coats are back with stylish statement collars. There’s even a nod to the 80s with houndstooth jackets, big lapels and power shoulders. We really are in our element with the real deal, on tap, for our customers.”


Emma: “I post my outfits everyday on Instagram @vintageinsurburbia and of course, it’s always vintage! I rarely shop on the high street.”

“I really struggle with online clothes shopping too! I just love getting involved, getting touchy feely with fabrics!”

Kat: “Our  Dot & Dol website is currently cooking and we’ve got an Etsy site just around the corner too. We post regularly to our Facebook page and we take orders from there as well as our Dot & Dol Instagram account.

In terms of pop-ups and markets, we will be at the following venues below, so do come along and say Hi. We’d love to meet you.”

21st & 22nd October ’17

Kingston Ancient Market, Kingston Upon Thames

11th November’17

Vintage Fashion Fair Farnham, The Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey

19th November’17

Pop Up Vintage Fair Alexandra Palace, London


  • Ooh! This looks right up my street -and local too! I’ve long given up trying to find any gems as I just don’t have the time. I’d love a rummage – will definitely try and check them out on one of the dates above! Remind me to tell you about Ooh La La Vintage – I’ve got some amazing pieces from the girl that runs it!

    • Do try and catch them at one of the dates Angelina – what these girls don’t know about vintage clothes isn’t worth knowing FT xoxo

    • They are so, so stylish, proper lovely girls and great ambassadors of start-up Mums in business. FT xoxo

  • Oh my god I LOVE there stuff. Have followed all their social media accounts and look forward to the launch of their website!

    • They are AWESOME, right? Yes, hold tight, the website and Etsy launch is round the corner, keep checking in FT xoxo

  • Love this interview. I too used to like scouring vintage shops in pre-kid days… used to love a car boot sale too! It’s the hunter element – not knowing what you’ll find, and making that personal connection with the vendor…

    • TOTALLY! You’ve nailed it. Not knowing and then then utter GLEE when you do, is priceless. Glad to find another vintage/bargain/car boot lover. I ADORE all three! FT xoxo

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