Philadelphia’s funky, eclectic, making-old-things-cool-again shop
With five locations across Philadelphia and more than 60,000 Instagram followers, Mike Supermodel’s variety store Jinxed has cornered the nostalgia market in a modern way.
Mike Supermodel has been collecting things his entire life.
For the Philadelphia native, it started when he was a kid, scouring local flea markets for rare matchbox cars. Then, as an adult in the 1990s, he ran a punk rock music label called Supermodel Records — where he picked up the moniker “Mike Supermodel” — and also worked for a T-shirt company called Jinxed until the business closed and he purchased the name.
“When the T-shirt business went belly-up, I bought the brand, along with the name, the artwork, and all of the associated things,” he said. “And in 2004, we opened up the first brick-and-mortar Jinxed store, and it’s just continued to evolve from there.”
Armed with an unforgettable nickname and a brand name for his company, Supermodel had the foundation for what has since become a staple of nearly a half dozen Philadelphia neighborhoods — Jinxed, a variety store that sells vintage furniture, decor, and a host of other funky items at a reasonable cost.
“We’ve been fortunate to catch Philadelphia in an upswing of people moving back into the city — they have to furnish their lofts, their apartments, and their new homes — so we’re here with what they need,” he said. “When you come into our stores, you’re going to generally find things that you’re not going to find anywhere else, and we try to sell them at an affordable price that makes it very attainable for everyone.”
Today, he continues to collect — hunting for eclectic items at auctions throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. What he finds, he resells at one of his five Jinxed locations and on the company’s Instagram account.
“You never know what you’re going to find in here, because we never know what we’re going to find when we go out and look,” said Supermodel. “For me, when we go out to auctions to buy product, it’s a perfect mix of a shopping spree and gambling. Somebody already bought it once, so we know it passed that test — but, will somebody see a second life in it, buy it, and bring it into their home?”
Modern banking services for a vintage business
So far, Mike Supermodel’s eye for nostalgia has proven keenly accurate. In fact, his newest Jinxed location — which opened earlier this summer in Philly’s Port Richmond neighborhood — represents not only the company’s continued growth, but also a storage solution to manage his propensity for collecting.
“There are times where we pick up quantity — meaning three, four, and five box trucks full of furniture and other items — and the stores can’t absorb it all, so we were paying over $10,000 each year just for storage,” he said. “Frankly, for almost four years, we were stuck.”
“Now we have the space to see everything, get the other stores the objects they need, and also have a place to clean things up, make repairs, and process everything that we bring in. Wells Fargo was instrumental in making that happen.” — Mike Supermodel
Looking for a solution, he contacted Daisy Gonzalez, a Wells Fargo Senior Business Banking Specialist, to conduct a business needs assessment and determine the best option, landing on a $30,000 line of credit.
“A line of credit from Wells Fargo lets small businesses access funds to bridge gaps in cash flow or, as in Mike’s case, expand business operations,” said Gonzalez. “Mike was able to solve multiple problems that were hindering his ability to continue to grow Jinxed by obtaining a line of credit, which he can continue to leverage going forward to manage things like inventory overhead.”
Supermodel is quick to confirm the value he gained from the right financing tool: “Now we have the space to see everything, get the other stores the objects they need, and also have a place to clean things up, make repairs, and process everything that we bring in. Wells Fargo was instrumental in making that happen.”
It is not the first time he has benefited from his relationship with Gonzalez, he said, noting, “I feel extremely comfortable with Daisy, because I feel like she’s also of the same mindset as me — when there’s an issue, she’s ready to find a solution.”
He points to his business’s use of Instagram as another example of this solution-driven mindset, noting how using Wells Fargo’s merchant services for payments allows him to meet customer demand in a changing retail environment.
“Instagram seemed like a natural fit, and we adopted really early on as another way to sell our stuff,” Supermodel said. “It is very important that Wells Fargo gives us the flexibility to accept digital payments, as well as all types of major credit cards — as people are moving more cashless, the more options we can offer them, the better.”
With five Jinxed locations, Supermodel takes pride in his company’s role supporting the resurgence of some of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods, providing jobs for local residents, and a place for the community to take a trip down memory lane.
“The success of Jinxed lies in our ability to spot trends with things that have already trended out,” he said. “Being born and raised here has definitely been an advantage for me, and I have a pretty good feel for the way things are trending with the city as well. This has put us in a position to find the right locations, so we can get into a spot before we get priced out of it, establish ourselves, and, from there, grow along with the neighborhood.”