From Martial Arts to Vintage at The Vault
It is the last day of the Sheffield Antiques Quarter’s celebration of National Antiques Week and Sheffield Unchained has had a great week visiting some of the independents in the Quarter to find out the stories behind their businesses. Dianne Hayes, the new owner of The Vault, tells us about her journey from teaching martial arts to running a Vintage shop…
In October 2011 Tracy Webb transformed The Vault from a 100-year-old bank on the corner of the Abbeydale and Sheldon Road into an arts, crafts and vintage centre. Since then The Vault has come under new management by a former Martial Arts teacher.
Dianne Hayes started at The Vault as a trader in August 2012:
“I was into making handicraft and revamping clothes and bags. Tracy and I sort of hit it off and after a month I stopped doing the clothes and started doing Vintage. Then I started working for Tracy on a voluntary basis and I just loved it.”
Martial Arts to Vintage
Dianne, 46, has only been a trader since August 2012, before that she spent over twenty years helping her husband teach Martial Arts. Dianne’s husband, Mark Hayes has been doing Martial Arts since he was 16 years old and he is the world champion in Eskrima, which is Philipino stick fighting. Mark teaches at the Combined Fighting Arts Centre near Devonshire Green in Sheffield.
Mark’s instructors Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo were the senior instructors under Bruce Lee before he died. Dianne said that Mark is now qualified under Dan and Richard to teach Jeet Kune Do, which is a martial arts system developed by Bruce Lee.
Dianne and Mark met when Mark almost ran Dianne over on a motorbike:
“I was friends with Mark’s brother and I was talking to him and his mates, when I turned around and Mark ran into me with his motorbike and knocked me over. So I made him take me out for a drink as punishment and he has been punished ever since.”
Dianne has lived in Sheffield all her life and has three girls aged 27, 19 and 14. Dianne stopped teaching Martial Arts when she found that she couldn’t train after she had to have surgery on her knees. Dianne was quick to point out that the surgery had nothing to do with Martial Arts. She said she found it hard to be involved when she couldn’t train with her husband, so she started drifting away from the sport. Dianne said that this was when she started trading in vintage and arts.
Just before Christmas in 2012 Tracy informed Dianne that she was going to have to close The Vault as she no longer had the time to run the shop. Dianne offered to take over The Vault and on 18th March 2013 she became the new owner. Dianne said she is very grateful for all the help she has had from Tracy:
“Tracy is still helping me and pointing me in the right direction with things, which I really appreciate.”
Something for everybody
Dianne said she would describe the new Vault as a place where there is “anything and everything, you’ve got things from a button right up to a three piece suite. Some vintage, some retro, collectors items, shabby chic, ethnic arts and then you’ve got your gallery with artwork, photography and sculptures.”
When Dianne took over The Vault she had been running a tearoom offering tea and scones. However she felt that The Vault needed something different.
“Tea and scones in Nether Edge is not what people want.” The Vault now houses Mabel’s Cafe, which offers a selection of homemade food, including homemade bread and cakes, coffees and a variety of teas. Dianne said she wants the cafe to be somewhere where people can grab something nice and then browse the shop:
“We’ve got no objections to people buying a coffee and walking around with their coffee looking at the shop.”
The Quarter’s community spirit
Dianne feels that being part of the Antiques Quarter has created a community spirit and brought more people to the area:
“Its brilliant because if we haven’t got what people are looking for we can pass them on to someone else in the Antiques Quarter, so we help each other out and I don’t think people would do this if we weren’t in the Antiques Quarter. It has also led to us having a lot of visitors from places like Manchester and people are coming specifically to do the Antiques trail. We’ve even had someone come from Edinburgh to pick a up piece of furniture that they had seen a photo of on our facebook page.”
Unlike some of the older Antiques shops in the Quarter, The Vault uses social media like twitter and facebook to advertise and trade their items rather than relying entirely on word of mouth:
“We use social media because we are still pretty new, so people don’t always know to come here, but this is already changing as more people learn about The Vault from facebook and The Antiques Quarter.”
Read more about The Vault in our previous article, which also talks about the emergence of Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter.