A creative visionary, Ji Yeo has reimagined what it means to merge fashion and furniture. An award winning creative director and photographer, Ji has had an illustrious career creating visual stories for women-led fashion brands. When COVID hit, Ji translated her creative vision into sourcing and reselling vintage furniture in curated collections that quickly took the internet by storm, and further proved Ji’s impressive business acumen.
Now, Ji is returning to her roots and transitioning her respected vintage furniture shop Nice Vintage Things into a creative studio — called Lovers Monday. We invited ourselves over, and got a sweet look into Ji’s stunning upstate home along with a unique look inside her mind.
Please introduce yourself to the class: Who are you? How do you define and express yourself (influences, interests, art forms)? What’s your creative background?
Hi! I’m Ji, a vintage-obsessed person in every aspect and gave birth to Nice Vintage Things during Covid, but now transitioning to my original profession, which is being creative at large. Currently in the process of building a creative agency called Lovers Monday NYC, providing photographs, fashion films, and Reel/Tiktok videos for like-minded fashion brands. For as long as I remember, I have always expressed myself through visual languages like photographs, videos, graphics, drawings, or interior design. I have a BA in graphic design and an MA in photography with a passion for fashion, editorials, and fine art.
What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? How do you define it for yourself?
Ah, this one is tricky. In a geographic sense, my “home” moved quite often, and there isn’t anywhere on this earth that feels like home. Probably because of it, I’m even more obsessed with interior design. I fill my apt or house, wherever I’m living in, with the things that I truly love to create myself the most joyful home.
When did you first start decorating or curating space (your own space or professional)? How do your spaces reflect your POV as a creator?
I slowly started when I first moved to New York City back in 2005, trying my best to work around thrift finds and IKEA. When I moved to Westchester 4 years ago, suddenly I had a space to fill. I was so excited after living in an NYC apt for 13 years; I was like a kid with crayons on a giant white canvas, super duper excited. To fill my new space, I started to look into auctions, FB marketplace, estate sales, eBay, and lots of visits to high-end brand showrooms. - I didn’t realize it for a while, but it’s exactly like my closet; all mixed, lots of vintage, small brands and some high-end pieces.
What’s the story of Nice Vintage Things? How did NVT come to be? How did you approach your vintage shop — branding, sourcing, etc?
Like many other fellow sellers, NVT was born during Covid. I continued to source for my house when I came across good pieces even when I didn’t need them. With vintage, it always feels like now or never; and how can I pass on the things I love? I may not see them ever again. WIth all my photoshoots canceled in March 2022, I decided to create a business that sells vintage furniture. A good friend of mine came up with the name and from there, I drew a logo in my notebook, played around with an illustrator, then created the Shopify website.
What are some of your proudest moments (collaborations, sales, vintage finds, and others) that define your time helming Nice Vintage Things?
My daily joy came from creating beautiful images of the furniture and making enjoyable short videos. And I extended to designing my own collection. When those contents and design pieces I created were well received by the community, that made my day. Also, I was proud when NVT hit 6 figure revenue less than a year.
What is most creative about selling vintage? Where did you feel that creative spark?
Personally, it mainly came from 2 different stages. The first one is when you spot a beautiful piece in the rough — that’s not by a famous designer but has so much potential,and the second stage is when you give the piece a new life.
What clicked that made you want to change directions from vintage selling to operating your own creative agency? Was there a moment? What was missing from vintage selling?
Thanks to the community, NVT was thriving. But due to the high volume, my job quickly went from creative to managing the day-to-day operation. And one day, I lost someone I knew; in the blink of an eye, that person was gone. After the shockwave passed, I knew I had to go back to being creative and doing what makes me the happiest. Life is too short.
How do you see the role of vintage home things and interiors in your life and your agency going forward?
I loved vintage when I started NVT. But now, my love for vintage is even greater. When I meet someone, I have to hold back myself talking about how amazing vintage pieces are so I don’t look like a crazy vintage-obsessed weirdo. Now that I’m no longer buried in NVT operations, I get to enjoy it even more. I don’t think there’s going back once you fall into a vintage rabbit hole. So I will continue to hunt down vintage pieces, wear vintage clothes, and constantly scroll Estatesales.net.
I would love to grow my creative agency steadily but slowly; like buying vintage pieces isn’t fast like fast furniture. I want to have a very limited amount of clients per month and provide hands-on service. I hope this agency is the last adventure, where I can grow slowly until I retire.
Now that you’re back to sourcing for yourself, what’s on your personal vintage wish list for your home?
I’m dying to find the perfect coffee table for my living room. I want to be a low and elongated oval in some kind of marble that is stable enough for a carpeted floor. I might even make it if I can’t find one within a year.
Let’s manifest: What will you create with Lovers Monday? Who do you want to work with? What kind of projects or clients do you see for Lover’s Monday?
Yes! Let’s! I will create classic yet memorable images and videos for fashion brands who are looking to step up their visual game. I have recently done 2 brands, and my Apr and May are already fully booked!
It would be a dream to work with the brands like Chanel or Hermes while continuously working with small to medium-sized female lead brands.