Fashion

From Warsaw to London, the creation of LOEEMI

8 Mins read

Owners of online vintage clothing store LOEEMI, take us through their journey of re-selling, and how it has shaped their lifestyle.

Vintage fashion has been a phenomenon for centuries. Whether it is selling vintage clothing or being a consumer, almost everybody is aware of how the vintage market is always a huge staple in searching for on-going trends.

Selling vintage clothes, accessories, and shoes, there is something sold by LOEEMI unique to everyone’s individual taste.

After moving to London from Warsaw to study during the pandemic in 2020, 24-year-old students Gabi and Emilka found themselves in a new city in a period of time where jobs were scarce.

“We couldn’t find a job. I moved to one of the most expensive cities, but there were no jobs at all” said Emilka.

After searching for months, she continued, “one day we were so broke that we decided to clear out our wardrobes and sell our clothes online. We made £100, and thought, damn! We’re rich.”

A picture of LOEEMI
Team LOEEMI [Instagram LOEEMI]

With help from Emilka’s mother who owns a similar business in Poland and has for years now, LOEEMI came into place, and has been selling items consistently since November 2020.

“My mum inspired us to create something similar to her, before it was just to make some extra money and do something until we found ‘proper’ jobs, but then it spiralled into a ‘proper’ job,” Emilka said.

Focusing on the role that their backgrounds play individually when working together for business, the pair told us that even their interests in topics of their studies fuels their passion for LOEEMI.

Prior to moving to London from Warsaw, Emilka achieved a bachelors degree in Psychology: “I think I’m very passionate about people, that’s why I studied psychology.”

Combining personal aspects of themselves into their market is not only a huge factor of LOEEMI’s success, this also works for both as a creative outlet: “I think that I express my creativity by observing, working and listening to people. I can show that in the clothes that we look for, we are listening to their needs”.

Gabi added that after graduating and achieving her bachelors degree a year and a half ago in Contemporary Media Cultures: “I like to observe society and see patterns within people and our generation, I guess that also works into trends”.

Sharing a passion for being environmentally friendly, both Gabi and Emilka found a new lifestyle for themselves, which reselling plays a big part in.

“I think we’re both very passionate about vintage clothes, but there is a bigger idea behind it. We are both very passionate about being environmentally friendly”.

Whilst talking about the ways they shop and live in to sustain their lifestyle, both emphasised on the importance of the way that they shop and show consume individually, not only the fact that they are resellers.

“All of the furniture in our flat is what we found on the street, and Gabi is vegan” said Emilka. Gabi continued, “so as you can see, one of our biggest passions is to be eco-friendly but make it ‘cool’.”

Incorporating reselling into their lifestyle is not just “bland things and activism,” says Gabi, but instead it can be done in ways to make fashion statements that are “‘unique’ as well as cost less than usual fast fashion stores.”

Gabi also spoke about the importance of the way they advertise LOEEMI: “We don’t do paid ads. We produce organic content more.” Their use of social media platform TikTok has given them a lot of publicity, due to a video that went viral.

@loeemilondon Trash walks are the new hot girl walks 💅🏻 #landfill ♬ Wipe Out – The Surfaris

When talking about their marketing strategies and what has worked for the pair of them throughout their experience so far in business, both explained the importance of posting consistently on their social media platforms, TikTok and Instagram.

Influencing lifestyle changes for their followers through their platforms helps them keep up with consistency and interaction with their buyers.

“Right now, we’re trying to build our whole lifestyle on Instagram, we still want to focus on selling clothes as fashion is our main passion, but at the moment we are also focusing on advertising second-hand items and informing our followers of how they can make small changes in their day-to-day lives to be more sustainable, such as buying secondhand furniture or using apps such as too good to go,” Emilka explained.

Gabi continued: “we are benefitting from the rise in posting video content, people are loving it. We do photoshoots and have creative outputs that we love, which keeps us posting. Using reels on Instagram has worked for most part of that.”

Their use of online secondhand marketplace Vinted has gained the pair high numbers of followers, more than 4,000 users follow and interact with their account, increasing their sales significantly.

“We are Vinted queens”, says Gabi. “We gathered a lot of followers on Vinted over the past year. I know a lot of people use other online markets such as Depop, and it works for them, but we were late to that train and didn’t get as many followers on there. Using Vinted as a platform to sell our items on works best for us.”

They have been able to sell their items alongside being students for three years, but they say that they treat their business as a job, as well as a hobby: “the best combination”.

Although Gabi works in another profession alongside their business for extra income, they both say that they treat the online store as a full-time job.

“We both treat LOEEMI as a full-time job, and even if we don’t work 40 hours a week, I definitely think about LOEEMI 40 hours a week,” Emilka explained.

“With this kind of job, we have to measure our working hours differently. All of the creativity and thought we put into the job, for example the photoshoots and social-media posting, it does work out to be a full-time job,” Gabi added.

