We’re back this week with a lit ass interview with Mallory, co-creator of Heat Collectors. We got to know a bit more about this budding entrepreneur and her curated vintage brand that specializes in sportswear, streetwear, and tees. Mallory is big on sustainability and fashion and that love is reflected in the Heat Collectors brand. She sets the example that one can love fashion while also not trying to engage in the inherent wastefulness of the industry. Mallory goes to school full-time while also being self-employed so her grind truly never stops. We had the chance to speak with Mallory about her pivot from ShopMTLVintage to Heat Collectors, her personal style influences, and more. Read below to get to know more about her and tap in to some fire vintage clothing.
On the rebrand from ShopMTLVintage to Heat Collectors
I started shopMTLVintage in the summer of 2018 and had to stop a year later because I honestly just lost motivation, which is 100% normal in people. I had to take care of my mom, as she was sick at the time. Fast forward to February 2020, I met my current business partner. We got inspired during quarantine, we didn’t have anything to do so we decided to just build a brand.
What’s different this time around is now we operate like a real business, we have a website. With ShopMTLVintage I only had a big-cartel site, I didn’t have a domain name, everything was done through e-transfer and I didn’t really have a strong sense of branding. Now that I’m doing this with my business partner, there’s a variety of skills. He does all of the graphic design work and I do the marketing aspect. We’re really trying to build a strong brand; whereas ShopMTLVintage came by and I feel like it wasn’t really memorable, so now I’m focused on setting that tone.
On her environmental activism
I think it’s really important for people to be aware of their consumption in their everyday lives, because even if shopping is retail therapy to some, we have to be conscious of what kind of repercussions these habits are doing to the earth. It’s not like we’re gonna leave in a few years, this is the planet we’re gonna be staying on so we really need to be respectful of the things that we’re doing. That goes from consuming a freakishly large amount of Fashion Nova; which we don’t need. Like girl, I know you like that dress, but you have the one you wore at the club last month, you can wear it again. You know what I mean? So really what’s important for me is people just being more aware. Trends come and go all of the time, you just need timeless pieces in your closet and you’ll be set for life. Fast fashion is inherently racist. You see these capitalist companies source labor in these 3rd world countries, countries that are the way they are because of them, and it just continues the cycle. They make them even more poor, there’s no fair wage, terrible conditions, they’re inhuman! Would you want to be in a cramped up warehouse making clothes for rich people in america? Put yourself in their shoes. Everyone deserves better, they deserve humane conditions. Also fast fashion is just ugly! You wash pieces and they start to peel, why would you want that? Invest in quality pieces, go thrift shopping, buy from independent designers or boutiques who make their things by hand or in small batch quantities. Try your best to do your part, start off small: maybe only shop fast fashion maybe once a month then try to transition to maybe once every 2 months, twice a year etc. Do what you’re comfortable with because everyone’s buying patterns and behaviors are different. Just be aware of what you’re spending your money on.
On her entrepreneurial journey
I feel like I’ve been an entrepreneur since birth, I’ve always been trying to hustle and make a dollar, make my passions into something that can benefit me. When I was around 9 to 10 years old I actually started a business in selling jewelry and I would sell to my family members, family friends. Like other people were playing outside, and I was just home making crafts to sell for like 25 cents each purchase, ‘cus that’s what I really liked to do. So I’d say entrepreneurship is pretty innate in myself.
When I was around 15, I opened up a depop shop, because I obviously couldn’t get a job, and I knew that I wanted to make money, be independent and fund my own purchases. So I opened up the depop account and would sell my own clothes and I would make a little money off of that. I remember every day after school, I would go to the post office in the mall to ship my things off and I was only 15, I didn’t know what branding or a company was, but that really set the mark for my sales skills, I gained sales experiences. Then I got really into thrifting, I was a teenager that was into trendy clothes and wanted to get them for the low. That’s when I discovered the vintage community, through a youtube video. I started binge watching “come thrift with me” videos and that’s what sparked my interest. I also discovered Gary Vee, I would binge watch and loved his work ethic. So I combined those two together : my passion for entrepreneurship and my new found love for vintage and I started ShopMTLVintage.
On her personal style influences
I wouldn’t say there’s particularly one person in mind that I worship for their style. But I’m really inspired by the 90s obviously. You know, Black woman with how creative we are and how we set the trends and tones for everything and I just see beauty in everything; as cheesy as that sounds. I try to pick and choose what I like. Another thing that motivates my fashion sense is comfort, if something is really comfortable and fashionable, those two together… that’s a fit. I love neutral tones, nothing too eccentric and I really like quality pieces that I can keep for a long time.
On what keeps her inspired
When I started ShopMTLVintage, I was studying sciences and I quickly realized that wasn’t the path for me. I was not going to class, I was so unmotivated like I hated my life and I feel like a lot of people feel that way when they’re on the wrong path. We all have to go through that, that is just how life is. You have to try things out, and if you don’t like them then you put them aside and you try something else. So when I discovered there was a marketing program at Vanier, I was really excited but it only started the next fall, so I had to wait a whole year. I just took base classes in the meantime, and while i was taking those base classes, I could really focus and work on ShopMTLVintage and also do my own self education. I actually used the internet to teach myself social media marketing and marketing in general through podcast and youtube videos!
When you truly believe that something is meant for you, you’ll keep pushing towards that goal, even if the results are not what you want right away because you know that the end goal is something that’s meant for you. Being an entrepreneur, being my own boss, is really what is pushing me towards the goal of owning my own business.
Also with my marketing degree, I want to become a freelance marketer because I want to help others start up their own business. I had so many doubts when I started, and I feel like because I’ve gone through that cycle, I can help others get through it and start their business. I want to be a source of motivation for other people that may be stuck, that might think they have all odds against them when in reality, something else is meant for them.
On 3 tips for her younger self
I feel like I am my younger self. I’m only 20 years old and I can only imagine what kinda person I’ll become at 30, so I don’t know. What I would tell 1-2 year ago Mallory is: keep going, things will get rough but just stay focused, you’re gonna find what you love and you know, people are gonna come and go, but you really just have to be content with yourself.
Follow Heat Collectors on their Instagram so you won’t miss any of their new vintage drops. Keep up with Mallory on her IG [@gangoverlove]. Big shoutout to John Dagsaan for getting all these amazing shots! Make sure to follow his Instagram as well and check out his portfolio here.