Published February 12th, 2020 at 6:00 AM
Youssef Amine moved to Kansas City in 2009 with just $50 in his pocket, half a suitcase in clothes and two pairs of shoes.
He left Morocco for the Midwest to be with Ashley, his Kansas City-based girlfriend. He was an avid thrift shopper with an extensive collection, but gave his vintage finds to his five brothers. At 23 years old, Amine was a young entrepreneur who loved vintage clothing, a pioneer of sorts in his hometown.
But he also was in love. So he left his hometown, his parents and brothers.
Eleven years later, Amine is not only Instagram famous – with more than 25,000 followers – but he also owns Reset KC, a popular vintage shop in Westport.
“He proved you can literally come from nothing and succeed,” Ashley said.
It’s one of two shops of its kind in the Kansas City area, revered by streetwear lovers, professional athletes and national celebrities alike. But not many know that Amine’s dream began in Moroccan flea markets.
When Amine was 14, he got into skateboarding.
In his senior year of high school, that interest segued into collecting old skate shirts, then vintage band tees and later military uniforms. It became his side hustle. He accumulated so much that he went to the wealthy, foreign high schools in Casablanca to sell vintage to French or Italian students. It’s how he made a living, even though it wasn’t a lot of money.
“Africa, it’s a third world (place) so you got to be creative,” he said.
And he enjoyed it. Amine frequented flea markets because there were no thrift stores in Morocco. Then to grow his niche client base, he began to sell on eBay. Despite being told it wouldn’t get him anywhere and to get a real job, he kept with it into his early 20s.
Then he met Ashley, his now-wife, on Myspace and they quickly formed a long-distance relationship. They wanted to get married, but Amine knew it’d be difficult to start their lives together in his hometown.
So with her help, he applied for a visa. It was swiftly approved and they moved.
But when he arrived in Kansas City, life wasn’t easy. Amine wasn’t allowed to get a job in the first six months of living in the U.S., so he made money any way he could. He mowed lawns, shoveled snow and, still, sold vintage clothes.
His first full-time job was as a shift manager at Aldi. Ashley was a cosmetology instructor. But working full-time at a grocery store didn’t temper his desire to sell vintage. After work, he’d spend hours scouring thrift shops.
“Literally, our basement was full of boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes,” Ashley said. “All of the jobs that he worked have really just been to support family, to support us, and then to follow his dreams.”
He joined online groups full of people like him who collected, sold and traded vintage. And that’s how he met a fellow vintage enthusiast, Bruce Schwartz, owner of Reset STL in St. Louis.
They both fawned over vintage clothes as part of the community of buyers and traders. When Amine found out they were only a few hundred miles away from one another, Amine, his wife and son drove to St. Louis.
“He had the same vision,” Amine said.
Schwartz agreed: “The first time he came over, I remember him saying, ‘Whoa, this looks like my basement.’ ”
After about a year of planning and finding the perfect location, Schwartz partnered with Amine and opened Reset KC.
The shops share the same logo, same feel and similar displays of vintage and streetwear.
The walls in the Kansas City store are crisp white, punctuated with a red and blue Nike swish at the entrance, and a Supreme blimp model hanging from the ceiling. One side of the shop has shelves of specialty sneakers – think Travis Scott’s Nike Air Jordans and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. Other hype brands – a rotation of Supreme and Noah – hang at the back of the shop near a glass case with the higher-end items that cost around $1,500.
Racks of vintage denim, Chiefs jackets and tees hang on racks near the front of the store.
“I’m proud of the vintage side of it more than anything,” Amine said. “I feel like this is what drives everything. It’s good for the environment.”
He added: “We’re recycling, it’s cool (and) you’re wearing something with history.”
For Amine, vintage never dies.
He hunts almost daily for items to add to his store like he’s on a treasure hunt. Ashley and Schwartz both described him as honest and hardworking.
“He’s had to work hard or everything he has. He’s not coasting,” Schwartz said.
Every morning, Armine or Ashley takes their eight-year-old son to school. Then he’s off to the post office to ship vintage items to his eBay clients. Some days he goes to 25 different thrift stores to find a handful of ‘90s wrestling tees or old Chiefs jackets. He won’t share where he goes to stock up, though.
“There’s some stuff I can’t expose,” he said, laughing.
After shopping, or sourcing, he goes back to the store located caddy corner to Oddly Correct on 8 Westport Road to mop floors, organize and open shop. And he’s always on Instagram to keep up with the latest drop and respond to messages about products he teases on @Reset_KC.
As is with every business, there are ups and downs. For him, it’s helping new customers learn the value of vintage.
“People say, that’s a lot of money for a vintage shirt,” he said. “That’s not the point. The point is this is vintage. That shirt has been floating around for like 20 years. Of course, it’s not going to be perfect.”
But on the upside, the people who follow vintage and streetwear fashion are mostly regulars. Amine admits that celebrities have been at his shop in the year that Reset KC has been open, but he may not always know who they are. He sees it as a positive because he wants all of his clients to feel comfortable.
Famous artists include Neck Deep, a Welsh rock band, who bought all of the Beatles items he had. Most recently, D.C. rapper Wale stopped in, bought a few wrestling tees and posed for a photo on “IG,” as Amine calls it.
“The point of taking the picture is not to brag, but just to show, hey this is KC,” he said. “We’re not just a flyover town. There is good stuff here, come stop by.”