Meet Sophia Nuestro, a 23-year-old fresh graduate and the proud owner of SONU Vintage.
Thrift. Repurpose. Rewear. Once a taboo topic in the fashion scene, the growing market for pre-loved items is now being more widely accepted and shopped by the masses, especially with Gen Z. With a continuous fight against throwaway culture and fast fashion, today’s trends are pointing towards clothing pieces that our parents probably still have hanging in their closets. Of course, you can snag secondhand goodies from vintage markets, thrift shops, and sidewalk vendors. In tandeem with the power of social media, Gen Z isn’t just paving the way for a more sustainable future— they’re also creating their own success stories.
For Sophia Nuestro, she’s all about redefining vintage. Starting as an online business venture for her pre-loved clothing collection, this self-made Gen Z entrepreneur turned a small-time hustle into the ultimate hotspot for celebrities and content creators. Meet the 23-year-old fresh graduate and the proud owner of SONU Vintage, your one-stop-shop for vintage (and authentic) designer pieces.
A One-Woman Team
Sophia managed all the ins-and-outs of SONU Vintage, from sourcing the designer pieces and curating collections, to advertising and packing parcels. Did we mention that this business girlie started SONU Vintage while she’s getting a degree in the University of Santo Tomas?
Well, nothing stopped Sophia from working hard on her business venture. “Balancing academics alone is really hard; adding business to the picture is much harder. Time management is really the key. When I have free time, I use it productively and also multitask. Looking back, I was listening to school discussions through Zoom while preparing parcels for shipping,” she explained.
From Facebook live selling to becoming financially-free (and now traveling the world), get to know more about this self-made Gen Z by reading the interview below.
How did SONU Vintage come about?
Sonu Vintage began as a vintage designer shop on Instagram. I curate collections from luxury bag brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, Céline, and many more. In fact, the brand initially started when I began selling preloved and thrifted clothing. Once I had accumulated enough capital to launch my first ‘bag collection,’ I emptied my bank account and took the risk.
When did you realize that SONU Vintage was genuinely growing as a brand?
I realized SONU Vintage was truly growing as a brand when my sales kept increasing, going from selling 10 items to over 100 items in a single collection. Additionally, being recognized and followed by celebrities and content creators I totally admire was a significant milestone. Then there are customers making repeat purchases, it was incredibly rewarding; it’s a whole new level of kilig.
What was your first big break?
I believe it was my recent LV Collection. One morning, I woke up to our Instagram DMs flooded with inquiries from Europeans about the items. I was curious about how they found out about my shop, and then I realized that I had recently posted a TikTok video that had garnered a significant number of views and engagement in European countries! Interestingly, it was the same collection in which I achieved my first seven-digit sales in a single collection alone.
What were the challenges that you faced as a young entrepreneur?
Figuring things out on my own and starting from scratch, the early stages of business have been the most challenging for me. It’s difficult not to compare yourself to those who already have large followings and successful, sold-out collections. I find myself making these comparisons, which is unfair to myself. I once read, ‘We shouldn’t compare our early stage to someone else’s peak,’ and that really rings true.
What are the pros and cons of owning a business at a young age?
Pros: You can earn your own money, and it feels really good not to rely on your parents for financial support. I was able to pay for my own tuition fees, cover our monthly bills, and start building my savings. Now, I get to travel and explore the world.
Cons: It’s quite unusual to have slow days and just lie in bed for some Netflix and chill. My health is also at risk since I engage in live selling until very late at night, causing me to sleep late.
What’s your message for aspiring young entrepreneurs?
First, figure out the type of business that truly interests you. It’s crucial to have a passion for your business because you should be your own biggest supporter. Second, focus on your own path; don’t compare yourself to others. Every successful entrepreneur didn’t start with high sales. Lastly, just go for it; you’ll never know until you start!
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