Two years ago I conducted an incredible interview with none other than the hypest of the hypebeasts himself Ang Nits. Since I dived deep inside the mind of a “user”—in this case, a bright-eyed individual who unabashedly buys highly popularized (and often criticized) gear for his own enjoyment—it’s time to finally hear from the “dealer.” Yup, you read that right, I’m talking about a dope garment slangin’, bandz getting reseller.
Allow me to present the culprit at hand Josh Dzime-Assison, better known as Dizzy. What makes the determined DMV native so unique is that he specializes in reselling sensational pieces from thrift stores. Dizzy actually has his meticulous thrifting ways down to a science. Don’t believe me? Simply head over to his Instagram page and you’ll find informational posts on how to properly cop and resell vintage threads: from refurbishing old boxes to send out packages, all the way down to clutch reminders like not forgetting to look through the bedsheet and hand towels section for hidden gems. (Earlier this month he bought a 1970s Yves Saint Laurent towel set for only $8. It was resold on eBay for a whopping $240.)
I recently sat down with the eCommerce expert to discuss his come up, fashion, business and future endeavors. Check out our insightful conversation below:
FRENDY: I could have easily named this piece, “The King of Reselling” because you are a Jedi master of flipping items, but I truly believe you’re even better at buying archival pieces for the low low. When did thrifting become your thing?
DIZZY: I stumbled into thrifting as a teenager, maybe 14 or 15. I was a fanatical sneaker collector at that time. I remember going in a thrift store (before it was acceptable and trendy to wear used or secondhand items) and seeing some really dope older Jordans. One of my first thrift store purchases was a pair of original powder blue 9’s from 1994. I think I paid $10 for them, took them home, scrubbed them and they broke everyone’s neck at school the next day and on NikeTalk that night when I posted my outfit. I was hooked on thrift stores after that.
FRENDY: Jeez, only $10! A regular teenager back then wouldn’t think about hitting up a thrift store to cop some gear. You were ahead of your time. Is it safe to say that you were introduced to fashion and style by your OGs at a real young age?
DIZZY: I wasn’t really introduced to fashion by OGs, I grew up on 90s basketball and Eastbay. At that time, my focus was strictly sneakers, and the love for sneakers helped me develop my style and taste in fashion a little later. In high school, I probably already had close to 150 pairs of sneakers and I was starting to build a reputation on message boards like NikeTalk and ISS. That slight Internet buzz was fun, but the Internet was fairly new as far as understanding the power and reach that it had. So I was just beginning to tap into my influence at that point.
FRENDY: Where exactly did you grow up in the DMV area?
DIZZY: I grew up in Adelphi, MD, which is Prince George’s County if anyone is familiar with the DMV area. Around 10th or 11th grade, my family moved to Silver Spring, MD which is a suburb of Washington, DC.
FRENDY: I read that Maryland has a lot of county pride. When you tell people what county you’re from, it’s like telling them part of your identity. Do you believe that’s true? If so, what attributes have you inherited from yours?
DIZZY: Yeah, there’s a little bit of that. It’s not as serious as the boroughs in NY, but people definitely want to know where you’re from. I think the issue comes from people that are from MD claiming DC and people from far suburbs claiming DMV. I think people just want to know that you’re actually from the area.
Growing up in MD was dope though because it’s a racial melting pot and an economic melting pot. I was able to see and experience so much in those younger years. I had white friends and black and hispanic friends. I had rich friends and lower middle class friends. It was just a really well rounded upbringing. I think it prepared me for how diverse the real world is.
FRENDY: Amazing. Damn, I guess I watched too much of “The Wire’ growing up because I ignorantly thought the whole of Maryland was filled with violence *Laughs*.
DIZZY: “The Wire” just showed some parts of Baltimore, which is like 45 minutes away from Silver Spring and an hour from Washington, DC. For the most part, those suburbs around DC are consistently some of the wealthiest counties in the country. I think Prince George’s county has the wealthiest black population of anywhere. So as amazing as “The Wire” was, it was telling a very specific story. I recently was in Colombia in South America and from what we see in movies and on TV, we just think it’s all cocaine cartels. When I got there, it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Same thing.
FRENDY: That’s why we actually have to experience life instead of agreeing with force-fed information from mainstream media. Speaking of which, in an interview with The Fader last year, singer Brent Faiyaz stated that Maryland is extremely competitive. Have you experienced any sort of competition or haters downplaying your entrepreneurial grind out there?
DIZZY: I try not to pay attention to it. That’s everywhere though. People will tell you that same story in any city. I just always try to show love and it’s worked out for me. At times, I’ve struggled with the feeling that people were smiling in my face and hating behind my back, but that was something I had to get over and grow past. So now I just focus my thoughts and energy on things I can control.
FRENDY: This is the same energy I carry. Your company is now based in New York. What inspired the move there from your hometown?
DIZZY: I’m actually back in MD now, man. I was in NY for 7 years. I originally left MD because I was able to have some success at a young age and I was curious to see how that stacked up in a big market. Everybody in this industry wants to be in NY for the opportunities, the relationships, resources. There’s just so many things that NY offers that you can’t get anywhere else in the world. So living and hustling in NY for those years was a great experience for me.
FRENDY: What compelled you to actually carry out the plan of opening up your online shop selling thrift goods?
DIZZY: The plan started in MD. I opened the first consignment sneaker store in the MD area in 2007. I did the physical location thing for a little while and when that ended, I just continued the hustle online. I had always been selling, but before that I was selling on forums, from my blog (I was blogging heavily back then) and on MySpace. From there, the transition to an online store platform was pretty seamless.
FRENDY: Why did you decide to shut down the physical shop?
DIZZY: Unfortunately, someone broke into it and stole a lot of stuff. So dealing with the logistics of recovering from that and also repaying thousands of dollars to people for their consigned items was overwhelming to deal with at 21-years-old. So I just took a break from it and shifted directions.
FRENDY: All things happen for our greatest good, even when we don’t even understand it at the moment. I’m glad you kept your dreams alive. You have a vast amount of customers from all over the country. How did you build such a loyal and expansive following? Word of mouth or social media?
DIZZY: I believe that 100%. Initially when I started selling online, I was running a really popular blog. Get Dizzy blog at one point was getting like 10,000 viewers a day. So I combined my sales platform to my blog, which was already generating crazy traffic.
After that, I think it’s just been about consistency. When you do anything for over 10 years without stopping, people take notice. I also try my best to do good business and make the transactions as personal as possible, which creates a bond and loyalty between me and my customers. I also sell on almost every platform (eBay, Grailed, Poshmark, Etsy,Instagram, etc) and I direct all those buyers back to my site. So that helps with growth also.
FRENDY: Genius move. How much research do you do when it comes to finding the perfect vintage shop?
DIZZY: I literally go to all of them *Laughs*. I make a list depending on what area I’m in, then I hit them all one by one. The ones that are good, I start going more consistently. So over time, I’ve found about 20-30 stores in the DMV area alone that I shop at regularly. So my research is hands on. I go there and see each spot for myself.
FRENDY: What are your thoughts on Tokio 7 in New York? How does it hold up to your standards?
DIZZY: I love Tokio 7. That’s one of my favorite spots in NY. I’ve shopped in there with ASAP Rocky, I’ve shopped in there with Nick Wooster, you name it. It’s an amazing spot to find crazy pieces for my personal collection, but it’s not a spot I would consider to buy and flip from. I’m a true thrifter. I find gems for $5-10 and turn them into $50-100 or even $500. So I like the thrill of the hunt and I enjoy digging. Tokio 7 is very well manicured, the items are carefully screened and handpicked, so it doesn’t provide me with the thrill of the hunt.