Both discussed how they would love to spend even more time sourcing their items and hand-picking what they re-sell, as it is something the pair genuinely love to do.

So, do they ever feel de-motivated? “I guess sometimes you face a burnout, but you have to pick it up and remind yourself that it’s what you want to do besides it being a hobby, it is a job, and it fuels us in both ways,” Gabi explained.

Sourcing the clothing and accessories they sell from constant trips to Poland, Gabi says is a big driving factor of how she keeps her passion alive.

“We are like a family business, we are two best friends living together. It’s not just something we do to make money, we love what we do, we love all of the clothes, each and every one of the things that comes with it. We especially love the sourcing, my favourite part is that I do it with my best-friend and our boss is her mum. Going to Poland and sourcing items is so joyful all the time.”

Two years ago, the pair had their first big moment after being invited to a seller event hosted by FINDS, a marketplace which uses the creation of videos to connect sellers together as well as meet and sell their goods in physical markets.

The first they were invited to being situated in Shoreditch, Brick Lane, home to many vintage stores.

“It was the first time we were noticed as a shop and we were really tiny at the time, and they gave us a chance,” Gabi explained.

Starting their business online and not having as much reach, having a physical space to sell with others helped them connect with their passion hugely.

Picture of LOEEMI
The team at FINDS pop-up [Loeemi]

Talking about their success after their first pop-up, they told us that there have been several more they have sold their items in, increasing their sales.

“It’s definitely a skill we have mastered,” they both agreed, “we put more time, more effort and more commitment into it. We now get a lot more invites to pop-ups, whereas two years ago we would watch stories on Instagram of others, but not be a part of them”.

Discussing their progress within the past years, they said: “we used to do things two years ago like packing our things in boxes because we couldn’t afford sealed packaging. We’d go to Sainsbury’s every morning to find packaging, which now seems ridiculous”.

Mastering the way they sell their items to buyers is a skill that has developed over time, and they both explained that it has been something they have learned over time, and definitely made mistakes with in the past.

“Almost everything we source right now, two years ago, was not that apparent. We still make mistakes sometimes, but we can see that we are growing, and that makes us very excited for the future.”

When asking the pair what appeals to them most when it comes to sourcing clothing to resell, they emphasised the importance of both of them genuinely loving the item before picking it, if they do not like an item, they will not sell it.

“We don’t buy things we don’t like. Even if something is a trend, if we don’t like it we won’t buy it, even if we know it’ll sell. We always buy things we see potential in.”

Picture of an outfit styled by loeemi
Funky jeans and matching shoes, styled by LOEEMI [Instagram: Loeemi]

Emilka commented on the pieces which are most eyecatching to her whilst hand-picking the clothing, “we like funky clothes, such as brave jackets and colourful shoes, it’s way more interesting to source one-of-a-kind clothes than ones that are simple.”

They both continued, “it’s so much more fun to play with the clothes in photoshoots and on TikTok, sometimes there’s days where we find 10 different outfits, kind of like that game, Stardoll. We’re living in a Star-Doll penthouse!”

Keeping up with latest trends and staying in touch with the change in seasons, they told us that they are currently focusing on selling items such as jackets, basically clothing that caters to winter.

Leading towards summer however, they focus a lot on pieces like mini skirts, as they need to direct their sales towards their customers and what they are looking for seasonally.

“One time we had a drop of 100 mini skirts, they were all over our living room,” Emilka recalled. Watch the drop of their chic min skirt collection last year here.

Confidence is key when the duo piece and style outfits they put on show to sell: “we have to make it interesting, and I need to feel confident in the outfit. If I don’t feel confident, I’ll be like ok, I need to see someone else wearing it.”

Gabi added: “if you feel like something is not you, and you’re not selling it confidently, you will not sell it”.

After speaking about whether they have an idea of where to start before putting an outfit together, both sellers explained how they do not have first thoughts when it comes to styling, instead they follow certain themes they have planned to use in photoshoots and their content creation.

Playing into current trends as well as trends from the past, the two spoke about the trends that are staples to them when it comes to the way they dress as individuals.

“Fur hats. I have always loved them. I have six currently and wear them ALL the time. Fur jackets, I’ve always been obsessed with fur, it’s never to much,” Emilka stated.

Gabi told us that her all-time favourite trend is “monochromatic outfits, and dresses over pants. Currently, my favourite trend is stripes, and pops of red, like red socks poking out of your jeans, I love it.”

In the future, the duo said that their aim long-term is to achieve a certain lifestyle: “We’re trying to build a platform and a lifestyle around LOEEMI which is sustainable and ethical, as well as be ‘cool’ at the same time.

“From wearing second-hand clothes to what we eat, to re-using furniture from the trash. Keeping up with this lifestyle and being determined with it is our goal, and we hope that we build a strong community alongside”.

The team hope to expand worldwide and make their sales global.

To keep up to date with the stylish pair and their vintage sales, click here.


Featured image by Loeemi London via Instagram

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