Interview with Sammy Davis of Sammy Davis Vintage
Could you tell us a little bit about your own history and background? How did you get started in your current business venture Sammy Davis Vintage?
I hail from a magazine journalism background. After a few years working as an assistant editor with Esquire.com, I set out on my own to cultivate my vintage fashion prowess as a seller, blogger and aspiring leader in the industry.
It’s been three years since leaving my “corporate cubicle” behind for the road less traveled and I have no regrets.
After a few years selling vintage on my own (and literally doing so out of a storage unit at one point!), I became manager of a trendy vintage boutique in New York City’s Lower East Side called A Little Wicked. As I learned the ins and outs of operating a small business (it ain’t easy!), I worked fastidiously to grow my audience by creating service-oriented content of heavily researched information (20s clothing – 80s clothing trends) they could use to learn more about vintage fashion for selling, wearing and collecting needs.
My digital media background helped to develop my YouTube channel, website, social media outlets and forthcoming ebook. Everything I’ve built around my digital brand speaks to the passions I have for spreading vintage love and encouraging more women to buy, wear and share their own personal passion for vintage clothing.
How do you keep your entrepreneurial focus? Do you have any suggestions for entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?
Stay positive. There is opportunity in every obstacle, and obstacles are in fact a blessing because they challenge us to become better entrepreneurs than we were before. In other words: without the tough times, there’d be no success.
If you could tell someone just one thing about how to be a success in the online world of entrepreneurship, what would it be?
Be your true self by following the delicious desires of your heart.
What inspires you and do you do anything on a consistent basis to stay inspired?
Meditation, exercise and regular spiritual practice keep me inspired, peaceful and in an all-knowing, joyful state that whatever I desire is on its way because I can attract it.
I am a firm believer in the power of the mind, and through regular meditation and exercise every other day (I run and swim mostly, I have a 3:18 marathon personal best!) I can tap into feelings of joy that stay with me throughout the day and therefore channel the creative energy I need to build my business into the best it can be.
My spiritual practice is tapping into the all-knowing wise woman I am within. We all have wise voices within, telling us not to fear but to be faithful, not to control but to simply allow. Through regular affirmation writing and reading spiritual texts by those who have self actualized their lives (Mastin Kipp of the Daily Love, Gabby Bernstein, Esther & Jerry Hicks, Wayne Dyer) I’m reminded of my power within by the inspiration these self actualized individuals share.
We are here to celebrate and to inspire one another, which is why I love the concept of Clarity so much because it provides a channel of communication to do just that.
If you had only 5 words to define your True Self, what would they be?
Approachable, authentic, inspired, selfless, spiritual
What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
I had no “career dreams” until I was a sophomore in high school. I was inspired to take fundamentals of journalism. It was a small class led by the advisor of the high school paper. I remember writing my first news article in that class and in that moment, deciding I wanted to be a journalist and that I would do whatever I needed to do to learn more about the art of writing and reporting.
My passion and intent on “gaining my 10,000 hours” proved successful, which is why I was able to land such a prestigious media job immediately out of college after having had a number of internships with national magazines (Glamour, SELF, Life & Style).
But the path wasn’t exactly the one meant for me. I staked out on my own, following the belief I was destined to create my own media property, marrying the style of vintage with the spirit of self-love.
What is your favorite book about business and why?
The 7 Habits for Highly Efficient People by Stephen Covey is such a classic that every college freshman to 86-year-old person needs to to read. The secret to success and abundant happiness is not necessarily talent, but self-discipline to cultivate it. This book speaks to this and how you can program yourself to apply focus on the true priorities of your life in a centered, balanced way. No more “I must get this done right now” but rather you learn to plan your week to best water the plants in all gardens of your business’ many facets.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is that there is no crying in business. It sounds cliche, it sounds girly, but for everyone it is a truth that to have a thick skin is to be a great leader of your own business and arguably your own life. The insecurities entrepreneurship provokes can destroy your dreams if you allow them to remain an everyday part of your awareness.