FRENDY: I had a feeling you’ll love that spot. I do as well. How does reselling differ from when you started back in 2007 and now? Should people even enter the game at this point?
DIZZY: I think this is a great time to get into reselling. The information and tools are all readily available. I used to have to buy every item based on my gut instincts. Now a reseller can literally compare prices live on eBay or other sites right from their phone to make sure their making a good purchase. There’s a ton of resellers out there now, which makes finding items a little harder, but if you have some knowledge and work ethic, you can kill it.
FRENDY: What are you favorite brands right now? And why?
DIZZY: I wear a lot of Saint Laurent, Fear of God and Chrome Hearts. Those are probably my favorite brands currently. I usually wear mostly black so they just fit my look. I like what Rhuigi is doing with Rhude. He’s been leveling up like crazy over these past few years. I really like Greg Lauren because of the way he fuses different types of pieces together. On the streetwear level, I like Human Made—Nigo is a legend so that’s self-explanatory. I’ll also always love Visvim. A lot of the pieces don’t fit my daily look, but I think Hiroki is a genius and his attention to detail is next level.
FRENDY: As far as shopping for retro pieces, what sticks out to you the most? How do you know that it will actually resonate with customers?
DIZZY: The dope thing about fashion is that it’s cyclical. Styles and brands come back around, so sometimes you can predict those things. A lot of vintage shopping also plays on nostalgia. People want to buy things they had when they were a kid or wanted badly when they were a kid. For international buyers, they love a lot of iconic American cultural things like 90’s hip hop brands and beer brands, etc. Over time, after thousands of sales, you just develop a great view of the market and the type of items that are in high demand.
FRENDY: I honestly appreciate your mantra, “Patience. Persistence. Progress.” It’s practically embedded in your personal branding. In what areas of your life do you exercise it?
DIZZY: That mantra literally defines the whole process for me. In life, in business, in relationships, it applies to everything. You’re always in one of those stages. It’s just a reminder to slow down, take your time and stay with it. A lot of people rush the process (no patience), or quit too early (no persistence), and then end up never progressing. The dope part about it is, once you make some progress, the cycle starts over again.
FRENDY: Perfectly said. For the most part, your Instagram captions are thought provoking and hilarious. One of my favorites is “rappers should have all their clothes taken away, if they can’t pronounce the brands,” written under a flick of you showcasing a first person perspective your own fancy threads. Do you think of these witty sayings on the fly or have them saved up on your notes somewhere?
DIZZY: Thanks man. I realized that you have to find ways to showcase your personality on Instagram which is a visual platform. Everybody’s captions are either extremely literal or some song lyrics or something. So usually those captions are just tweets that I’ve posted earlier on Twitter. I try to keep the captions as random as possible with no relation to the picture. I think that just makes the comments even better.
FRENDY: You love your friends dearly, always giving them roses while they can still smell them. “No matter what, squad gon eat.” Have you ever experienced any sort of disloyalty?
DIZZY: I have, but that’s life. I also might not have been the best friend either so I can’t point fingers. But with maturity you learn to realize that you don’t need 50 friends, you really only need 3-4 REAL friends. The friends that give you positive peer pressure and hold you accountable and have your best interest at heart. The ones that support your work like it’s their own. It just takes some life experiences to weed out the fake ones and find out who those real ones actually are.
FRENDY: With so many lessons learned, will you ever end up opening your own brick and mortar shop again?
DIZZY: I’ll never say never, but I think that lane is really congested right now. Round Two is killing it, but everybody can’t be Round Two. As the power of the internet grows and the way people shop and interact with items changes, the retail experience should change also. I see new stores opening every day, but they’re using an outdated business model. I can’t go too much into detail about what’s wrong with the model because I have some plans and tricks up my sleeve. I’ll be opening some brick and mortar locations in the future, but the concept will definitely be different. I’ll be in a lane by myself.