Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Giana and I run The Greedy Seagull. I live in Astoria, Queens, right outside Manhattan with my husband and chihuahua. I’m originally from southern California; I moved here 4 years ago after graduating college with an art history degree. I needed a change and good job, and though I never thought I’d end up owning a vintage business, I certainly found both!
Tell us a little about your shop
My shop is my baby. I hand pick every item for quality, wearability and uniqueness. I love to stock sturdy leather basics that will last forever, feminine dresses, and well made wardrobe staples for ladies of all sizes and shapes. Though I will sometimes stock rather flamboyant pieces that I can’t resist, you can always count on finding things in my shop that work with a modern wardrobe.
What inspired you to start your own vintage shop?
I’ve worn and loved vintage since I was 12, and have always been a bit of a hustler so selling vintage kind of came naturally to me. Like a lot of people, I just had too much in my own closet because I couldn’t bear to leave things behind that didn’t fit. I also needed something to do while my husband was in law school studying all the time, and I figured it may as well make some money.
What pleasures do you gain from being your own boss?Gee, where do I even start? I like the fact that I only answer to myself and that I don’t have to do the same thing every week. I love that if I feel tired or sick, I can sleep in a few extra hours or take a nap. What I love the most is that I can see a direct correlation between how hard I work and my income; it’s what keeps me motivated!
Take us through a typical day of running your business
I don’t really have a typical day; sometimes I plan to do one thing and end up in another state if I get a good lead for vintage. When I’m not out buying, days often go like this:
I wake up when my husband does and make his breakfast and get him out the door. I answer convos from the previous night and list new items. I pull out items for afternoon photos and steam, mend and prep them. Mid afternoon, I start packing up orders for the post office. I take photos late afternoon when the light is good, then walk packages to the post office. When I come home, I edit pics and measure things. I go to the gym and cook dinner, then often do more work when I’m done.
When I’m out buying, I usually get up at 4:30 am, caffeinate myself, and drive really far. I run around like a maniac scooping things up, drink more coffee and drive back.
How would you describe your customer?
My customers are the nicest people on earth, I swear. They are all ages and have different styles but all appreciate beautiful quality vintage.
Do you have a favorite time period?
I simply can’t pick one favorite, but I love the 40’s, 50’s and 70’s because they embodied romance and femininity. There was also a great attention to detail in cuts, prints, and embellishment during these eras.
When you find yourself in a ‘creative rut’ (if so) how do you overcome those obstacles?
When I’m in a rut I like to travel, even if it’s just a nice long drive. I like to get out into nature, it’s what inspires me most. Also, doing something physical like running or yoga helps to rewire my brain.
What type of successful tools would you share with an inspiring shop owner?
I recommend defining your signature style from day one. Needless to say it will evolve, but know what you do and don’t love and stick with it. Reinvest your profits into your business in the beginning and buy the right tools, it will pay off. Also, be patient; successful businesses are not built overnight! And lastly, build solid relationships with your customers; you won’t just make money, you’ll make wonderful friends.