Woohoo, it’s that time again! Another Learnin’ Stuff with your favorite Insta-personality, Kyleinthewilds. Now for those of you have been tuning in to this column weekly, thanks! And for those of you who haven’t been tuning in, this is another Insta-Husband interview! This week we are interviewing, the one and only, vintage king Aaron Klein! Who is that, you ask? You’re about to find out!
Q: What’s your wife’s insta/blog/app?
A: My wife Sam is Founder/CEO of Whurl, a vintage shopping marketplace available on iOS!
Q: What exactly is Whurl?
A: It is a community driven app that allows vintage lovers to search and post one of a kind items. Vintage is always an ever-changing bucket to cover anything over 20 years old. The refreshing aspect people love – posting images of things they are looking for and allow the community to find those items for them. It’s great because she is so super smart and has a beautiful community.
Q: How often do you work with Sam on it?
A: Sam started the concept of Whurl almost four years ago. In the beginning, I was there to be supportive wherever I could. Help her test ideas, vent, interview engineers, test the app before it went live, ship vintage items she sold herself. Since the launch, I think it’s important to call out the things I do not do. I do not tell her how to run her business, or what she should do instead of what she is doing. I DO listen, and I try not to give my advice unless she asks for it (I am not perfect and sometimes do this, sorry Sam). I try and offer to hold space for her to have support without infringing on her work. It is not always easy, and that has its challenges. As a man having a wife in a male-dominated space, it is essential not to be another man telling her what she should be doing.
Q: Give us the story of how you and Sam met!
A: We were both snorkeling off the coast of the island of La Digue in the archipelago of Seychelles, and we bumped heads. Ok not really.
WE REALLY met on Tinder. The modern and cool way to find your significant other, I think we were pioneers even. The only reason she met me was that we had a mutual friend who had known me for over ten years and vouched. At the time I no longer even lived in California and flew out to meet her, later she told me she slept with a knife under her pillow those first few nights. Honestly, I do not blame her.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of working around social media?
A: About 3 1/2 years ago I realized I was not getting near the amount back from social media as I was putting into it. The energy entered into the world, and I would feel a certain way about the results; which to me was not a good feeling. I decided to reduce my social media usage and focus it on helping me get more by doing less. I use Twitter now as a way to receive information I think is important quickly. It’s mostly about sports, technology, politics and current events. However, there is still a part of me that enjoys “art directing” photographs. So when I do take pictures for Sam’s social outlets and Whurl, I love to exercise that muscle and create beautiful shit. I also can appreciate understanding the technology and what people like about the platforms they use, or what they dislike about it. The places people go to share themselves can be a vulnerable, exciting and I love the opportunity to understand what makes us all tick.
Q: When did you first get involved with social media?
A: I joined my first social media platform in 1999. It was called Makeoutclub. It was where hardcore/punk/emo (but like the good emo) kids would go and find each other. You had like 10-20 profiles on 1 page, and each profile had a picture, name, your aim name, location and one paragraph about yourself. I kind of wish I had realized how much of the rest of the world needed something like this. A place to meet people who were like them. You also only had 1 picture, so you had to make sure it was a good one.
Q: Do you have a your own job or career?
A: I do have a job yes. Going back to the social media response I had – The reason I am so interested in humans and how they interact with technology is because I work in it myself. I am a Product Manager for Adopt-a-Pet. Yes, it’s true I save animals lives, you are welcome. Like what Sam does on her product, I understand what users want/need, look at data and analytics, do research and test new features and products. My #1 goal is to reduce the numbers of pets in shelters and help find them great homes. Previously I worked for start-ups and enterprise companies making stuff for TV and music. While I loved the work, I can say I am a truly happy being of service to an honest to god good cause.
Q: Do you have any passion projects or hobbies that you work on?
A: Do I? Shit now I feel bad about myself.
