Women’s History Month is about recognizing the amazing contribution that Women, along with Gender Non-Conforming/Non-Binary humans, have on society. Today, you can find people of various backgrounds pushing for equality and representation through their work. This month, we are hearing from fellow creators and bosses about what they’re experiences:
Gabe Gieser (They/Them), also known as “Trollfunk” on most platforms, is a 17-year-old online vintage reseller from a rural town in Minnesota.
"My future plans have changed a lot in the past year. I’ve always wanted to work with children and was thinking of going to school for Psychology, but after seeing how much I love working on my own online store I realized that I’d like to do something in Business. I think it’s good to have a plan to be able to do what you love, but I think a business degree could provide me with a lot of skills besides just selling curated vintage."
When it comes to your business practices, how do you incorporate your own values and personal beliefs into putting out the best work/services?
I try very hard to be inclusive in my brand, whether that be size-wise or with gender. I hope that anyone is able to find something for themselves in my shop. Unfortunately, Depop’s sizing parameters are still gendered, so if I want to show up in search results, I have to mark them as men’s or women’s, but I try to be helpful in estimating sizes and giving measurements when necessary. I’m actually launching a new project where I create a head-to-toe thrifted outfit based on the customer’s exact measurements.
What do you hope to gain when it comes to your work?
I hope to gain a future. I haven’t talked about this a lot online but I recently had to quit my job due to an in mental illness. I’m still a junior in high school but it’s very common, especially in my area, to have a part-time job as soon as you turn 16. It’s been really difficult coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not as productive as other people in a traditional work environment because of the way my brain works. Being my own boss has allowed me the freedom to have bad days and get through them if I have to take a few hours or up to a day to calm myself and then work on packaging orders and responding to messages. I hope that in the future I will be able to make vintage fashion a part of my career.
Is there a specific reason you choose to sell vintage, color bursting items in your store?
I’ve always been a fan of colorful and unique fashion; finding inspiration from J-Fashion subsets like Fairy Kei to TV shows like Full House or various 90’s cartoons. I grew up shopping at thrift stores and the fact that there were entire fashion communities that thrived off of finds from that very place was so exciting for me. When it comes to figuring out what will sell (aside from personal preferences) I do a lot of browsing on Instagram and the explore page of Depop to see what colors/items/patterns are trending.
As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, how are you using your work, if you are at all, to support or bring awareness to the community?
I’ve talked to my other Lesbian friends about this topic, and we’ve realized just how few Lesbians (and “WLW” in general) there are to look up to in larger media. If you don’t want to be a talk show host or a recurring character on Orange is The New Black, you’re kind of out of luck on role models. I hope that I can show younger LGBTQ+ girls everywhere that you can have your own business doing what you love.
You dress in so many bright and wonderful clothing. Usually, the way people dress can tell a story about them. What's the story behind why you dress the way you do?
I do it because it makes me happy. I love bright colors and mixing vintage with new, putting together outfits can bring new life to pieces that probably haven’t been worn by anyone in years. It feels like such a creative outlet.
There seems to be an odd stigma when it comes to being a Lesbian and the way they dress, how do you feel about that and how are you combating those stereotypes?
I feel like there are some kinds of comfort in labels, my Instagram bio states that I’m a “certified tacky femme” after all (pretty proud of that one LOL). However, I think there is a fine line between respecting and owning Lesbian labels and being stereotyped. I do lots of things in my life that non-LGBTQ+ members wouldn’t find “feminine” and to me, Lesbianism is, at its core, finding comfort in the things that aren’t conventionally attractive and living your true self in your niche. I don’t have to worry about attracting men (or any women that don’t align with my way of being), therefore I don’t worry about shaving my legs or wearing “flattering” clothing. It almost feels like lesbians have created their own forms of gender expression and how it communicates through attraction; it feels so liberating.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring “Girl (GNC/GNB) Bosses” out there?
Figure out your passion, and no matter what niche it may be, you’ll find an audience. If it’s something you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life, your joy will attract others. It can feel, at times, like everything and everyone is against you, but the need to be able to do what you love should always prevail.