Melissa Blumberg

Coolstuff Team
May 31, 2024

Meet Melissa, the founder of curated vintage shop, Seven Wonders Collective. Melissa has built a world of curated wonder in over three locations in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. We caught up with the queen of vintage to hear more about her story.

How did your career in fashion begin?

I don’t think I ever intended to have a career in fashion! I always thought of myself as more of a treasure hunter. My interest in the clothes was more romantic. I loved the stories behind the clothes. Some people find it creepy but I love estate sales, especially the big messy hoarder time warps. I love to see what people just simply can’t discard. I love finding notes and ticket stubs folded in pockets. As a teen, I got really into the thrift store as a kind of rebellion against the culture of my high school. Everyone around me was buying Abercrombie and I could go to the thrift store and fill bags and bags for the same price as a single pair of pants at the mall.

I went to college and got a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and moved to NYC imagining that I would work for a book publisher. I wanted to be a writer and at the time working in book publishing seemed like the proper adult thing for a writer to do. My heart wasn’t in it though and everywhere I interviewed felt so corporate and I don’t really fit well into that atmosphere. I started working at a creative writing school and also at a couple of vintage stores on the weekends. I was just really impressed with the women who owned the shops I worked in. Before meeting them I never thought that vintage could be a real job. I started to think why not try and do something you actually love. I opened my first store when I was 25, it was just called Seven Wonders.

It took me a while to actually believe that what I was doing was “real.” Even running two locations of Seven Wonders Collective I still held onto my day job at the writing school! I only left it because I got pregnant and realized there wouldn’t be enough days in the week to run two stores, have a baby, and work a day job. 

Tell us about your "vintage dreamland" shop, Seven Wonders Collective!

Yes! Seven Wonders Collective is truly a dreamland! If you’re looking for something special we probably have it at one of our three locations. There are now over 30 vendors across the three shops and they are all traveling around the county (and the world) to source their amazing pieces.

I opened the first collective because I was running my own store alone and I began to realize that I could definitely sell more if I could source a wider range of styles. At the same time I was meeting so many cool people through the store who told me they also sold vintage and so when I was ready to open a new store I decided to invite a few of them in to rent racks and help diversify the selection. We had an amazing response at the first location so I immediately wanted to open a second and be able to invite in even more vendors. One thing led to another and now there are three! I love that groups of friends can walk in and each find the racks and the styles that they are looking for. I love that every time I walk into the store there is something new and amazing that I have never seen before. Our stock is just constantly changing and that makes it fun. 

What’s your favorite part about the New York creative & fashion community? 

The vintage community specifically is really amazing, and SWC is really a huge community all in itself. All of the vendors in the store are just wonderful, creative, and talented people. I feel so lucky that I get to work along side all of them! The energy in the store is so good because there are so many amazing people working together to make the store the best it can be. I also love that a lot of vendors that started out selling at SWC have moved on to open their own brick and mortar shops. Including Kosuge Bachman in Greenpoint, Vara in Miami, Adorned Collective in LA, and Tomatoes and Shop English Major which are both in the Chinatown Mall. Also, Phantasm just opened in Jersey City and is owned by a current and former SWC seller!

Are there any plans for a fourth location in or out of the city?

Maybe! I think I’m just someone who needs stuff to be happening and changing all the time so I won’t rule it out. Also, apparently for the last several years I have been alternating between having babies and opening stores. In 2021 we opened the Williamsburg store, in 2022 I had my first son, in 2023 we opened Lower East Side, and now it’s 2024 and I’m currently 8 months pregnant with baby number two. Excited to see what happens in 2025 :) I’ve been playing with the idea of trying something out on the west coast. We shall see!

Do you have a favorite place to shop for vintage in NYC?

Besides Seven Wonders Collective, I love all of the markets and going through a random stoop sale!

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