Q & A


Emily Zhao of Wanting Collection visited the West Coast of the U.S. for the first time in search of the most colorful and eye-popping pieces. Here’s what she has to say about her travels and her e-commerce and brick and mortar.



​Katrina Guevara: ​From my previous conversations with you, you raved about Portland, Oregon. Describe the city from your visit.

​Emily Zhao: ​Portland is a really cute city​ that is not big ​in comparison​ ​to​ L​.​A and S​F​. However, it is charming. The downtown​ area​ is not far from ​the ​suburbs​.​ Everything is pretty close to everything else. The houses there are very colorful​.​ People look after their front yards really well​, and​ driving on the road is like seeing art in the gallery. ​Portland​ ha​s​ really good restaurant​s. The food is well​-​made, tastes good,​ is​ fairly cheap ​and ​service is excellent. They also have many vintage shops​ with a​ very good collection​,​ but low price. The workers there are very warm and happy​.​ ​T​hey like to tell me more about vintage spots. People are happy there​.​ ​T​hey live life​.​ ​S​trangers smiled ​at ​me on the streets, ​in ​supermarkets​ and ​​​in ​shops. So all over​,​ it is a lovely​,​ livable cute place to me. I’d love to often ​have holiday​​ there.



KG: Did you become drawn to a certain area in California while out here a few days?
EZ: ​I only stayed in L​​os Angeles and San Francisco, California this time​.​ I prefer L.A. Long Beach is kind of my favorite area. If I lived there, I think I would like to have a shop​ to​ sell my favorite things​,​ which I collect from all over the world. It would be a slow​, enjoyable​ life​.​



​KG: ​Passing by Hollywood, what did you ​learn, besides a California roll and right turns on red lights?
​EZ: ​[It’s] annoying, overrated, pretentious, soulless, pressured, stressful​..​ not a happy place.



​KG: ​You have a quick eye when it comes to finding thrifted and vintage goods. Can you give us five words that come to mind when deciding if the clothing is a good fit with your style?
​EZ:Color, quality, price, shape, striking​.​



KG: ​When shopping for your e​-​commerce​ Wanting Collection​, what kind of items do you look for?
​EZ:Good quality, unique design, reasonable price, I like to find some traditional pieces from different countries. Some commercial pieces​,​ but​ of​ high quality​. Some handmade unique pieces maybe a bit expensive but for the customers who want something special.


​KG: ​Do you have a favorite outfit combo?
​EZ:I like a colorful combo from the top to the toe​s​. I​ also​ like to mix different styles of clothes together, ​such as ​wearing a traditional Chinese coat with a​n​ Aussie ​t-​shirt​ and ​Japanese ​t​abi​. Another example is​ wearing a vintage cocktail dress with a pair of N​ike​ sneakers.

​KG: ​What’s your favorite color?

​KG: ​Any tips on remaining true to your self when choosing your outfit?
​EZ: ​Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. Don’t follow ​trends.​ ​F​ind your own style and true personality​.​ ​C​hoose the clothes and color​s​ to express your personality.



​KG: What inspires your taste in fashion?​
​EZ: ​First​, I​ ​was​ inspired by vintage cloth​ing​​.​ I use​d​ to only buy brand new clothes about ​four​ years ago​. However,​ I found​ vintage clothes were very interesting and unique because you can’t find the same one again. I started to buy vintage clothes instead of brand new clothes. Then I started to learn different styles of vintage​.​ I changed from ​’​50s to ​’​80s​.​ ​The style that inspired me the most is ‘​80s style. Japanese fashion also inspires me a lot​ because​ they mix everything up​. ​I​t is fun. I think different culture​s​ inspire me most.

KG: What are your shop goals for your stand at the market?
EZ: I actually want a bigger shop, but it is good enough to start with a small shop. I will expend the shop in one and a half years. If I have a bigger shop, I can collect more products like homeware, plates, cups, rugs and more clothes. So far, I really love my customers. They are very nice people. When the customers come in, they get affected, and they become a kid walking into a candy shop. I guess what I sell are more one-of-a-kind items. I also made the shop really cute and colorful, but it’s not for everyone’s taste. [Customers who come in] enjoy the vibe and everything on the table. They are kind of like me, the type of person who enjoys unique things that have temperature. I then don’t need to have skills in sales. I just talk to my customers as friends by talking about their jobs, life, or hobbies, so the shop has good vibes and respectful people. Most of my products are one-off, this is another way I keep my shop interesting. Wanting Collection is different from fast fashion. It is like a vintage shop. You buy a pair of earrings in my shop, and there won’t be another person who can have them again. So I can keep collecting new pieces. My aim with this business is not because I want the chance to be rich. I really just simply want to bring happiness and joy to people.




IG @wantingcollection


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