By Steven Barrera
Many students wait until after college to chase their dreams but that is not the case for Ryan Fooks, Leroy Thompson, and Regan Noll. The three have gone into selling vintage clothing. They created an Instagram account called copthat_vintage where they showcase some of their inventory and make announcements. The name comes from an account called I think you should cop that Fooks ran while he was home in Bakersfield over the summer. While attending TMU’s “Week of Welcome,” Fooks met Noll who was taking pictures of the event. Noll, who had known Thompson since high school, introduced him to Fooks. As the three got to know each other they soon realized they all have a passion for vintage clothing. After brainstorming they decided to convert, I think you should cop into what is now Cop that vintage. Currently, they have pop up events where they sell clothes; however, they have an online store that is in the making. The goal is to one day have their own shop. For now, their website is the focus.
One struggle they have faced is managing their social media platforms. “A lot of it has been time management for us because we are all athletes as well,” said Noll. With their seasons ending, they have been able to dedicate more time to their various platforms. With the added time they have been able to find a balance between quality and posting consistently. Although they have had posts that they thought were going to be successful, they fell short of their expectations. Instead of looking at it as a failure they see it as a humbling experience. “While all this is cool and fun, the end goal is to bring God glory. If we are not doing that it is all for selfish gain,” said Noll. They make sure to always take a step back and remember why they are doing what they are doing.
Throughout their struggles they have had people they are able to turn to that are navigating the vintage clothing scene and are also believers. One of those people who has been a Shepherd to them is a group named Paradigm Thrift and Vintage found out of Wheaton, Illinois. They are able to receive advice on how they went about certain struggles of running a business. Another person they can go to for similar advice is their friend Joe Ibrahim, who runs his vintage company named Lift N Thrift in Los Angeles. They have also expressed their gratitude to everyone at TMU that has supported them. “The Lord has blessed us tremendously with people that have been in this community like Joe, like Paradigm. People that we can go to and seek counsel and get advice. We know that we aren’t alone in this process, we have an army of people who have our backs and want to see us succeed which is everything,” said Thompson.
As they grow and hopefully achieve their goal of having a store, they do not want to be a faceless company that sells overpriced clothes, but to be a company that not only gives their customers a place to shop but to also hang out and have an enjoyable time. “We want people to be a part of it. It is also a good way to share the gospel with people that don’t know Christ and we have the opportunity to build relationships and that is a big thing,” said Fooks. Besides selling vintage clothes they want to be able to sell street wear and hype wear such as the brand supreme.
When it comes to prices, they are not trying to over charge. Tthey sell their clothes at a lesser price than someone else in the vintage community might sell an item at. They also realize that they don’t have a huge following so people won’t be quick to pay premium prices as they would with an established company. Having an understanding that their main target audience is a younger crowd, and they don’t have much money to spend on clothes, they take that into consideration when coming up with prices. However, they don’t want to sell themselves short, so they know with certain items that are harder to come by they aren’t going to be able to compromise on the price.
To check out Cop That Vintage you can find them on Instagram and TikTok at copthat_vintage.