EMILY ZHAO OF WANTING COLLECTION!
Q & A
Emily Zhao of Wanting Collection visited the West Coast of the U.S. for the first time in search of the most colorful and eye-popping pieces. Here’s what she has to say about her travels and her e-commerce and brick and mortar.
Katrina Guevara: From my previous conversations with you, you raved about Portland, Oregon. Describe the city from your visit.
Emily Zhao: Portland is a really cute city that is not big in comparison to L.A and SF. However, it is charming. The downtown area is not far from the suburbs. Everything is pretty close to everything else. The houses there are very colorful. People look after their front yards really well, and driving on the road is like seeing art in the gallery. Portland has really good restaurants. The food is well-made, tastes good, is fairly cheap and service is excellent. They also have many vintage shops with a very good collection, but low price. The workers there are very warm and happy. They like to tell me more about vintage spots. People are happy there. They live life. Strangers smiled at me on the streets, in supermarkets and in shops. So all over, it is a lovely, livable cute place to me. I’d love to often have holiday there.
KG: Did you become drawn to a certain area in California while out here a few days?
EZ: I only stayed in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California this time. I prefer L.A. Long Beach is kind of my favorite area. If I lived there, I think I would like to have a shop to sell my favorite things, which I collect from all over the world. It would be a slow, enjoyable life.
KG: Passing by Hollywood, what did you learn, besides a California roll and right turns on red lights?
EZ: [It’s] annoying, overrated, pretentious, soulless, pressured, stressful.. not a happy place.
KG: You have a quick eye when it comes to finding thrifted and vintage goods. Can you give us five words that come to mind when deciding if the clothing is a good fit with your style?
EZ: Color, quality, price, shape, striking.
KG: When shopping for your e-commerce Wanting Collection, what kind of items do you look for?
EZ: Good quality, unique design, reasonable price, I like to find some traditional pieces from different countries. Some commercial pieces, but of high quality. Some handmade unique pieces maybe a bit expensive but for the customers who want something special.
KG: Do you have a favorite outfit combo?
EZ: I like a colorful combo from the top to the toes. I also like to mix different styles of clothes together, such as wearing a traditional Chinese coat with an Aussie t-shirt and Japanese tabi. Another example is wearing a vintage cocktail dress with a pair of Nike sneakers.
KG: What’s your favorite color?
KG: Any tips on remaining true to your self when choosing your outfit?
EZ: Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t follow trends. Find your own style and true personality. Choose the clothes and colors to express your personality.
KG: What inspires your taste in fashion?
EZ: First, I was inspired by vintage clothing. I used to only buy brand new clothes about four years ago. However, I found vintage clothes were very interesting and unique because you can’t find the same one again. I started to buy vintage clothes instead of brand new clothes. Then I started to learn different styles of vintage. I changed from ’50s to ’80s. The style that inspired me the most is ‘80s style. Japanese fashion also inspires me a lot because they mix everything up. It is fun. I think different cultures inspire me most.
KG: What are your shop goals for your stand at the market?
EZ: I actually want a bigger shop, but it is good enough to start with a small shop. I will expend the shop in one and a half years. If I have a bigger shop, I can collect more products like homeware, plates, cups, rugs and more clothes. So far, I really love my customers. They are very nice people. When the customers come in, they get affected, and they become a kid walking into a candy shop. I guess what I sell are more one-of-a-kind items. I also made the shop really cute and colorful, but it’s not for everyone’s taste. [Customers who come in] enjoy the vibe and everything on the table. They are kind of like me, the type of person who enjoys unique things that have temperature. I then don’t need to have skills in sales. I just talk to my customers as friends by talking about their jobs, life, or hobbies, so the shop has good vibes and respectful people. Most of my products are one-off, this is another way I keep my shop interesting. Wanting Collection is different from fast fashion. It is like a vintage shop. You buy a pair of earrings in my shop, and there won’t be another person who can have them again. So I can keep collecting new pieces. My aim with this business is not because I want the chance to be rich. I really just simply want to bring happiness and joy to people.