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Gean Vintage: Penn State Alum Fueling Creativity Through Thrifted Fashion Startup

Sometimes, passions start organically but grow into something more. For Penn State alum Geordan Hay, that couldn’t be more true. Now the owner and founder of Gean Vintage, Hay’s interest in fashion ultimately manifested into her own clothing brand.

Hay grew up in a small town in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. While attending high school, she found that many of the “big trends” weren’t as popular in her area as much as in urban areas.

After her first year at Penn State Altoona, where she played volleyball, Hay arrived at University Park for her second year. She decided to take advantage of the larger-town feel by launching her own thrifted clothing brand, which also served as a creative outlet.

“Toward the end of high school, I just realized that I didn’t like looking like everyone else and I started taking risks on what I was wearing and not really following along with everyone else,” Hay said. “I kind of used that as my energy toward just creating a business around selling pieces that are one of one, vintage, and unique because I think that’s what’s so cool about fashion and style is that it’s fully self-expression.”

Courtesy of Geordan Hay

While she began curating a unique line of thrifted clothing, Hay worked at Urban Outfitters on College Avenue. One of Hay’s managers noticed that her brand was gaining traction, and suggested a pop-up shop.

“I’m really grateful for that [encouragement] because I think that’s what started me doing this, too,” said Hay. “My brand made me feel like I had more of a place in State College, and gave me a purpose to keep building my business.”

Hay also found that working for Urban Outfitters was especially helpful in building her business by seeing first-hand what was popular and trendy.

She launched her business under the name “Thanks! It’s Thrifted” in 2019 while attending Penn State. It operated via Instagram, where she sold thrifted clothes to her followers on the platform. Hay didn’t originally set any goals. But over the three years of managing and owning her brand, she decided to focus more on the business and renamed it “Gean Vintage.”

After the success of the initial pop-up shop, Hay has been “doing it ever since” and traveling everywhere from State College to Charleston, South Carolina, including many small towns in Pennsylvania.

“I didn’t have any crazy goals or anything, but here we are,” Hay said.

Courtesy of Geordan Hay

All of the products available on Gean Vintage are thrifted by Hay herself. She looks for anything truly vintage, which she considers to be no less than 20 years old.

“I still want to keep building my following and use different social media platforms to see what I can do and if I get to a place where I feel comfortable enough to make it my full-time job, I would definitely be willing,” Hay said. “It’s a lot of work, but I’ve found a lot of reward from it and I still love it.”

Creating content for Gean Vintage is a way for Hay to express herself and her creativity to find and sell unique fashion.

Along with managing Gean Vintage, Hay also works as a personal stylist for Stitch Fix in her hometown, where she styles women from ages 15 to 90. This position has also allowed her to be more creative with her fashion pursuits.

To learn more about Gean Vintage, you can visit the brand’s website and Instagram.

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About the Author

Gracie Mullan

Gracie is a junior from Delaware County, Pa, studying telecommunications with a minor in English. In her free time, Gracie likes to play with her cat, Luna, and video games on her PS5. She loves to read and write, of course, and enjoys the ice cream sandwiches from Trader Joe's a little too much. Get in touch with Gracie on her Instagram @gracemullan_ and for more formal inquiries [email protected]

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