The average consumer would be surprised to find a concert t-shirt from the 1990s being sold for hundreds of dollars, but this market is what made Tom DeCeglie ’17 a success story.
The graduate of the communication program at Saint Peter’s always had a passion for clothing. As a college student he was in search of ways to look cool on a budget and one of the ways he did this was through “thrifting.” He often shopped at second hand stores in search of vintage gear that was reminiscent of his childhood. In his search for unique items he would often pick-up clothing that was not in his size, but might be of interest to his fellow classmates and thus a business was born!
He would set-up displays of merchandise with his roommate in his dorm and would invite fellow students and members of the Saint Peter’s community to come and shop. DeCeglie always had a passion for basketball and many of the items he procured reflected infamous players and teams of the early 1990s and his merchandise was of particular interest to members of the Saint Peter’s basketball team.
When DeCeglie graduated in 2017 he was offered an excellent job opportunity with a great salary and benefits. He was incredibly grateful to Saint Peter’s for helping him to achieve that goal; however after a few months into the job, he knew it wasn’t the path for him as a budding entrepreneur. He left the job to continue to grow his vintage sales business, McBuckets Vintage & Streetware.
DeCeglie jokes that many times entrepreneurs give up a 9 to 5 to work much longer hours, but his hard work and dedication is paying off tenfold.
In 2019, a mutual friend introduced his to a member of the Brooklyn Nets who was interested in purchasing some of his collection. This is when things started to take off for DeCeglie. He began to build a portfolio of high-profile clients in the NBA and NFL as well as actors, rappers and more.
While he no longer has time to thrift shop like he used to, he still works with wholesalers to find items to sell on his website, Instagram and sales platforms. He also works hard to find interesting and unique items that he thinks will be ideal for his private clients.
“The clients that I work with have the ability to buy all of the latest styles from Gucci or Versace, but if they bought those things they would just be wearing what everyone else is,” explains DeCeglie. “I am providing my clients with a unique product that are coveted and hard to find. Many of my clients are around my age and we have similar taste in styles and what is nostalgic to us.”
DeCeglie’s business was recently recognized by CNBC Business News and was featured in a segment that aired nationally on The News with Shepard Smith. While his growth and success has exceeded his personal expectations he plans to continue to work hard to see where his business will go.
Saint Peter’s has a long history of supporting entrepreneurship. The Frank J. Guarini School of Business houses the Ignite Institute, a Center of Excellence, which was designed to spark the spirit of entrepreneurship through education, business planning, community-partnered programs and research both on campus and regionally.
Additionally, for eight consecutive years, Saint Peter’s has hosted a Shark Tank Competition in which industry experts, known as sharks, judge students’ business pitches based on an intense rubric. Students who compete also participate in a bootcamp series to strengthen their business concepts. This year DeCeglie led a workshop for these entrepreneurial students based on his personal experience.
DeCeglie is happy to reconnect with alma mater and his fellow Peacocks. “I always have a special place in my heart for Saint Peter’s,” he shared.