The Story of Frockify, Part I
It all started when I rode my bicycle to the flea market over on Fairfax and Melrose called the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood one Sunday in 2014. I’ve always loved going to fleas. I’ve always loved buying vintage. But, it was there when I had an “aha” moment. This lady that had some vintage clothing items and other knick knacks had a pair of 70’s 501 Levi’s cutoff shorts that were priced at $15. They weren’t my size, but I had to buy them. They were SO cheap. I didn’t understand why she would sell these amazing shorts, this piece of history, for a lousy $15 – you can’t even find crappy shorts for $15 at H&M. So I went up to her and took out some cash. She said, “These might not fit you, they’re pretty small”. Like, what? What’s it to you? I was a little offended, but she was totally right. I told her they were for someone else, paid, and walked away.
I started walking around the flea and the other vendors were priced more appropriately. I think the first chick I went to was just trying to make a quick buck that day and didn’t really take the time to research her items, or price them correctly. Which turned out great for me, perhaps it was meant to be? And that’s totally fine, but it does make it harder for other vendors if shoppers expect them all to be inexpensive. I started to get that nervous/excited feeling where you get butterflies in your stomach but you don’t know why. I was thinking I should just post those shorts up onto Etsy and sell them at a higher, more worthy price, and make a few bucks on them too.
So I went home and snapped a few photos of the shorts on my fake hardwood floor. I created an Etsy account and I wondered what I should call my store… I just settled with my name, Dakota Jeane. Then I listed the shorts. I wondered how long it would take for them to sell.
That night when Michael came home from work I told him what I did. I was so excited. I felt like I somehow cheated the system; like as if no one in the world ever thought to go to a flea and resell an item… But he was super excited for me and encouraged me to put up some more things, maybe some of my vintage stuff I haven’t worn in a long time. I couldn't shut up that night about the history of Levi's, how you can date them, how much they're worth, what other brands sell them for, and so on. I knew what I was talking about, I just needed to develop a plan on how to sell them.
At the time, I was working for DASH and was in the process of creating their website. This was new territory for me. I had worked at Nicole Miller previously, and worked closely with the Director of eCommerce and learned a lot from her. I knew where to start, but had to get outside help in order to execute a website. It was really important for me and for my bosses that the website represent the brand in a positive way and show the elevated experience we wanted to provide our clients. I was thinking about that for me, too, with my own branding, and how I wanted to share these pair of shorts to the world. I know it seems ridiculous, but this one item was important to me. I didn’t want to just snap some photos from my iPhone 5 of these shorts on some faux wood, put it up online, and be ok with that. I wouldn’t buy them. What work did I REALLY do to earn a customer’s trust?
So I decided I would need to make my own website. I started to dream about how I wanted it to look. How I wanted to share these shorts to the masses. Michael and I went to a bunch of thrift stores the next few weeks and bought things we liked and thought would sell. Side note: We literally have most of those items still, not hot sellers. HA! But, we were having so much fun!
At that time it wasn't very serious, so we would just pop into Goodwill or Out of the Closet and buy what we thought was pretty cool. I remember we went into a Goodwill and Michael went left to the men’s side and I went right to the women’s. I was feeling a little discouraged because I went through every item on the rack and I wasn’t finding anything I thought would really sell. My motto was (and still is) “Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean it’s good.” Michael found a few things, one of which was this awesome 50’s sweater. It was priced at like $5. We went to go pay for it, and to the cashier I said, “There are a few holes here from moth bites”, as I pointed to the bottom of the sweater. They ended up giving it to us for $3.
We figured this could be easy. We could just go from thrift store to thrift store, buy some cool things, and sell them. Thrift store after thrift store we realized they have all been picked thin. There was nothing that great. Sometimes we would find something we loved, but that was becoming more and more rare. So we slowly stopped going to thrift stores, and put this project on hold.
A few weeks later we got married in Durango, CO where I grew up as a kid. It was such a fun wedding – we had a ton of family and friends from all over show up in the small town. My cousin Suzy and David opened up their home and farm to us for our special day. When we were driving back home to West Hollywood, we had to make a stop in Las Vegas, naturally. All of our big decisions are always made in Vegas… While gambling and honey-mooning, we decided we should head back to NYC since LA wasn’t really our scene. (PS - we're from Phx, AZ, moved to NYC in 2011, moved to LA for one year in 2013.)
We moved back to NYC late 2014 and each got new jobs. I was so busy and so stressed with my new job I had no time for “Dakota Jeane”. I was running an already-established website, as well as retail stores, for a large fashion brand, Haute Hippie. I gained a ton of insight into that world, learning so many new things in regard to eCommerce. I was involved in doing photoshoots, buys, using Magento to create products and variants, shipping items to customers, and so on. If I didn’t have this experience, I would not know how to run my own website.
As fate would have it, I was laid off in June of 2015 and that was the perfect time to start my business. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? That it would fail and I would find another job? So I did it. I remembered that I had this sort of wannabe fashion blog I started back in 2010 that I called Frockify, and thought that was still a cool name. Frockify. Yes, let’s frock…
(One of our fave hang out spots in West Hollywood. We hear that Jim Morrison peed on the bar here once.)
(My bosses, Miami employees and I (in blue skirt) in the Miami DASH store.)
(Us at Disneyland! A place we frequented.)
(Our wedding in Durango, CO.)
(Back in NYC!)
Stay tuned for the Story of Frockify Part II coming soon.
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