Chopping It Up is a series where we talk about issues and subject matter that would naturally come up just as if you were in a chair at the shop with your barber – or in the comfort of your own home getting a house call. We hope you enjoy the playful and chill but also serious things we touch upon.
In life you meet certain people that give off an aura – the Kobe Bryant’s of the world. When Corey Shapiro picked up the phone to chop it up with me recently, I felt that aura through the phone – someone who had been through a lot of sh*t and had expansive knowledge that was ready to burst forth and share it with anyone.
The founder and owner of Vintage Frames, who has over 1 million frames in his inventory, turned his love for the culture into a self-sustaining business that is surviving even through a global pandemic. As someone who understands a lifestyle so many of us wish to attain and emulate, Shapiro not only caters to the knowledgeable consumer, but also to celebrities, athletes and some of the most prominent people in the world. He talks to us about his inspiration, on how opening and owning a barbershop helped set himself up for success, and of course on eyewear, fashion, his flagship store and the importance of the customer’s needs and feelings.
The creative process for everyone is different and it gives the context for the foundation of a person and brand. With that in mind, I wanted to hear about Corey’s inspirations and influences. He talks about how growing up in the ’80s really helped inspire his style and vibes.
Building a business from a passion is something that we’ve seen entrepreneurs do over and over again – after all, that’s the spirit and backbone of what being an entrepreneur is. Vintage Frames was born out of business savvy on the part of Shapiro, he understands the concept of supply and demand on a scalable level – here what he has to say below.
Like every single person around the world over the past year, VF had to figure out a way to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of trying to focus on the bottom line and making money, Shapiro turned towards his community and making sure that they were all good. This move – which told me everything I needed to know about the guy – was well received. In return, loyal customers flocked to the brand. Listen in below.
So what’s that magic formula for success that Corey has been able to tap? He realized the energy, the “holy grail” so to speak, that he wanted to always tap – for him it was Elton John – and he created a persona that a lot of people can relate to. Putting on a pair of Vintage Frames eyewear is meant to transform you into your best self and that’s the secret sauce.
Understanding the secret to success and arriving at it was aided by the fact that Shapiro helped build a barbershop that really understood and catered to our culture – Notorious. Some of the best barbers in the world cut under that roof. Inspired by none other than Versace and Biggie, listen to the dope stories below.
Aside from the big names that he’s been able to meet and sell to in the industry, Shapiro is, as you can tell from the previous audio segments of our interview, very much about the story and experience. Towards the end of our time together, he reminds us that the importance of what eyewear makes people feel.
Even with so many pairs, Shapiro can remember the stories of each one – and that’s the beauty that should never be lost as a business owner.
As someone who has successfully cornered a certain niche and built something for himself, Shapiro shares that its his thick skin and willingness to go through various trials and errors that has helped him grow. His advice for every freelancer and entrepreneur out there is to be yourself and to take failure as a learning experience.
Chopping it up with Corey Shapiro from Vintage Frames yielded a renewed fire within myself that the pandemic definitely chipped away at – love yourself and what you do and those around you will feel it too. For all the aspiring young men and women out there who want to own their own business one day and turn their passion into an everlasting business, never forget your own strength and to trust in yourself. When you’re able to provide for yourself comfortably, always give back to the community that supported you. It’s like the old saying goes, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Photos via Vintage Frames