It’s so amazing how each individual brick and mortar independent boutique is different and offers unique experiences. This is so true considering that each and one of them reflect the individual identity and the experiences of their shopkeepers. That is the case for the below retro boutique and its shopkeeper.
Piccola Cosi, it’s a beautiful retro boutique in the heart of Amager (Amagerbrogade 61) own by Giuseppina, a sweet Sardinian soul. Entering the door of her boutique is like entering in a time capsule that teleportates you in an Italian living-room of the 70s. Giuseppina travels the world to treasure hunt for fashion pieces that date from the nostalgic past. She can also customize them for you as she is a self-taught but skillful seamstress. In her shop you will find unique and colorful dresses, tops, shoes, accessories, vintage interior design, Italian deli, the best cappuccino and unlimited hygge. Visit Piccola Cosi and you are in for a mesmerizing experience.
Born in a little town in Sardinia, lived in different places in Europe and the last 4 yours in Copenhagen. The moment we stepped in the door Giuseppina welcomed us with her big smile and her inherent politeness so we immediately felt like home. She prepared a real cappuccino (you cannot get them easily in Copenhagen) which was served in a way an Italian mamma would; in a wooden tray on top of a crochet coaster. A dress from the 70s, red Converse and big earrings, Giuseppina is definitely the muse of her own shop. No doubt she stroke as this interesting, kind kindred spirit that you feel there is a connection. So I couldn’t resist and ask for an interview for getULocal, and she accepted. Here it is:
What inspires you the most?
I grew up in a house with a garden so I would say nature and its colors and the beautiful Sardinian weather. I was around 6 when I started sewing from little things to dresses for dolls and I figured out that this is how my life is going to be from now on…Later, around my 20s, I started to read biographies from different designers and the one I was most inspired from, was a real colorful and flamboyant Scottish designer called Bill Gibb.
What is your background and what did you do before Piccola Cosi?
I am actually a self-taught seamstress; I have never done a proper course, so the things that I know are the ones I learned by myself …no one told me how to do them. Of course I have learned the proper sawing rules but I have always been into empirism and loved to try things on my own.
Besides that, I have worked a lot with flea markets, buying and selling and of course different kind of jobs unrelated to what I am doing right now… I also have a University degree in History.
History is another passion I have and it is something attached to the value of the items I find, the personal history and emotional life behind them. This is part of what I do; I am a bit nerdy (laughing)…
I am really geeky, when I sew or mend or design something. I am extremely cautious and geeky about it; it’s something that is under my skin…
Why did u choose Amager to open your shop?
It is actually because it reminds me of my little town in Sardinia…and because I had a gut feeling and I ALWAYS trust my gut feeling. I really like Amagerbrogade, especially from this point to Christianshavn. Its shades and the colors of the buildings remind me of certain emotions and images. It was very strange when I walked here for the first time and it felt somehow familiar…
What is it that makes your shop unique?
When you go shopping in Copenhagen, I think that some of the shops are a bit cold and all about making more money. That is not who I am, and I will never be. I prefer a slow business instead of a big H&M and I think that is the reason why my shop looks less like a boutique but more like a living room. I have customers coming over and staying for hours and I really don’t mind (laughing)… because to me they are visitors.
I am not really “pushy” with my clients to buy my stuff and I know that is against business rules but It took me so long to buy those gems and modify them and I don’t wanna sell them that easily (laughing). I’m sorry, but…they are like small treasures to me that when I find them I imagine that it’s gonna make someone else happy so it’s not mere selling rather than providing things that you cannot easily find…
Here people can relax, have a coffee and if they want they can shop. We can chat for hours because I may be a shy person but I do like to talk with people…a lot (laughing)…about different stuff…We can have real conversations here that people cannot have in other shops in Copenhagen. Its maybe kinda selfish because it feels like I opened this shop only for myself, but this is my space and I want to make my time here worth it and I know that I have strange opening hours and I am always late (like a real Italian I am) but I really like it the way it is…I cannot picture myself doing anything else…It would take a lot of energy for me being a narrow shopkeeper and just seat behind the counter…it’s not who I am…
How do you think you contribute to the community?
