From a very young age, Rylan Woodman was tinkering with businesses of all different sorts.
“We used to sell and make pasta sauce, skate wax, Fingerboards… tech decks were the sort of stuff we made. Me and [my former business partner] had just been selling stuff from a really young age so we kind of knew how to do it,” Woodman says.
Jordan Birchall, Woodman’s cousin also noticed his small business ventures and how it shaped him.
“I think he's always just had that in him — to want to do more with his interests. I think just as he's gotten older it's become something that he can actually monetize,” says Birchall.
Birchall adds that he saw one key element that made Woodman a business-minded individual.
“It was something he enjoyed — [and] not because he saw it as a way to make money,” he explains.
It was only right for Woodman to transition into a larger business with his clothing company, Recycled Vintage, which only sells retro clothes.
“I just don’t like the stuff in the stores. It's just pumped out of factories, unlike the vintage stuff which is obviously built a lot better [with] better craftsmanship,” Woodman says.
Zack Blecic, Woodman’s current business partner at Recycled Vintage, said that retro clothing is unique in its own way.
“It's the original pieces. It's not like we're going to Simons and spending 200 bucks on a jacket. We're finding one that’s trendy that we thrifted and still getting it cheaper than you could at Simons anyways,” says Blecic.
A day with Recycled Vintage is challenging, but Woodman’s planning makes it go smoothly.
“Normally we try to get [to] the thrift store, estate sale, [or] garage sales when they first open so we can grab the first pick of the stuff there,” says Woodman.
Having a keen eye and knowing what to pick and sell to his customers is what has made Woodman very successful with his clothing company.
“If I think it's cool, I'll buy it,” he explains. “It's kind of the way we've done it… what you think is cool. Not just what's ‘in’. I think that's what makes our page stand out a little bit.”
Woodman’s endless searching for product to sell for Recycled Vintage has its perks as well.
“I've found some pretty crazy stuff,” says Woodman. “I found a pre-1990s Christian Dior handbag. I got it for $50 and sold it for $350 USD the next day.”
Besides all these rare finds, Woodman’s clothes are distinguishable from other stores around Calgary.
“You see a lot of 90's rip off sort of stuff in the malls. It's just cool to have the original piece,” he explains.
A large part of what makes Recycled Vintage so successful is how it is solely based on Instagram. A great feature that appeals to Woodman is a sense of instantaneous transactions on the platform.
“It's just easy, you snap a photo of it and people can direct message you,” says Woodman.
Blecic adds that another major element of this application is its collaborative process, which is a key factor when using Instagram.
“I think the layout and kind of the community aspect of it makes it a lot more enjoyable for buyers,” Blecic says. “It's not going on a website where you’re sending your money away and then getting your product. We actually meet up with the people [and] we post about what we're doing.”
While taking a photo may seem simple, Woodman puts in extra work to make sure his images are aesthetically pleasing and draw customers in.
“We used to just take photos on our apartment floor, but it looks a lot better when the clothes are on a hanger. We just built a new rack for our pop-up shops,” Blecic continues.
Woodman’s cousin, Birchall, who is a business student, believes opening an actual storefront would be a good idea for Woodman.
“If you can boost that Instagram following into an actual physical store, you can continue to create the relationships that you wouldn't have online,” says Birchall.
Woodman agrees. With Recycled Vintage doing well on Instagram, he has plans to expand their company on a larger scale.
“Definitely a storefront… Just a slow growth is kind of what I'm hoping for,” he says.
With his previous business experience, Woodman is elevating Recycled Vintage. With their popularity and income increasing, Woodman believes the company should continue in a positive direction.
- By Cullen Chan