Understanding that all criticism is constructive, all obstacles are opportunities and all failures are just putting you leaps and bounds closer to your success is a daily practice that can do nothing less than set you up for the greatness you inherently are.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Do what makes you feel passion. Follow your passion with razor sharp focus. Embrace the unknown as opportunities to make your dreams a sustainable reality of greatness.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Self discipline, positivity, embracing the challenges and growth of the unknown.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I’ve cultivated many ideas within the business structure of Sammy Davis Vintage that have failed. But with each failure I’ve learned more what it is I truly want and why these failures didn’t work because really, they weren’t fulfilling my heart’s desires.
I believe it is most important that we listen to the burning desires in our heart and following them to the path we were put on this planet to pursue. So when making business decisions, follow your gut and what ideas make you wish to “stay up late at night” working on.
How many hours do you work Sammy Davis Vintage per day on average?
Because I am producing an ebook, my work day ranges from 8 to 10 solid hours these past few weeks. Because my apartment is my office, I have the luxury of not needing to dress up everyday or spend time on the train for a commute.
Working from home also allows me the flexibility of having access to a great kitchen for healthy, nutritious food and if I want a mid afternoon break, a quick jog in New York City’s Central Park.
Describe/outline your typical day.
I am awake by 7AM. I have a power breakfast of green tea and peanut butter/banana. I write affirmations for my day, usually directed at the activities I have lying before me or to create peace inside around a feeling of fear I may have.
A few days a week I run from about 7:30-8:30 and then meditate for 10 minutes in Central Park. Meditation is a huge part of my daily practice especially since the start of 2013.
The night before each new day, I write a to-do list. I tackle my to-do list while keeping my phone off (for focus!) and social media at low speed. I’m currently participating in a social media detox as I write my first ebook. I believe sometimes we must let go of things temporarily in order to move forward, and deciding to pause my social media activities as I produce my book is an example of this.
I do my best to wrap work by 7PM, especially so I can go to an event, see a friend, run errands or make a delicious dinner. The 7 to 10PM hours is also an important time for me to read and think creatively, as the focused hours of the day don’t always allow for this.
How did you go about building your web traffic and social media following?
My website is built on the key practices of search engine optimization, and my YouTube following is an important component to reaching an international audience of vintage lovers because it is the #2 searched site next to Google.
By shining my authentic vintage loving self on social media, I’m able to attract loyal followers who inspire me as much as I hope to inspire them.
Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs and negative experiences as an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are never alone. Whether it is a family member, a best friend, an ex-lover or perhaps a random person at the coffee shop you frequent, reach out to those around you to talk about the setbacks and negative experiences. Speak of your fears with those who can help lift your vibration to a positive place. Connecting with others during tough times is the quickest way to get back on track and to see – no matter how hard that set back was to swallow – it happened 100 percent with your best interests in mind.
In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Sammy Davis is a vintage fashion expert whose informative website and popular videos bring the wonders of vintage fashion to the contemporary woman by showing them where to buy, how to style and how to sell vintage clothing.
Sammy’s involvement of the past decade has grown from selling vintage clothing out of the “trunk of her car” at The Brooklyn Flea to operating A Little Wicked, a New York City.
Sammy has worked with many industry leaders including Goodwill, Salvation Army, Housing Works, The Manhattan Vintage Show (the largest vintage show in the US), Artists and Fleas. She also serves as a vintage fashion spokesperson and has been featured on the Nate Berkus Show, My Fox NY, USA Today and the book Wearable Vintage Fashion. She has also written for AOL, Stylelist and been featured on all the leading vintage fashion blogs.
Sammy has a magazine journalism degree from Temple University, where she co-founded the university’s only campus magazine. She’s written for Esquire.com, thedailygreen.com and has reported for SELF, Glamour and Life & Style magazines.
If you would like to talk to Sammy on the phone about anything Vintage related, you can call her through her Clarity Page.