It’s a tricky question and I don’t know if I make some difference but I do believe in human contact and that we live in a “fast” and somehow “cold” society so I think my contribution in a way is to just be myself and also make people that come here feel comfortable in a way and be themselves too. It is so difficult now for people to open up but you know… I have customers that we go out together. We are starting to be friends or a small family. Some of them just text me and they say “I’m gonna be there on Friday, so let’s meet”…I feel it sometimes like a meeting point…
How do you find your products?
It all started visiting flea markets around Europe and I have been around Thailand as well and over there flea markets are crazy and you can find many Japanese retro items like dresses with dots etc. When I opened my shop I thought that I could combine both travel for work and for pleasure. Whatever the purpose is, I always have with me a list with flea markets and I also allow myself to explore more flea markets because I don’t want to do this strictly as a job, I want to enjoy the process of the treasure hunt.
For example, last time I traveled to Brussels and had my list of flea markets and second-hand vintage shops with me but while I was walking around and just by chance, I discovered this beautiful flea-market. It had been a while that something like that happened to me because when you travel for work, you have to be effective and make a schedule but I dont’t really want to do that, I want to be more creative and open-minded so I just skipped the list and Google maps and I just started to wander around with the hope that I might find the treasures I am looking for…and I did… and I met wonderful people that I am in contact with and this is what I love to do…so I always follow this flow of feelings or the gut feeling I have inside and let them guide me…Perhaps it’s because I have been into this environment through my whole life and my DNA have changed, or maybe there is a special connection since these magical places find me …
Who are your customers?
Oh…they are actually very different. I have very young customers but I also have customers around 60 as well. The thing they have in common is their love for colors, they say “wow, finally some colors” or “I want to wear more colors but I just don’t feel like it”. They kind of feel a bit afraid and reserved to stand out…Sometimes, I see ladies that buy a pair of different earrings or colorful scarfs in order to add a bit character to their daily costumes. I tell them just look at me and what I wear and what I have on, take some inspiration and use your creativity, just feel comfortable on your own dress because all we need to do is to be comfortable and ourselves.
When people ask me “How do I look?”. I tell them that colors look nice on you because of your skin or hair color but the next question is “What do you think about the dress”? It’s always about how it makes us feel inside. “How do you feel? Do you feel sexy, pretty or cute because it’s really about emotions.” If you feel that something it’s nice on you but you don’t feel like you want to wear it than just don’t”.
Do not waste the poetry and the story behind that dress. I feel such a pity if someone buys a dress and just abandons it in some closet; just the thought of it makes me suffer. A lot of them they travel on time and through nations. In that sense I am not the typical salesperson. I always ask “How do you feel?”. “Do you feel comfortable, do you feel pretty enough? So go for that”, If yes buy it, if not then you should not. I do not push people.
Who has designed the shop?
Myself…actually. The latest display came up in my dreams…I dreamt about a change in the shop and I decided to go for it…and I start moving things around, spontaneously, like I am…and occasionally I do like to move things around a lot…
What is your advice to someone who wants to open a shop?
I do not feel like I am the typical businesswoman…My advice does not have to do with business rather than your heart. Follow your heart! If you feel like it,do it now, even if it feels risky…even if it seems not a good season for business just do it and you will never regret it.
It was the same thing for me when I opened this shop because I was nervous and short on money but I went for it and said to myself that if it is not going all right I will find another way. I am confident and apparently have become resilient…because every time something goes wrong, I choose to see the bright side of it…
Even when there were workers that tore down the street outside the shop and there was sand all over the place, I found some shovels and buckets and built my own beach (laughing)… and the customers really loved it and walked barefoot with me outside.
So looking the bright side is my own motto in life…and my advice if you want something just do it because your body is reacting and sending a message to your surrounding…there can also be other factors such as the market, the prices and trends but I think in the end what really matters is just all about you and how you feel…
We thanked Giussepina for the conversation and the cappuccino, but also for the refreshing space that she has created in the heart of Amager. Check Piccola Cosi profile here and find a variety of preloved retro clothing and accessories that Giuseppina will customize for you, if needed. Feel free to comment and share and spread the love ❤️.