My favorite thing to do to pass the time – creating mixes/playlists. I make them mostly for Sam and a small group of friends. Spotify has made it easy these days, I used to make mix tapes on actual tapes. The downside of Spotify is they do not have all the music, and I have to make compromises. There are about 125 mixes on my Spotify which you can find @aaroneousman. I make mixes for seasons of the year, times of the day, moods, nostalgia, and specific people. I think if I had a different career path I would have been a Music Supervisor for movies or TV.
Q: Mixtapes on actual tapes! That’s truly retro. What is the best mixtape you’ve ever made, and what was the track-list?
A: I love all my children equally! I have recency bias as my ear tends to change and morph every week. I like this mix I made for Sam back in July. I was discovering some great female artists and got into a Scandinavian pop thing. It became a diverse and fun mix that has quiet moments slipped in. If Aww Sam ever needs an exclusive mix, I would be happy to oblige 🙂
Q: How often do you hunt for vintage clothing on your own, or do you only go to help Sam?
A: We go to flea markets and estate sales a few times a month. Sam does some sourcing at these rag houses in LA. It is usually during the week when I am working. But when I get to go with Sam, it’s the holy grail. I will often look at 2,000+ shirts in 90 minutes. I keep a few and see if she wants any go the others.
Q: That’s like 20 shirts a minute! Do you have a favorite type of vintage clothing? What about a favorite shirt?
A: Oh boy. My specialty is vintage is t-shirts. I love a thin, been worn for 30 years, got some holes but not too many, perfect to wear to bed, that one your significant other loves to steal, where everyone says “I love that shirt,” you have a panic attack if you can’t find it but it’s actually just at the bottom of the closet t-shirts. I have a basic rating system on two data points – 1.Condition and 2.Content. I rate each one out of 10, shirts with a score over 15 are good shirts. Everything else I can say no to or else I would have 250 shirts (I have about 125)
I have a paper thin Garfield shirt from ’81 that says “I hate Mondays” that’s basically a perfect 20. I have a David Copperfield shirt that’s not as soft but looks like he wants to be in the band Aha and it’s a solid 17.
Q: Now, I’ve seen you in action, and it’s pretty crazy how fast you are able to get through the vintage racks. Do you have any tips or tricks for guys to find vintage clothes?
A: I love flea markets and estate sales – They are everywhere in the country. You will find a few people who know what they have, but often you can get the deal without having to dig too much. Some 50’s and 60’s button ups have a cut that fits more with pants of the time – high waisted. I will find a great shirt, but then it ends up looking like a crop-top with my modern levis – Kyle this might work for you better. Pants are hard too; they are often straight leg but also a wide leg. Mad Men really tricked me into thinking there were well tailored 60s trousers.
Q: I’ve heard some rumors recently about you and football, so I’ll punt you this one: Favorite football team and why.
A: You lobbed this one to me. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and my dad and grandfather were/are huge sports fans. I mean the entire city of Philadelphia is a diseased sports fanbase. I remember getting into my teens just having less and less in common with the male figures in my life. I loved punk and hardcore music, and they enjoyed hunting and not having tattoos. The one thing we could always connect on was the Eagles and how the season was going, what they needed to win it all next year or which player was a bum (My dad loves calling players bums). My grandfather passed in 2015, and up until the end, we would talk about the Eagles. Finally this year after years of falling short they won the Super Bowl. I got to experience the win via text with my dad, and that moment it made me feel close to my grandfather. I cried, I laughed, I ate pretzels it was emotional to say the least. Sometimes sports seems like a weird and silly thing to like, however, I am reminded of why it is important to me, it connects me to a place and to people that are worth remembering.
I hope you all enjoyed Learnin’, and a big thanks to Aaron for taking the time to answer ALL of my questions. Talk about some sound advice and real talk, guys and gals. Now, who’s ready to go thrifting? Wanna have a race to find the best vintage Philly Eagles tee?
as a fellow vintage t-shirt connoisseur, i enjoyed this interview!