454
6 min 58 sec

Vintage Clothing Shop Sells Retro Jeans for Modern Money

The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants turns a love of shopping into an e-commerce shop selling one-of-a-kind vintage clothing.
Product Reselling Retail Student Hustles

Subscribe Now For A Free Five Step Tutorial

What It's About

A first generation immigrant creates a second income buying and reselling vintage clothing.

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & An Eye for Fashion
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Liz used the pop-up shop through Topshop to explore whether her unique vintage items would sell. Much to her surprise, they sold quite well, so she decided to focus on them more. This pop-up shop also made Liz organize and up-level a lot of things about a business: she redid her website, started hiring professionals to photograph her items, and she learned how to use the camera herself.

Fun Fact

You may be wondering about the origins of the name of Liz's shop, Odessa Rae. Well, Odessa is the city in Ukraine where Liz’s parents are from, and Liz started Odessa Rae with her best friend, whose middle name is Rae. Unfortunately, scheduling made it impossible for the friend to remain a partner (she’s a nurse who worked nights), so Liz is running things solo.

Notes from Chris

Episode 454

By day, Liz Zavoyskiy is the business development lead for an entertainment and media investment fund in New York City. By night—and on weekends—she runs Odessa Rae, an online shop that sells custom, one-of-a-kind vintage clothing.

Liz didn’t have plans to open a vintage clothing shop, but a series of events, including an accidental eBay purchase and the launch of a friend’s blog, sent her down the fashion runway.

Liz grew up in Brooklyn, NY, the daughter of two immigrant parents from Odessa, Ukraine. She recalls the immense cultural shock of being around really wealthy people during her freshman year at NYU. The insecurity about her wardrobe, at least in comparison to some of her peers, led her to the vintage shopping world of New York—where she could find special items of clothing, sometimes at a special price—if she looked hard enough. This search eventually morphed into a love of all things pre-owned.

A few years later, in 2016, a friend was launching a blog and wanted a branded piece of clothing for a photo shoot. By this point, Liz had expanded her shopping to eBay and was really into 70s-era denim. She and the friend were browsing eBay and found a vintage Levis denim jacket. They didn’t realize they had placed the winning bid until the jacket showed up at the door a week later.

Liz offered to “bling up” this jacket before her friend’s photo shoot. She borrowed a sewing machine, spent most of a day watching YouTube videos learning how to sew, and delivered a jacket embroidered with a bunch of funky-looking patches. The friend loved it so much that she posted a photo on social media, mentioning that “maybe you could ask her to make one for you.”

Within a half hour, Liz had her first order for a custom jacket from a stranger. This quick success made her think that maybe she could do it more than once.

Because custom jackets were a niche product on social media, she got a lot of early attention in the form of organic press coverage once she built a website for her shop. Her first press feature came a few months after that first custom jacket order, and her shop has since been featured on sites like Elle, InStyle, and ENews.

So what type of profits can be made selling custom vintage clothing? There are good months and bad months, but she usually ends up netting between $1,000 to $1,500 each month. Her startup costs were under $3,000, which covered purchasing sewing machines and setting up her website. The majority of her customers find her on Instagram or through press articles. She updates Odessa Rae once or twice each month with new items but does no paid marketing.

This side hustle not only helped her feel more comfortable around her peers, it also helped build her confidence as an entrepreneur. Liz has truly taken retail therapy to a whole new level!



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Odessa Rae: Vintage threads are always in style—check out Liz's unique creations over on her website and upgrade your wardrobe
  • Elle, InStyle, & ENews: A few of the online media outlets that covered Odessa Rae and drove more traffic Liz's way
  • Topshop: The international retailer of clothing, shoes, make-up, and accessories that saw one of the features and reached out to Liz about doing a pop-up shop at their Soho New York store
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


Download 2019 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL

Download 2018 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Download 2017 episodes: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

Resources

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

Learn More

GET YOUR FIRST 1,000 EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS

Social media is nice, but building an email list is still the single best way to get customers and clients for your hustle. It's not hard to get started—sign up for a 30-day trial and join the list-building challenge! You’ll be up and running in no time.


Learn More

Quote of the Day
"Clothes don't make the person, but a great outfit can help accentuate what's already wonderful on the inside—and making people feel great is what I love to do."
—Liz Zavoyskiy #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

Try ShipStation for 60 Days FREE!

Today’s episode of Side Hustle School is brought to you by ShipStation, the #1 choice of online sellers. 📦

To get a 30-day trial AND an additional month free, click the microphone at the top of their page and enter the word HUSTLE.


Get it Here

Like the Show? Leave a Rating!

Side Hustle School is for you! If you’re enjoying it, please take a quick moment to leave a rating or write a quick review. It's really easy and it makes a difference! ✅

It also makes a huge difference when you tell your friends about the show. Remember, it's 100% free and listener-supported.


Here's How

Keep in Touch

There’s a new story every single day on Side Hustle School. Episodes are produced to be short and to the point—I know you’re busy. Be sure you subscribe to get instant notification of the day’s broadcast!





To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau