Amnaye Nhas, the DJ and founder of Thanx God I am a V.I.P., gives vintage shopping a completely new angle. At Thanx God I am a V.I.P. you’ll find not only a large selection of vintage designer labels like Chanel, Hermès, Gucci and Co., but you can drink delicious Ethiopian coffee, bring along your laptop to work and listen to music, personally mixed by the DJ and owner himself. If you want to take this special flair home with you, go to www.thanxgod.com and celebrate the party with Thanx God I am a V.I.P. Finally a unique shopping experience full of one-of-a-kind ideas. IRMA had a chat with Amnaye Nhas.
IRMA: What is the concept behind THANX GOD I AM A V.I.P.?
AMNAYE NHAS: About the name, it’s ironic, the idea behind the name is that everybody is a VIP, you are the VIP of your mother, father, husband… We take care of our customers with the same level of dedication… It’s the opposite of the common idea of the VIPs.
IRMA: Is there a special focus in the collections you have?
AMNAYE NHAS: We select our pieces based on three criteria:
First, no synthetics. We have only natural fabrics like silk, wool, cashmere…
Second, the shape. Third, the brand.
IRMA: Tell me about the cafe in your store.
AMNAYE NHAS: When we decided to buy the store next to the first and to connect them, we thought that it could be a good idea to create a space under the canopy where our customers can have a coffee, take a break during their shopping or work listening to our radio.
But as with the clothes, we didn’t want to offer a generic coffee, and after a few weeks of searching we found that “Terre de café” was the perfect people to work with. We use a special blend of 3 mochas from Ethiopia, we know the names of the producers and the coffee is bought with a full fair trade process.
We have also a selection of tea from Betjman & Barton, one of the oldest tea providers in Paris.
IRMA: Do you have special designers coming in to represent their collections?
AMNAYE NHAS: Yes, more and more since we collaborate with Takuya Isagawa and his brand Mister it. But due to the lack of space, we are just taking on a new 400 square meter showroom in the building next to the store. It will be opened in one month. It’s going to be a beautiful space with 4 canopies where you can run shows, do presentations etc. We are very excited about this new project.
IRMA: I like the idea of displaying the clothes according to their colors, but don’t customers get confused if they are looking for special brands?
AMNAYE NHAS: No, most of them love this kind of organization. Our customers are more interested in shapes, colors, materials than the brands, but for our customers who are big fans of certain brands, our team know perfectly our stock and can help you if you have specific needs. Take note that we also provide free customization if needed (the pants are too long, we can shorten them or do any other basic customization…).
IRMA: Tell me about your DJ-ing.
AMNAYE NHAS: Thanx God I’m a V.I.P have been always linked with music and especially house and deep house music, and beside my work at the store I run a radio that you can listen to online and also with our iPhone/Android app. I have also been DJing and producing for 10 years now, and Sylvie Chateigner has been running one of the most iconic parties for 10 years.
We do events once a year, but now we are developing a new concept, Bastille Circus. It’s a party that you can bring with you anywhere. We filmed a party at our house, the result is a 3-hour movie that you can find on our website or on Youtube. So you just need to turn on your TV and you hifi system, invite your friend and dance.
IRMA: Do you have a special clientele who also comes to gather and meet at your store?
AMNAYE NHAS: Since the café opening we have more and more people who are coming to gather and meet, mainly people from the fashion and music industry, some of them are bringing their laptop and spend all day working instead of staying at home… We are very happy about how things are going, we want the shop to become what we say in French “un lieu de vie.”
IRMA: What is your most precious item?
AMNAYE NHAS: The most iconic “maisons,” Chanel & Hermès. Sometimes the pieces don’t last the day, the moment we send out the newsletter, someone comes to buy those pieces.
IRMA: You have the most stock of……
AMNAYE NHAS: It depends on what we find, at the moment we have a lot of YSL and Thierry Mugler from the 80s.
IRMA: Which designers come and seek inspiration from your shop?
AMNAYE NHAS: We have many but we keep their names confidential. I don’t think they will like it if we give away their secret recipe.
IRMA: How do you always find new clothes and accessories?
AMNAYE NHAS: 30 years of hunting have helped me build a big network of providers, people and contacts….
IRMA: Which city/ country still holds real vintage treasures?
AMNAYE NHAS: Italy, but in my opinion Paris and France is the biggest playground to hunt for beautiful items. Our mothers and grandmothers who were so elegant have bought a huge amount of clothes and we still find tons of beautiful pieces….
IRMA: Your favorite spot in Paris at day & at night?
AMNAYE NHAS: From September to April, we have so much work that our best spot is our bed, but during the spring/summer season we go to the Seine banks where you can find many open air parties…
A German version of IRMA’s article appeared in ICON magazine. Read it here.