This is a piece I had to write for Magazine Article Writing, an interview-style 300 word “5 questions with”.
Five Questions with… Sammy Davis
Sammy Davis is an incredible young woman, there is no doubt about it. At 22, fresh out of college, she landed a job at Hearst Digital Media, working with Esquire.com. And at 23, she left Hearst, and started her own business, Sammy D Vintage. Some may say she was crazy to leave a secure job in the journalism industry for unemployment and a dream, but Sammy knows that there is something to be said for going after what you want while you’re still young enough to do it. As a small-town girl living in Harlem, this fast-moving fashionista is business-minded, and sees no limits for herself or her self-described “H&M of vintage” clothing line, not even within the boundaries of NYC itself.
Where did the idea for Sammy D Vintage originate?
SDV was born when I met a vintage vendor and stylist at the Brooklyn Flea, where I sold regularly for about two months last summer and fall. I met Lynn — She was a delight. She was having fun. She was making money. What she told me wasn’t anything new. She gave me a few fresh ideas — but more inspirational ideas on how I could set myself apart in this industry while using my media contacts, creative energy, and desire to help women through fashion. I met Lynn in February, and I decided in March that I was going to launch my company. In April I bought, I strategized, and I learned. Late May was my first sale. I grew from there, doing some things right, doing other things wrong, but learning a lot, feeling exhausted, but having fun. You know that what you’re doing is right if you can stay up all night — getting next to no sleep — and then wake up the next day at 7AM to sell for 8 hours straight.
Where do you get your inspiration for your clothing? Your supplies?
My inspiration is always changing. Now, it’s pure 80s. I’ve always loved the 80s. But, I can’t forget about my customer and my audience. These are women who don’t have the desire and/or guts, time, and energy to go searching their local thrift stores for affordable, fun finds. So, I try to gather up a little of everything — turning to my knowledge of various eras and understanding of recent trends to drive my next purchase. Sammy Davis Vintage is not about wearing vintage all the time. It’s about adapting it into your lifestyle in small, manageable ways to gain greater awareness of your consumption. It is also to realize that these pieces that so many women knock, saying “I can’t wear vintage,” well, you CAN! A brand, an inspiration (i.e. me!) needs to be behind the product to inspire affirmation.
Do you see yourself ever going back to journalism or sticking with fashion?
It’s funny that everyone thinks I’ve “left” journalism. Because it was ironically quitting my job that put me back into journalism. I am creating a brand that creates content related to sustainable style. That gives women (and maybe men!) information and inspiration and motivation and resources to achieve sustainable style – if just one bit – in their lives. Whether it’s through video, podcasts, photoshoots, media appearances, interviews, speaking engagements, etc. Sammy Davis Vintage is an entity that will collaborate to create conditions that help others to achieve style in a feel-good, do-good fashion.
What does the future hold for Sammy D Vintage?
In April, I will taking a road trip with Darla Synnestvedt, to create a media campaign around my cross country venture and search for vintage clothing. We will be heading south — learning, collaborating, and seeking new experiences that we can’t predict until they actually happen. The project will be blogged, recorded, photographed, and promoted. Social media outlets, other blogs, maybe even the NYT or Discovery Channel? The pitches are endless, the opportunities … boundless. Our working title is “Vegan Gravy & Tapered Jeans.” Darla will be in pursuit of food. I will be in pursuit of fashion.
Finally, what mottos/philosophies/advice do you live by?
-Dreams don’t change – they evolve.
-Cultivate your interests before your wallet — the money you need (and the happiness you want!) will come!