What were you guys doing before Plus?
Ibrahim & Andy are co-owners of Plus, a luxury consignment store in Vancouver with a focus on streetwear apparel and collector's pieces.
Losing money at the casino.
I’d just finished a web development internship at Shopify and was focusing on eCommerce and finishing up my computer science degree.
It’s funny to watch when people ask what you do. You give a different response each time. How do you manage your time between all your commitments and businesses?
Definitely a question I haven’t quite perfected my answer for. I feel like I can easily lose someone in that answer by oversharing so I try to gauge the situation and give them an answer based on the person and setting. Still working on my time management though since I no longer have school as an obligation. For the most part, I really like to write everything down whether in my notes app, trello board or calendar I feel like if it’s documented I will get to it. Keeping track of everything also helps me gauge progress and incentivize the completion of my tasks.
How did you get into consigning and reselling apparel? Did you always know this was what you wanted to do, or was there a shift in your life when you decided to turn it into a career?
Selling sneakers to turn a profit wasn't even a thing until the late 2000s. Sure there were a few scattered rare pairs that could fetch you a little bit of coin but nobody back then would ever consider it being a profitable business. Before social media the only way to gauge what was cool was going to school and seeing what the cool kids were wearing. Like a lot of people, I was into retro Jordan's in highschool. I use to flip snapbacks and started a little screen print tee shirt brand in my parents basement, by 2013 there was enough of a market to sustain a business.
What was the process like for starting Plus? Biggest obstacles?
It all happened relatively quickly. Andy and I were in discussions of potentially opening a shop back in August when we happened to stumble on the Gastown store listing; it seemed fortuitous timing given the store’s history, size and location were just right. Given the ideal match of the shop listing Andy and I decided to invest in building out our concept store. Everything moved rather quickly. Andy moved out to Vancouver a week later and by September the lease had been signed and plans to reconfigure the space had been drawn up. By far the hardest aspect of setting up the store was allocating and cultivating the right staff. We were fortunate enough to have such loyal and hard working friends come out and support us in our early stages, which helped pave the road to building and sustaining a pretty solid team of employees which I firmly believe uphold all the brand’s beliefs and ideals. Stock and supply is another issue which we initially found difficult, however after building close relationships and connections with both local and international collectors we were able to abridge this challenge and stock our shelves with the very latest drops and more exclusive collector items.
At what point could you tell Plus was going to be successful?
When Ibrahim wanted to buy my shares.
What’s your favourite piece in your closet?
Advancements in technology have led to more accessibility into virtually every industry. How do you think your professional practice has been shaped by being brought up in these times?
Accessibility to resources, people and feedback I think really has changed the capacity and speed I can learn new things at. For example, a few years back when I was working on starting Overalls I was super adamant on embroidering every single tag for every customer with their name on it. Within a matter of a few days I was able to find a used machine in Toronto for a fraction of the price of a new one, purchase a license key for the embroidery software on a forum and get 1:1 training on how to use the software through Skype. More-so however, the accessibility to personal and professional connections is definitely the most important aspect of the current domain that has shaped my professional practices. Most of my closest friends that are also in my professional network have came from connections made online.
Having an unconventional career path, what were some key moments that validated your decisions as you became further invested?
My parents actually supporting me and assisting me financially towards goals of mine. When I dropped out of school they were really upset..
What advice would you give to a 10 y/o version of yourself? What advice would you give to an 18 y/o version of yourself?
To 10 year old me: "please make sure mom and dad don't enroll in the extended French program"
To 18 year old me: "get the biggest loan you possibly can and buy a bunch of bitcoin"
To 10 year old me: “Keep playing Runescape and buy as many party hats as you can.”
To 18 year old me: “Be more consistent on non-academic based projects and spend the bare minimum amount of time on school.”