Today we’d like to introduce you to Natura De Pinto.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Thank you for having me! When I entered college in 2015, I met my best friend, Sydney O’Leary. It was clear from the start that Sydney and I had so much in common. We both received music scholarships to study classical voice, lived in the same dorm building, and most importantly: purchased our clothes at thrift shops.
Filled with rigorous coursework and late-night rehearsals, our college schedules were demanding and hectic. To escape the pressure and just have some fun, we developed a Saturday morning “tradition”. Sydney and I would wake up early in the morning, hop on rapid transit for a little over an hour, and before we knew it – we were scouring dozens of thrift shops throughout San Francisco. Whether it was a trendy jacket or a pair of vintage jeans, we loved the thrill of never knowing exactly what we would find. We also were elated that our purchases were environmentally conscious. Sydney and I have always been hyper-aware of the adverse effects that the clothing industry has on our planet, so knowing that our wardrobe expansion did not perpetuate this harm was monumental in us buying thrifted clothing in the first place. It also didn’t hurt that the one-of-a-kind items we collected were purchased for a fraction of their original prices!
After our weekend thrift hauls, Sydney and I were frequently asked, “Where can I get that outfit?” or “Where do you shop?”. When we proudly shared that our favorite clothing items were purchased secondhand, Sydney and I were surprised by how many of our peers couldn’t believe our outfits were thrifted. We quickly learned that so many individuals never dreamed of thrifting. Many shared that finding appealing items was “too difficult” or “too time-consuming,” while others felt that the term “thrifted” was synonymous with inferior.
While we remained committed to thrifting, Sydney and I realized that our friends and families brought up very valid points. Thrift shopping certainly wasn’t–and still isn’t–a quick and easy process. To ensure we weren’t missing out on a hidden gem, Sydney and I would almost always set aside an entire day to thrift shop. Therefore, we definitely understood how thrift shopping was an impractical and inefficient shopping option for many individuals.
We started to consider ways to eliminate the challenges that accompany building a wardrobe primarily of secondhand items. Sydney and I discussed all sorts of solutions, but ultimately agreed that creating an online shop was the best way to make shopping secondhand more accessible. We dreamed of a place where one-of-a-kind and sustainable styles were only a click away.
Looking back on conversations like these that transpired during our early college years, it almost seems inevitable that Sydney and I would start a business. We now own and operate Dazed & Delirious— our very own online vintage and pre-loved clothing shop. However, we never would have dreamed that Dazed & Delirious would come to fruition during a historically unprecedented time.
Throughout our many facetime calls during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sydney and I frequently discussed how much we missed being able to thrift shop. During one of these conversations, something clicked for us both. We thought, “Why don’t we start the company we’ve been dreaming about since we were teenagers while we have this time at home?” Sydney was furloughed at the time, and my upcoming music engagements were canceled.
Just like that, Sydney and I began working around the clock to launch Dazed & Delirious. Since we could not leave our homes to purchase new items during quarantine, we started listing some of the pieces we had already collected. We were met with overwhelming support and couldn’t be more grateful. We sold the items that we had owned for ages, and as soon as lockdown restrictions began to subside, we geared up with our masks, gloves, and hand-sanitizer to find more unique items. We recently completed our first quarter and couldn’t be more excited for Dazed & Delirious’ future.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Absolutely. I think our biggest struggle has probably been getting a business off the ground during a global pandemic. So much has changed regarding e-commerce and consumer spending that sometimes it feels like we are navigating a totally unknown space. In the beginning, we definitely underestimated the amount of time and energy it would take to operate our business – especially since we grew so quickly. Sydney and I are also both perfectionists when it comes to our shop, so we spend just about all of our free time making sure everything looks and functions beautifully.
As is common with so many small business owners, we really are learning so much as we go. Luckily, we spend lots of time at home these days (when we aren’t thrifting) and have the internet to help us learn and improve our business. Sydney and I have also become pretty good at delegating our workload and planning out our weeks far in advance to maximize efficiency. Our everyday tasks can be tedious at times, so we like to make sure we take time to appreciate how far we have come in such a short amount of time and, of course, look at the journey that lies ahead with excitement.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I would love to! As I previously mentioned, Dazed & Delirious is a pre-loved and vintage online clothing shop. Of course, we are a small and women-owned business. We currently have two warehouses — one in San Diego, CA, my hometown, and the other in Denver, CO, where Sydney resides.
Dazed & Delirious is known for its customized approach to thrift shopping. Our customers have likened both Sydney and me to secondhand personal shoppers. Our shopping protocol is pretty unique, which is part of the reason why we have acquired this reputation.
