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How One Man Turned His Love Of Vintage Streetwear Into A Legit Business

Geo Dineros of Vintage Vault does it not just to pay the bills, but because he has a passion for thrifting
by Ash Mahinay | Sep 3, 2018
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Vintage Vault is a small boutique dedicated to thrifted, second-hand streetwear and vintage items—and it's also the culmination of a four-year journey for Geo Dineros, the business' owner. After starting out in shared spaces else where, he's accumulated enough experience, success, and funds to open his very own shop in Zapote, Makati. We love clothes and we love successful entrepreneurial stories, so we had to speak to Geo and find out just how he did it.

How long have you been selling clothes for a living?

It’s been my job for almost four years na. I started with online selling of streetwear and vintage actually before I decided to make a store named Uncommon that operated for almost a year. Then I moved to Sole Slam with Antonio [Aguirre Jr., the owner] for a year as well. After that I opened Vintage Vault in Makati just last August 4. I run this solo.

What did you do before that?

I was a BPO agent back then, so sideline lang yung selling of clothes but hilig ko na siya ever since high school days—I would buy stuff to use for skateboarding and also sell some to my close friends and family members para libre yung binili ko, ha ha!

Where do you source your merchandise?

For merch, I go to thrift shops, I buy stuff from online, and I buy stuff from friends in the thrift business. It’s one way to help out the community as well—as one of the OG’s said: “If you do it for the community, the community will love you and the cash will follow.”

No need to legit check the Chanel here fam.

So you could say Vintage Vault is a more curated selection of stuff that's already out there.

Absolutely, because what I do right now is select the best from everything that I get. The clothes are already great and hopefully people will love them, too. With this store, I also have my fellow thrifters help me out—when I’m out of town they are the ones who handle the store. I haven’t hired staff yet because I want to be fully involved and focused with everything.

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And do you make enough to live off of it?

Absolutely. I pay rent. I eat right. I help the family and the community—everybody gains profit.

Did all the funds to put up the store come from selling clothes?

Yes, the funds were all from selling clothes from Sole Slam backdoor sale [those were my weekly drops back then].

What is pricing like? Your opening day had this P300-P500 bin promo for example.

With the P300 to P500 bins, that was during the opening day. I had stuff like Stussy, Bape, and other vintage stuff that I sold for that amount. As of now, we don’t have the P300 margin since this is more curated stuff compared to before. But, what we will do is to have monthly sales to give back to the community as well.

Vintage means pieces like this Tommy Hilfiger duffle bag too.

You don’t post prices on IG. Some sellers do, some don’t—what’s the rationale behind this?

I don’t put prices on IG. The thing about that is if we post prices, people would get the prices and there would be no communication with the seller and buyer. I’d rather sell something to someone interested in the item rather than people who will just browse. If you’re interested in something, you would ask right? And it took years to know the business of vintage—that’s not something I’ll give away instantly.

Fair point. There are also more resellers of secondhand/thrifted stuff especially with regards to streetwear than, say, four years ago when you started. Has this affected you?

Yeah, it’s part of the business actually. People will be interested in something especially if you are gaining money. The thing is how you learn to cope with the challenges of this business. Actually, in all other businesses you should always expect competition. That’s why I help the community and the community would help me. I buy stuff from them and even though I spend more, it’s fine as long as we help each other.

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Layant Tuliao together with Abner Ramos (below)Photo by Geo Dineros
They were friends who "helped me build the store kasi we did it personally. We didn't hire carpenters so we could feel the sacrifice of it."Photo by Geo Dineros

Is it harder to find stocks to sell with all the players in the game?

Well, it is harder because a lot of people are getting interested in this stuff, but it’s beautiful because the culture is getting bigger. Before we were selling streetwear for cheap—right now, the prices are way more different. It’s supply and demand actually [and demand is going up].

Remember when these shirts were streetwear af?

Why open a physical store in this age of IG and FB selling?

People are fond of online selling kasi it's convenient and fast. I even started by selling online as well. The greatest difference of this age is they dont want interaction, they want it fast. The reason why I opened a physical store is that I'm an old-school person. I like the traditional way of doing business and I'm into conversations, sharing of ideas, and the fun of the hunt. To go to a store and find that is hard! Years before, when the internet wasn't booming, I was already hunting for shoes. Those were the Multiply days, the very first skate shop I knew was Melrose [near Timog] and Jackass was the shit. Even WELEGENDARY in Kamuning was hard to find before—I'm a fan of that kind of hunt.

And even though you could potentially make more by selling online, you'd rather keep it real with Vintage Vault?

It depends [if you could make more] but, yes, you can always sell online because it has no cost but the feel of going to a certain store where you can bargain is way different. I'm doing this because I love the culture and I'm passionate about it. I'm not making a lot of money if that's what you're thinking. I'm making enough money to sustain my daily living, but I'm happy with what I'm doing. It has pros and cons but you can come to the store and just hang out and ask me stuff and I dont mind. We just do this for the community.

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Which is what is important, after all. And when it comes to the thrill of the hunt, what are your personal favorites?

For me, it would be shoes like an old Jordan 1 from ’85 or an older Supreme piece because I’ve been a fan of the brand since 2011. That’s when Nike SB was the shit and people would laugh at me for wearing Supreme and would ask me if it’s chilimansi or original, ha ha! In fact, a favorite piece that I personally got from the thrift was this Zoo York x Supreme box logo. Mainly because 1998 was Zoo York's time and Supreme was still new and they were helping Supreme to get recognized in the skateboard scene—for me that’s one piece of the history of street culture that I can hold on to.

Vintage Vault is open daily from 3-10PM

Geo's goods for sale way back "when nobody wanted Supreme, ha ha!"Photo by Geo Dineros
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