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Legit Vintage

Cincinnati, Ohio

Bobby Goodwin of Legit Vintage

Bobby Goodwin is the founder of Legit Vintage, an online retailer of classic clothing for nostalgic sports fans. 

How did you start your business?
I started my business and created my Etsy shop on March 9, 2012, but I really didn't start listing a decent selection of items for sale until early June. After I decided on a name and set up my Etsy and email accounts, I began accumulating a large amount/variety of product, which means I went shopping. It's what I really enjoy the most about what I do. For the most part, I dedicated any extra cash I could afford toward acquiring as much vintage as I could get. Buying and reselling vintage sportswear is the perfect marriage of both my childhood love of sports, and my teen years to present interest in fashion.
I try to differentiate my shop from others by making it sort of eclectic swag (versus just a bunch of old sports stuff, or even worse, just a bunch of old stuff). But equally important, if not more so, what I sell has to be on trend. I take all of the product pics myself on my iPhone, list the items for sale by myself, as well as package and mail out all of my orders myself. Like most small business owners, I'm sort of a one-man show at this point, which is completely out of necessity at this stage in the game.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Even after I stopped playing sports on a regular basis, I never stopped being a huge sports fan. In fact, from age 8 to around the time I discovered music and clothes, I spent seriously 95 percent of my money (albeit mainly modest funds stemming from mowing the lawn and babysitting) on baseball cards. A lot of basketball cards too. 
Even in high school, I was on eBay buying '70s Levi's flair jeans and '80s Adidas track jackets. Don't get me wrong, I was a mall rat too, like most teenagers, but nostalgia is in my nature. While I've developed into an arguable workaholic—working a full-time job while pursuing my own business on the side—I don't have an inherently amazing work ethic. It's when you do what you love, and work with what you love, when work no longer feels like work. And I know I'm not even close to the first person to say that, but what's almost cliché to say is also more importantly, true.
I entered the clothing retail business after college because I realized I was more passionate about fashion than journalism, which is what my degree is in. I was like "hey, if you like clothes so much, go work at a place that sells clothes." Simple as that.
Once I got hip to nationally/internationally recognized vintage sportswear shops, I thought to myself, "if these guys are doing their own thing like this and turning a profit, why can't I?" And from there, I took inspiration from my favorite vintage shops, both online and physical stores, along with my favorite vintage brands/articles of clothing, and went for it. I feel strongly about sports and fashion, and that's how I ended up in the vintage sportswear business.
What local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
If I named any specific places I went to, I'd have to kill you, but I am very glad to be able to say that all of my product to this point has been locally sourced.
Having said that, the majority of my product tends to have more of a national/international appeal (ex: a Nike windbreaker), but I do enjoy peppering in some local gear as well, especially during the Reds' and Bengals' respective seasons. Lots of Reds 1990 World Series tees and crews along with Bengals 1988 Super Bowl merch have a huge amount of local value, to the point where I've considered getting a vending license and just setting up a table downtown near the stadiums to sell merch on the street before games.

What would you do differently if you started your business again?
Honestly, not a whole lot. Which is something I'm proud to be able to say. 
One big decision at the outset was Etsy versus eBay, and although I'm very glad I went with Etsy—I just strongly prefer their user interface and layout to eBay's—I have never closed the door on eventually trying to sell on eBay. I created a business account the day I started just in case, while I was still deciding between sites, so I could always go back to that. As annoying as eBay can be, it is sort of the Craigslist of online auction sites, or sites where individuals can sell vintage, and if Etsy doesn't catch up to eBay in popularity as much as I predicted it would, I may have to bow down to the power that is eBay.
The next step for me though is to build my own web site, so neither Etsy nor eBay are the endgame for me. After that, I hope to one day own a brick and mortar retail space downtown.
What's next? 
In the long-term, a website, but in the short term, I plan on participating in a month-long pop-up shop at LOHIOH gallery on 2157 Central Avenue in Brighton. It's run by Alex Jameson—she's a super talented lady and actually my former boss. Her jewelry pieces are so different from what typical jewelry looks like when you think of it, and her use of animal parts, such as antlers, teeth and bone (all of which is ethically found, by the way) is really creative, but also extremely well-done. I definitely have a huge appreciation for her aesthetic and taste level. Our tentative opening reception is planned for Saturday, July 6, but that is subject to change. A selection of our product will be custom-installed and for sale there for at least two weeks, but potentially all of July once it opens. I'm really excited for it to happen!
We also are both really pumped about our participation in Rise of the Cool Kids 2 (ROCK2), which is the coming together of local fashion-based businesses such as Sloane Boutique, Original Thought Required, District 78, Touch Me Tees and Corporate for a projected fashion show, party and pop-up. The pre-recorded fashion show was shot at Local Skate Park with models in a mix of outfits from all of the different local shops and featuring cameos from said shop owners. Both the date and location are not set in stone yet, but be on the lookout for more details to come this summer.

Interview by Sean Peters
Answers have been edited.

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