Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in apparel but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Manik Kundra, founder of Icy Vintage, aka Wear Icy, located in Toronto, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Icy Vintage, aka Wear Icy, is Canada’s leading vintage retailer. We source and distribute over 100 brands of vintage on our online web store. Twice a week at 8 PM EST, we launch curated collections of rare garments ranging from sportswear to designer. Each of our garments is 1 of 1, available in only one size, and is never restocked. The exclusivity of our pieces adds to the excitement of Icy.

Our products are sourced from trusted suppliers around the globe that specialize in vintage apparel. Notable brands within our clothing drops include Nike, Adidas, Starter, Carhartt, Patagonia, Burberry, and more.

We offer guaranteed authenticity on every item, every time. Shopping with Icy Vintage gives trust to our customers that every purchase is verified authentic. Since the day we launched, we’ve never sold a counterfeit item.

Tell us about yourself

From a young age, I would find ways to wear unique garments that spoke to me. Heavily influenced by hip hop, I would spend a lot of time online searching for clothes that my favorite rappers were wearing. On days I wasn’t playing basketball, I was thrift shopping at Value Village. I would go directly after school to be the first to look through their racks.

There was a rush that came with finding rare vintage. It became the most exciting part of my day. I would go to Value Village so often that they offered me a job, which I immediately accepted. I was lucky to be the first person to see all the clothes before they were put on the sales floor - I was buying more than ever before. My collection was getting larger but my pockets were empty. I was forced to start selling my clothes to pay for my university expenses.

Within the first few months at university, Icy was born. It began by selling to my floormates under the trade name “North Wears,” which I quickly rebranded to Icy. We launched our website in October of 201. And my love for vintage was now shared with anyone that has internet access.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being a single founder. Most companies are started with a team of people, yet I’m proud to say that I started this business alone. I took Icy Vintage from a bedroom closet to a 4000 square feet warehouse within three years.

For the first two years of my business, I had no employees and could still scale my business to mid-six figures. I now employ two of my close friends, and we plan to grow our team over the coming months.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Lack of finances is a major issue that business owners face. Small companies, unlike large organizations, operate on a much tighter budget. Businesses are unable to operate if there’s a lack of cash flow.

Poor financial management can cause your business to fail. Not all businesses run out of money in the first few years, though.

When the money starts to come, however, an entrepreneur might not manage their books correctly. I recommend business owners to invest in a bookkeeper and a good accountant that specializes in business tax. We also use Quickbooks, accounting software that we use to manage our daily expenses and income.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Listen to your first customers. Use the feedback that your customers give you to improve their experience. They understand your product/service better than you think they do.

Early on, I used to ship packages to my close friends and request criticism. I was able to improve shipping and the post-purchase experience based on their feedback.

Prioritize customer service. Answering customer questions and concerns quickly is the fastest way to retain a customer. Make your customer feel valued and understand their pain points. The famous saying, “the customer is always right,” has been our focus and helped strengthen the community that supports us.

Manage your expenses wisely. It’s very easy to get hooked on the trap of spending. In the first few years of operation, keep your business as lean as possible. Capital allocation is the most important skill you can develop - knowing where and when to invest your money in the company.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

In 2019, I dropped out of university to pursue my business full-time. I was discouraged by friends and family when I broke the news. People told me that without school, I was destined for failure and that no one would hire me without a degree.

After leaving school, I slept on my aunty’s couch for four months to gather funds for my business. With the money I saved, I rented our first commercial property in Woodbridge, Ontario.

Leaving school was a gamble, but it turned out to be a great decision. I encourage people to forget the expectations that people have for them and to pursue their ideas. Trust in your vision. An idea remains just an idea without action.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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