For Darien Collins, the most difficult part of operating a thrifted clothing and accessory business isn’t necessarily the part about wanting to hold onto the coolest stuff.
The business owner fit right in with the fashion on hangers and tables in his new downtown Davenport shop, wearing a thrifted tan jacket and shirt. Sports jerseys, button-down shirts, blankets, paintings and more were on display alongside lamps, couches and jewelry.
Pants are the hardest thing to find, he said, as sizing of vintage pants can be strange.
“That’s probably the hardest thing about this job, especially when I find clothes my size,” Collins said. “Like, man, sorry guys, you’re not going to get this.”
Collins opened Envied Vintage Clothing, Etc. to give other thrifters, especially men, the chance to fall in love with the unique clothes and décor he finds.
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Envied, located at 330 Main St., Davenport, is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
Business has been steady in the three weeks since the shop’s opening, Collins said, and he’s been surprised by the age range of customers that have come in and given him positive feedback. More than a few middle-aged men have stepped inside and expressed regret that they didn’t hold onto clothes from their youth.
The 24-year-old got into thrifting while looking for clothing options for himself. He’d often find really cool items that weren’t his size, but he couldn’t bear to leave without them and started building up stock.
He started an Etsy page to sell what he found, which has grown to be pretty successful, he said. When the Quad-Cities native moved into his own apartment and decorated it with fun finds, friends would ask where he got certain things and if they could take them off his hands.
Seeing that he had a knack for finding second-hand items that other people would be happy to buy, Collins expanded his online business and opened the brick-and-mortar shop.
It’s taken about a year and a half to amass enough stock to fill the former Downtown Deli and about four months to transform the inside from restaurant to retail space.
“I just wanted it to look real wacky — just, like, stuff everywhere — just real abstract, and you don’t know what’s going to be around the corner,” he said.
More often than not, customers won’t find Collins behind the counter or among the clothing racks. The entrepreneur often travels three or more hours to hit garage and estate sales, secondhand shops and other places with potential for good finds to bring back to Davenport.
His family will help out running things when he can’t be around, Collins said, including his grandmother, who helped give him the confidence to open the store.
One of the items he’s most proud of snagging hangs behind the counter at Envied — a vintage Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball T-shirt. With the Hawkeyes headed to the Final Four in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, team merchandise is a hotter-than-usual commodity, he said.
College sports gear is one of his best-selling areas.
Though his first physical shop is still new, Collins said, he’d some day like to break into the Iowa City or Chicago markets with more locations.
“It’s really fun for me to go out and find all these things,” he said. “It’s like finding treasure, I guess you could say.”