Job: Owner, Rewind Vintage, a vintage clothing and accessories store in northeast Minneapolis
Salary: You're not going to get rich doing it. But you can make a living.
Education/experience: I went to college for humanities and comparative literature/cultural studies. But I worked basically in the retail field since I was in high school. I worked at Ragstock. I worked at Opitz Outlet as a buyer. I managed a nonprofit thrift store for five years. So [resale is] all I've really done.
Have you always had an interest in resale? Definitely. My grandpa was a volunteer for the Salvation Army in a small town in southern Minnesota, and I remember being a kid and riding in the truck with him picking up donations and just being fascinated by the whole idea of other people's stuff, that there's value in that.
What were you doing before you opened your store? I was working as a store manager for a nonprofit thrift store for five years. [Then] my mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, so she had like a six-month life expectancy. So at that point I made a major change in my life. Instead of working full-time, 50 hours a week, I wanted to be with her. So what I decided to do was to sell on eBay. I left my job and we started selling online. Actually, we were doing really well. My husband was still working at that point, so he quit his job, and we did eBay full-time for over a year. And then I had a girlfriend who owned an antique mall in Uptown and she asked if I wanted to try selling there, too. And so I did.
Do you think all of your retail experience has helped you? Yes. And management experience. And people skills. You have to know how to deal with people. Because people have an emotional attachment to their items. Especially the items that I sell. So you have to know how to do that. And it isn't always easy.
What were your expectations when you opened your store? Originally it was more like a part-time job. We hoped to break even. And we found out quickly that we were actually able to make a living doing it. We don't do eBay anymore. My husband has a different job and I just focus on the shop.
Who is your main customer? I would say a female between the ages of 18 and 30.
Why did you focus your store on that market? Probably because that [market is] what I've always done. And that's what I was interested in. So it kind of felt natural to me. I really wanted it to be affordable. I love it when a girl can walk out of there and spend like 60 bucks and basically have a whole outfit, a dress, a belt, a pair of earrings, her shoes.
Has the economy or recession affected you at all? That's a tough one to answer ... my business has grown ... from the day that it's opened. I went from being open four days a week, and it just being me, to now I'm open seven days a week and I have three employees. I mean, it feels like fashion is so much more out there right now and more accessible to people that we're able to really use that to our advantage.
Do you see the business changing or expanding? I do. I see it expanding. Probably a second location. Most likely in St. Paul or south [Minneapolis]. But that's a ways out. That's where our target market is. We started out in Northeast just because there wasn't a vintage store over here yet. As far as I know, we're the only one. And this is kind of an up-and-coming area.