When we shop, we pay close attention to item condition, brand, fabric, etc. Then, we style our items with others on our website. We’ve found that this makes it easy for our customers to shop a particular look or buy an entire outfit in a matter of minutes. We also look for pieces that can be worn in various ways or for many different occasions. For example, we have lots of super neat button-up blouses because we love that we can tie them, tuck them, or wear them loose. Generally speaking, we like to say that any Dazed & Delirious piece could be paired well with at least a dozen others on our website.
Our customers also love that we form collections. We choose anywhere from 10-20 items that can easily be mixed and matched, layered, or worn in several different and complementary ways and feature them together on our website. Some of our past collections include NEUTRAL WOMEN, which showcased various neutral shaded items, CLASSIC WOMEN, which contained vintage Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger pieces, and LUXURIOUS WOMEN, which featured gorgeous vintage nightgowns and designer pieces meant for lounging in luxury. We’ve learned that collections really allows our customers to shop secondhand while enjoying a shopping experience similar to what an online department store might offer. You can view our collections here: https://www.dazeddelirious.com/collections.
Sydney and I treat our shop like it’s a boutique. We truly want our customers to feel that finding a perfect thrifted outfit is simple and that shopping secondhand can be high-end. Our items are beautifully packaged in a reusable gift box, so it feels like you have received a present when your Dazed & Delirious package comes in the mail! Sydney and I wash and disinfect our items before they are sold (unless they are new with tags or dry-clean only) and focus on selecting the highest quality items. We never buy garments with the goal of a quick resell.
It’s imperative to Sydney and me that Dazed & Delirious is an inclusive company that meets the fashion needs of as many secondhand shoppers as possible. We do our best to collect items in various sizes and currently have items available in sizes ranging from XXS-3X. We encourage our customers to reach out if they have any special shopping requests, questions about item sizing, or styling inquiries. We love helping our customers find their thrifted style!
We also love the role we play in preserving our planet. We are proud that our purchases begin and end with a donation. As a whole, our company provides customers with an ethical and sustainable shopping alternative—without compromising style, of course.
We have a circular approach to fashion, which we’ve outlined as follows:
1. We primarily shop at thrift stores whose entire proceeds are donated to charity.
2. When we resell our clothes, we help keep clothing out of landfills and reduce the support of fast-fashion companies that utilize child and sweatshop labor.
3. When customers purchase our items, they look fabulous while saving money. We sell our high-quality items for less than 50% of their initial tag price.
4. We donate 5% of our profits to a charity that rotates periodically. Right now, we have selected San Diego’s Hidden Treasures Foundation, which provides sanctuaries for female victims of human trafficking.
We have so much to look forward to this new year, as we grew so fast in 2020. In December, we hosted our first pop-up shop at a Holiday Festival in San Diego, quadrupled our inventory, and expanded into the realm of menswear. We currently have over 500 items available for purchase. We really are not an ordinary online thrift shop – if there is such a thing!
How do you think about luck?
Good question. Truthfully, I’ve never been the kind of person who attributes a situation to luck. Nevertheless, I can definitely see how Dazed & Delirious would not be here today if some lucky and unlucky occurrences did not happen.
Regarding the good luck we have had, I feel incredibly fortunate to have met Sydney in college. Sydney and I often discuss how grateful we both are to be running Dazed & Delirious alongside one another. We are also very lucky to have received such overwhelming support from the very first day of our business.
Numerous brands, small businesses, and online blogs that are also women-owned or operated have reached out and asked to collaborate. Be on the lookout for some really exciting partnerships that will be released towards the beginning of 2021. We really had no idea what kind of feedback Dazed & Delirious would receive online. Thus, when various individuals and online niches embraced our mission and vision, we couldn’t have been more thankful.
Perhaps the largest and arguably universally shared instance of bad luck has been the impact of COVID-19. I completed my two undergraduate degrees just before the onset of the pandemic and planned to utilize my classical voice training before pursuing an advanced degree. Like so many others, my plans were put on hold.
Nevertheless, I have always believed that there are reasons why things don’t always go as planned. The time Sydney and I spent at home really allowed us to grow our business in ways unimaginable if we had other work and life obligations. So, for both the good and bad luck that has brought us to where we are today, we are very grateful. If you have any questions, comments, or think we’d be an exciting partnership opportunity, please contact us here: https://www.dazeddelirious.com/contact.
- Tops: $15.00 – $50.00
- Accessories: $15.00 – $35.00
- Dresses and Skirts: $15.00 – $50.00
- Shoes: $15.00 – $50.00