Raising Nine Interview

By Alex Gryciuk 

When walking down Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, you’ll pass various different boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that make Downtown special. Unique and eccentric, each location provides wonderful entertainment for spending time alone or with friends and family on any given day of the week. A fairly new shop, Raising Nine, adds yet another reason to visit Downtown. 

Filled with vintage and unique pieces of clothing, candles, jewelry, and tea this second-hand store is perfect for the everyday fashionista looking to add some oomph to their outfits or the vintage enthusiast hoping to discover something new. Certainly, a place worth visiting. Read down below to learn more about the interesting story behind Raising Nine and their take on thrifted fashion!

Location: 25 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 *To the right of the Apple Store

Social Media: @shopraisingnine on Instagram

Special Event: End of Summer School Sale (More details on Instagram!)

Are you a thrift, vintage, antique, or second-hand store? How would you describe your business?

Because we don’t just sell vintage clothing and we sell other modern name brands like LuluLemon or items from Urban Outfitters, I would call this store a second-hand store.

What is the significance of your store name? 

I have eight sisters, so there’s nine of us girls. I’m number seven, so I’m one of the younger ones. I’m actually the first one that was born here in the US. Every sister before me was born in the Philippines. So this just pays homage to my parents and everything that they taught us. If you look at everything in the store, I don’t just put items in the store or tea or lotions and all that stuff in candles. I don’t just put it in the store just to fill the store. Every single thing that’s in here has a story to play in my personal life.

What drew you to the business in the first place?

Yeah, that’s a big one. I previously worked in the tech industry, and so I’m pretty sure a lot of people that work in the tech industry could relate to me. But you just feel like you hit the glass ceiling and then you move on to the next venture.

It wasn’t until 2021 that I started selling in markets. For that whole year, I had markets booked every single month. Sometimes I would have it four times in a month. So every single weekend, I was out selling in markets. 

So I went back to work because the offices opened and I went back to work [after COVID restrictions loosened] I think it was, like, August of 2022. The whole time, I’m just thinking about selling in markets. I’m thinking about this dream of having a brick and mortar. And during that time, it was nowhere in sight that I would open up a store anytime soon. It was just a dream within, like, five years. But again, you hit the glass ceilings; you feel like you’re not appreciated and all that. 

So this opportunity came up. Redemption posted on their social media that they were looking for someone to sublease the space. I jumped on it without any thought and I just inquired. From what I was told, from what Redemption told me, there were so many people that inquired. And Tammy, who’s the owner of Redemption, and she and I just clicked. That was the start of it. And I came to the space and just wanted to fill it out. And from then on, we opened up the shop.

How long has it taken to accumulate the items in your store?

So, to be honest, I have three storage units of clothing, home goods, and furniture. I’ve been collecting for about twelve years now. And I sold online previously, which, you know, like on Etsy, on eBay. I sold online and then, you know like I mentioned, I sold in markets in 2021. So it’s taken years to accumulate the inventory. 

But you know, I think some people, like myself at one point, lose sight and just want to keep building inventory and not selling. So, that’s why I’m so thankful to have opened this shop that the landlord actually considered us to renew the lease. So, we’ll be here for five years and I [now] have a place for anyone else to appreciate each piece. 

How have you built up your inventory? Yard sales? Craigslist? 

I source anywhere, yard sales, estate sales, any other thrift shops, or there’s people that just want to let go of things, right? So I make appointments with them to buy them out.

However, right now we aren’t taking appointments for people to come and bring their things. It just really depends. If someone said, oh, I have a house full of stuff, then yeah, I’m going to go buy them out. But if I’m going to have to make appointments for people to bring it in, I don’t have the bandwidth to do that just yet. So that might happen in the near future. 

Also, if you see each tag has different names on it, right? So these are people that I have met at the markets and that have different styles than I do. And I knew that when I wanted to open up a store, these are the people that I wanted to curate clothing with me.

Favorite thrifted piece/favorite thing to thrift?

This is actually non-clothing related. So, my favorite thrifted piece that I’ve ever come across, and it was like, no one didn’t even bother to look or touch it. Probably back in 2016, I walked into Savers. It’s in Milpitas, where I grew up, actually.

I walked in, and I saw it from, like, I don’t know, 25ft away, and I instantly knew what it was. t In the original case, it was a pair of World War II US Binoculars. It was in, like, the most perfect condition. 

 I held on to that for maybe two years or so because I collected a lot of World War II items. That was my most favorite piece that I ever came across.

Most popular item sold in your store? (ex. Lots of t-shirts or leather jackets). 

It would be outerwear. So right now, since it’s a bit chilly, like, crewnecks, leather jackets, and knitted sweaters. And then there’s a vintage band tees. That’s another one. And then also say the menswear, that’s our top seller, because it’s unisex. A lot of girls nowadays like things that are oversized.

Why is thrifting important to you/the planet? 

Shopping second hand is very important to me because not only do you save money or reduce your carbon footprint, but I hear from time to time that many others who would love to shop responsibly that they either don’t have the time, resources, or the desire to do it. I’ve been reselling vintage clothing for about twelve years, had live sales on Instagram for three years, sold at markets for two years, and in November 2022 I finally had the courage to open a brick-and-mortar store. It’s because of shops and/or Instagram accounts like mine that we are able to shop sustainably and extend that to other people who aren’t able to.

What would you say is an obstacle to selling thrifted items? 

So far, honestly, I haven’t come across more than ten customers that were like “Ew. These are all used.” For the most part, the whole community has been super supportive and that’s why we chose to extend our lease after April 30th. But, if I were to answer this question in general, the biggest obstacle to selling thrifted items is educating someone on why it’s important to use each item till it’s on its last legs. 

You have such a unique store with a special vibe and interesting pieces. Obviously, your store is special to Los Gatos. In your own words though, what separates you from other thrift/vintage stores? To the readers, why should they visit your store specifically? 

I have friends in Santa Cruz that own a store, I have friends in Valley Fair that own a store, I have friends in San Francisco that own a store. Each store is different and unique in its own way. How I built the store, the aesthetic, is bohemian. Besides streetwear, I like the Bohemian style like 60’s/70s flowy dresses or gunny sacks. I basically choose my own style built the store around that idea and incorporated different items like tea and books.