Audio Diaries: Exploring the Financial Journey of This Gen Z-Owned Clothing Store

Audio Diaries: Exploring the Financial Journey of This Gen Z-Owned Clothing Store
Owning a business is a large undertaking. To better understand exactly what the journey entails, we chatted with a Gen Z business owner about everything from getting started to finances.
by Square Jul 01, 2024 — 3 min read
Audio Diaries: Exploring the Financial Journey of This Gen Z-Owned Clothing Store

About this series

Generation E: How Gen Z Is Taking on Building a Business

Generation E: How Gen Z Is Taking on Building a Business

Gen Z business owners share with us their entrepreneurial dreams, what keeps them motivated, how they equip themselves to get started and grow their businesses. Through a series of interviews we explore what tomorrow's business looks like for them.
See full series

Generation: Z

Industry: Retail

Business type: Vintage clothing store

Location: Los Angeles, CA & Portland, OR

Opening a business is a big decision, and often it can be an even bigger financial decision. In fact, according to the 2024 Square Future of Customer report, 27% of customers said that not knowing how to get started is one of the top obstacles when it comes to starting a new business. To help understand what it’s like to own and open a business, especially as it relates to finances, we asked a vintage retail seller, who has asked to remain anonymous, to walk us through a few questions that may be top of mind. From saving to tackling big financial decisions, this Gen Z business owner shares their experiences and learnings with the hopes of helping other business owners find their way. 

Here’s what this business owner had to say about their journey.

How did you start your business? What was the inspiration?

I was selling vintage online for a few years before we opened the store, and opening an actual brick and mortar was always in the back of my mind. But for some reason it didn’t feel attainable for a while.

Then eventually, I was just like, ‘Why am I waiting to do this? I should just be doing it now.’”

So I found a place actually on Craigslist, and it all just happened way easier than expected. Also my aunt owned a clothing store while I was growing up, and my grandma owned a clothing store as well.

What has been the biggest financial decision you’ve ever made?  

The biggest financial decision I’ve ever made was definitely opening the store in LA and now in Portland. It’s just you put a lot into it. You put a lot of money into it, hoping to make it back. Pretty confident we will. I mean, we made the LA store back definitely. Already confident that we will in Portland as well. But yeah, that’s definitely the most amount of money I’ve ever spent at once. And just deciding to do so is a big decision and a big risk, but I think it’ll all be worth it.

How would you describe yourself when it comes to risk? 

On a scale of one to ten, probably about a six or seven. I think I definitely played a little risky, but compared to a lot of business owners I know, I don’t think I’m playing it as risky as them. But I think just making that step to open a business at 24 and putting a lot of my money into that, and here I am right now, opening another one in Portland. I think that all just definitely is a little more risky than your average person who isn’t. But yeah, I’m definitely always thinking about the outcomes and trying to calculate all the risks.

What did you have to spend on for your business this week (internet, marketing, etc.)? Is there a formula you follow when it comes to dividing up your finances each month?

I am actually in Portland opening up another store, so I actually didn’t spend much on our business in LA last week. I think we had one buyout, which means somebody came to the store to sell their clothes, and I think I spent about, like, $60 on that. And that’s probably all I spent this week on marketing or anything — or our clothes.

But I definitely had to learn a lot as we went with the business, and comparing my business finances to my personal finances were actually pretty similar, because before I opened the store in 2021, I published a book in 2019. And that was my main source of income for the two years before that. And my name is actually an LLC, so taxes and stuff were very similar, because my name was a business. So yeah, I had a little background knowledge in that.

What’s in your business toolkit?

My business toolkit is definitely my Square Reader in LA and my Square Stand in Portland. We could not run the business without it.”

Anonymous Founder and owner of a retail vintage shop

And another thing we couldn’t run the business without are all the sellers in the store. We have four in LA and three in Portland, and they bring in clothes almost every day. And I definitely couldn’t do this all without them. So they’re one of my biggest tools for sure. 

Square
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