A rainbow of graphic T-shirts. A rack of 1990s-style crewneck sweaters and windbreaker jackets from the early 2000s. Walls lined with authentic snapbacks and just about every color of Air Jordans one could imagine.
It’s easy to see why the vintage store where you can find these items — and more — is called “All Goods.”
Ali Acevedo is the curator behind this accumulation of gems, tucked away on a side street of downtown West Allis in suburban Milwaukee. Buying and reselling items have been a part of Acevedo’s life for more than 20 years.
“I was working at U.S. Bank for seven years, then I left that bank because I wanted to full-time resell,” says Acevedo, a Milwaukee native and well-known leader in the Wisconsin vintage community. “I would be at work and I would get a sale for like $100, just selling something random on eBay. And I was like, ‘Well, what if I did this full time,’ and then I mentally checked out of work.”
The reselling of vintage clothing and accessories has become increasingly popular in recent years, and more secondhand stores are popping up as sustainability becomes a priority for many shoppers. Acevedo and All Goods stand out from the others. With groundbreaking events and strong values, he is not only reinventing what it means to sell vintage wear but creating a unique network of resellers across Milwaukee in the process.
Each summer, shoppers come to West Allis to experience All Goods’ biggest event of the year, All Goods Fest. The event, which was held for the third time this past July, features more than 60 vendors specializing in vintage wear and sneakers.
“We’re already planning,” Acevedo says. “As soon as this last one was over, I already in my mind had a plan for next year.”
Though All Goods is the namesake of the event, a variety of vintage sellers from across the region are given a platform to showcase and sell their collections. Vendors come together to support one another in a way that might not be possible without All Goods Fest.
“I’m going to be supportive of everybody, allow them to come in and do events with me,” Acevedo says. “We all can win off of that.”
Acevedo finds that resellers can benefit and learn from one another. Sure, a lot of resellers are competing for the same product and customers, but at the end of the day, a positive relationship with one another is important.
The vintage veteran finds it crucial to welcome in and support new resellers as well. Acevedo says he was once that “new guy,” so he encourages those new to the business, allowing him to forge a deeper connection with fellow resellers.
Paige Riese is one of those resellers. She owns Paige Hearts U, an online vintage shop that specializes in clothing from the 1940s through the 1990s. Riese and her partner do a combined booth at All Goods Fest and have known Acevedo for a few years.
She speaks highly of the vintage community in Milwaukee.
“It feels less competitive when you start to get to know everyone and you can show each other what you find,” Riese says. “Everyone’s really kind.”
Not only has Acevedo created a family of Wisconsin vintage sellers, but a community of support for his business as well.
“Through the marketing of social media, and other things like that, I’ve been able to draw customers in over here,” Acevedo says. “It draws people in from all parts of Wisconsin to come here, and from other states and other cities.”
However, with more than 15,000 followers on Instagram, Acevedo has curated a unique target market for All Goods that spans well outside of the Milwaukee area, with customers even visiting from Japan.
Once he’s drawn customers into West Allis, Acevedo recommends local restaurants and businesses, as he enjoys seeing his neighbors succeed.
Owning a business is not without its hardships. Acevedo says there are challenges that arise each day, both big and small. One of the most difficult times of his reselling career came just days before All Goods Fest this past July, when he lost a close family member.
Without allowing time for emotion or grief, the event went on as planned. It wasn’t an easy decision for Acevedo and his family.
“We still don’t even know how we did it,” Acevedo says. “But we pushed through it.”
Ultimately, Acevedo did not want to let his community down.
It is an event that customers from all over the region look forward to, and many vendors rely on it to gain profit and exposure for their businesses.
He also credits the family member’s love for All Goods Fest, which allowed him to go on with the event.
“We wanted to just continue that because she came to every single one,” Acevedo says.
Building a future
“What comes next?” is a loaded yet exciting question for Acevedo and his business.
It’s no secret All Goods is already ahead of the game, and it doesn’t look as though Acevedo is ready to stop any time soon.
“Ali has so many huge goals and things that he wants to do,” says Alma Acevedo, his wife. “He’s always staying on top of things.”
Trends in the clothing industry are constantly changing, but it seems as though vintage is here to stay.
“I don’t think it’s going away,” says Beverly Gordon, a professor emerita at UW–Madison who has focused on the history of textiles and fashion throughout her career. Gordon says clothing allows people to craft an identity, and people enjoy vintage clothing specifically because it makes them feel as though they purchased an item that is more unique than what is created today.
Acevedo has his eye on expanding the online store, continuing to develop the social media presence of the business and breaking into the world of designing clothes himself.
He began his reselling career online and is aiming to give customers a medium outside of the store to shop.
Acevedo describes himself as an entrepreneur who is always looking for ways to grow and expand. He has already collaborated with UW–Milwaukee and Marquette University to create vintage-style campus wear, and he has more partnerships on the way.
He also hopes that one day his two daughters can take over the business and make it their own. Acevedo’s oldest daughter, 14, already helps out around the store.
“My daughters definitely inspire me to be a better business person and make sure that my reputation is good, and make sure that I’m doing good business, because that’s important,” he says. “I think what I’m building here, hopefully one day, some aspect of this business they can benefit from or take over.”
UW–Madison professor emerita Beverly Gordon explains the state of vintage fashion and the future of reselling.