That is exactly how Susan Gregg Koger, Founder of ModCloth, made me feel during our recent conversation.
I was thrilled to spend the afternoon chatting with Susan, and getting to know more about ModCloth and its Founder.
Since its inception in 2002, ModCloth has become one of the largest and fastest growing online stores of women’ s vintage, vintage inspired, and retro clothing pieces. In addition, you will find a huge variety of one-of-a-kind vintage accessories and home décor.
frockOn’s Collette Osuna: What was your first recollection of being attracted to vintage fashion?
Susan Gregg Koger: One of my first fashion memories is playing dress-up in my Grandma’s basement. She had an amazing wardrobe in the 60s and 70s (some of which she kept), and I loved to imagine what her life was like when she wore those garments. The story behind vintage pieces has always fascinated me.
CO: What was your inspiration for starting ModCloth?
SGK: When I was in high school, I spent weekends thrift shopping for unique vintage finds. I found myself snatching up great pieces that weren’t necessarily my size, but that I couldn’t pass up. When I went away to college at Carnegie MellonUniversity, I had a dorm room full of amazing clothes and accessories. So, at 17-years
old, I decided to start an online shop, One of a Kind Vintage, with my boyfriend-turned-husband, Eric Koger. I quickly realized there were many girls like me who wanted to express their personal style with one-of-a-kind and unique apparel. When my small dorm-room was bursting at the seams with retro garb, Eric and I decided to set up shop in a house that doubled as our living space and office.
* From the appeal of the site, to the unique pieces added daily, you will instantly feel that ModCloth is unlike any other online vintage store you have ever visited.
CO: How is ModCloth different from other online vintage stores?
SGK: ModCloth carries one of a kind vintage items as well as vintage inspired pieces. We have a unique product mix that is supplied by over 900 independent designers from all over the world including London and Paris. The items found at ModCloth, you really will not see at any other online vintage stores.
CO: What was your ultimate goal when you founded your company, and how has that goal changed today?
SGK: In the beginning, it was more of a part time hobby and small business venture. I’ m a believer in actually wearing the clothing that you have, so it was important to me to make sure these vintage pieces found new homes. As MC quickly grew, it became a fun and challenging career of running a successful business. My goal today, is for MC to change the face of the fashion industry by our continued direct customer involvement.
CO: How has being a part of online social communities changed ModCloth?
SGK: ModCloth is very much involved with online communities and we work with many independent fashion bloggers who showcase ModCloth pieces in their daily outfit posts. We also offer an affiliate program, as well as sponsoring giveaways. Our involvement with social communities has played a big factor in our growth.
* Being a frequent ModCloth shopper myself, I’ve often wondered just how the pieces were chosen for the site.
CO: When choosing new vintage items for ModCloth, do current fashion trends play a part in your buying decisions?
Susan Gregg Koger: I do take into account current fashion trends, but they are not the deciding factor in my decisions. Maxi skirts, for example, were very popular in
the 1990’ s. They are not “ new” but are a current fashion trend re-visited. I also look at runway shows, street style blogs and pieces that are seen on websites, such as Chictopia, for buying inspiration.
CO: How did you name ModCloth?
SGK: Eric and I were looking for available URL’ s. We wanted something with vintage inspiration, but at the same time, not too “ vintage” sounding. Eric actually thought up the name ModCloth. We sat on it for a few days, still loved it ,and the name stuck with us ever since.
CO: How many people does ModCloth currently employ?
SGK: As of a few weeks ago, I believe the number was 204, between our Pittsburgh and newest location in California.
* Knowing that Susan spends a great deal of time visiting designers and attending tradeshows, I just had to know her favorite place to travel.
SGK: I have to say London. This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit London and meet some truly amazing designers. The fashion industry there is so unique. You see things you just don’t see anywhere else.
* Susan is every bit of sweet as I had imagined she would be. She is such a down to earth, approachable person, who has an incredible sense of humor.
I thought I would add in few fun “ non interview” type questions that we would all want to know the answers to.
CO: What three words best describe you?
SGK: Only three? I have to say: crazy, fashion-obsessed and
hardworking. I’ m always running around being crazy, moving from this to that, and we can use fashion-obsessed if we hyphenate it, (said laughing).
CO: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you?
SGK: I’ d bring Winston, (Susan’ s super cute Pug and ModCloth mascot), food for Winston, and of course my laptop, hoping there would be some sort of internet connection.
CO: Being the CEO and Founder of ModCloth has to be demanding at times. How do you like to relax?
SGK: I like spending time with my dog and walking. It’ s relaxing and gets me away from the internet. There are times that I spend my entire day on the computer, so it’ s really something I look forward to. I also love visiting different cities, and searching out unique types of cuisines.
* I would like to thank Susan for taking time out of her super busy schedule to chat with me, and the ModCloth staff who worked closely with the frockOn team to help make this interview possible.
Susan Gregg Koger
If you are a vintage lover, a seasoned thrift store shopper, or just someone who likes unique, hard to find items, ModCloth is a must see store!
frockOn would like to also thank Ashley Ryon of Yinzerparty.com for taking the beautiful photos – check out Yinzerparty online for a the best look into Pittsburgh’s nightlife.
Article | Collette Osuna
Photos | Ashley Ryon
SGK portrait credit | younginventorsinternational.com
frockOn © 2010
Read more from Collette @ Statements in Fashion
Edited | Melanie Pagani