bounce – the destination for vintage clothing

Bounce has become a destination for vintage clothing.  People travel from far and wide to Folkestone, to browse their collection.  Saul and Rachel Kitchen opened the first Bounce shop in 2016 with support from Creative Folkestone, having toured the country with their stock.  They’ve also opened 3 huts at Folkestone Harbour’s Marketplace, open on weekends and bank holidays.  Now, sitting comfortably on the settee in the shop at the bottom of The Old High Street they talked to Folkelife about the Bounce family and ethos.

Saul: “Bounce started online with Rachel selling her dad’s clothes on eBay.  She was lecturing at the University of Creative Arts in Maidstone at the time and made enough money during the summer break for a decent holiday.  I was working as a Creative Director, and although this was a creative job, it was too corporate and stressful – I needed to get out.  No one’s epitaph was ever ‘I didn’t spend enough time in the office’.  I wanted to change what my work and life looked like.”

work life balance

Saul: “I was reading a book called ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferris which challenges the conventional 9-5 job existence.  I’d also read Tom Hodgkinson’s ‘How To Be Free’, and ‘How To Be Idle’.  All three books helped me radically change the way I thought about how I spent my life.”

Rachel: “The book isn’t using ‘idle’ in it’s common meaning of ‘lazy’, but redefining it.  The old fashioned sense of the word ‘idle’ focuses on resting and thinking, exploring a contemplative approach to work.  There’s a different perspective of a relaxed way of life, enjoying it as it comes rather than toiling for an imagined better future.”

Saul: “So I quit my job and sold clothes online – which ultimately led to the birth of Bounce.  Obviously we don’t work a four hour week!  Neither does the author of the book.” 

Bounce Rachel and Saul
Bounce at Folkestone Harbour Marketplace
Bounce Harbour Marketplace
Bounce Stripy Shirts

It was always vintage

Both Rachel and Saul have always worn vintage since they were teenagers.  Saul still has a trilby that he bought in Birmingham in 1989.

Saul: “The thing about vintage is the discovery.  Going out and finding a gem in a vintage shop creates a much stronger bond with your clothing than you normally get when buying a new item from a fashion retailer.”

Rachel: “I remember what I first fancied about Saul was his collection of second hand brogues and his American oversize cream vintage leather jacket…”

Saul: “I bought that from Flip of Hollywood in Newcastle in 1990.  There were a couple of shops in London and a few up north.  They had a strong influence on both of us back then, as well as on Bounce now. A number of customers have mentioned that Bounce reminds them of Flip of Hollywood.”

the first bounce

Rachel and Saul wanted an abstract word that encapsulated the feeling of the shop.  Throwing words back and forth to each other on a journey to a vintage fair somewhere in the country, Rachel said ‘Bounce’, and the graphic designer in Saul immediately saw the logo.  Bounce was born.  The word is cheerful and playful, whilst reflecting the ethos of the company: sustainability through the circular economy of giving new life to beautiful clothes that bounce back.

Rachel: “The word bounce is associated with cheerful things: bouncy balls, trampolines, bouncy castles and of course bouncing back. One of the brilliant things about vintage clothes is that their size or gender doesn’t really matter.  For example: petite girls often buy XXL (originally men’s) denim jackets, while 28″ waist skaters are buying 38″ waist Dickies – to be worn super baggy with a belt.  It doesn’t matter, that’s the beauty of vintage clothing, it is for everyone and can be worn how you want to wear it.”

Saul: “What we realised when we were at vintage fairs was that by selling online we were missing the personal interaction with our customers.  We missed seeing their excitement when discovering a unique piece.  Therefore, by having a shop, we could offer something you don’t get online.”

bounce – the next step

Rachel: “For us the logical next step from the vintage fairs was to focus locally on our beloved home town of Folkestone.  We did a few pop ups with Andy and Sam at Space, with Dr Legumes doing their amazing vegan food and Space providing the beer!  It was dreamy and a good way of testing the Folkestone market.”

Saul: “We then went on to have a stall on the car park of the Harbour Arm.  The market wasn’t in a sheltered spot as it is now so we’d brave the wind and the rain but loved to be a part of it.  I can remember holding down the clothes rails to keep them from blowing away!”

Rachel: “We realised through this and our experience at Space that there was a real local desire for vintage clothing.  What’s really lovely now that we have a shop, is that we’ve seen some of our customers who were teenagers when we started, grow up with Bounce and are still shopping with us.  Vintage clothing has contributed to some of them finding their identity.”

bounce ethos

Rachel: “It’s important that our shop is a welcoming and safe space for our customers.  At the heart of our values is kindness. We never want anyone to feel they are being judged for who they are or what they wear. All are welcome.  Customers are offered an espresso.  All dogs get a biscuit.  Shopping is a social process.  The shopping experience must be special.”

Saul: “We are so happy that people are able to relax in Bounce, make new friends and meet old ones.  We’ve seen customers come in and start chatting to others and make social or business connections. Some people have even moved to Folkestone on the strength of a conversation with someone else in the shop.  Bounce has become far more a part of the community than we ever imagined.  It’s important to us that Bounce always talks up other shops, businesses and Folkestone – so check out the brilliant Ben’s Vintage and Courting Lilly Vintage shops!  Folkestone is very fortunate to have The Old High Street with its community of shops, artists and residents.” 

Rachel: “Bounce has a central core of kindness.  When you get the core values right, everything else seems to follow.”


Rachel: “It is exciting that vintage and the circular economy is becoming mainstream.  In fact, sustainable fashion – such as vintage – has influenced some high street fashion brands to buy back their old stock from customers.  They are then re-sold to try and break the fast fashion cycle of a throw away culture.”

Saul: “Sustainability is central to Bounce.  Not only are we sourcing and selling vintage clothes – a form of recycling, we also hate waste at Bounce.  We do not throw any item away – our clothes are either beautifully repaired or re-worked to create a unique vintage piece.  If they can’t be repaired, we often give them away.  We have a workshop a few doors down on Tontine Street where our clothes are washed, repaired (if necessary), steamed and prepped for the shops.”

Rachel: “Many people have had enough of fast fashion.  They realise the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment and are wanting something different.  Buying vintage and preloved is not only about enjoying unique and classic fashion pieces, it’s taking a step away from the unethical and unsustainable ‘Fast Fashion’ mentality. Vintage is the perfect antidote to fast fashion.”

regeneration of a town

Rachel: “Without the redevelopment of Folkestone’s Old High Street by Creative Folkestone (CF) we may never have taken the leap of opening a physical shop. The CF are creating opportunities for local business owners to start up new ventures.  This is stimulating regeneration and creative enterprise in Folkestone, which leads to more visitors and more investment.  In our business plan for our first shop on The Old High Street, our stated aim was to employ local people and invest in Folkestone.  We now have ten members of staff on our books.  Five people work out of our Folkestone shop and soley rely on the business to pay their bills.  Bounce and other local independent businesses are employing local people, bringing local, national and international customers to Folkestone.  These customers spend money in the local area that in turn creates a sustainable economy.  It’s wonderful!”

Saul: “We don’t see other shops in Folkestone as the competition.  If people come to us, they’re coming to Folkestone, so we tell them about other shops and businesses.  Other seaside towns in Kent and even as far as Brighton are Folkestone’s competition.  We want customers to come here and support Folkestone.  It is very exciting to be a part of Folkestone’s regeneration.”

Bounce Sunnies Harbour Marketplace
Bounce Harbour Marketplace
Mini Bounce
Clothing sign
Bounce Hawaiian Shirts
Bounce Reverse Sign

discover more about folkestone below

Create, work and live – The Creative Quarter
The Place To Be – Folkestone Harbour
Festivals and Family Events – the Folkestone Quarterhouse
The Tower Theatre – One of the Oldest AmDrams in the UK

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