Queer Careers – Frederico Curado, Vintage
Queer Careers is an ongoing series looking at ‘out and proud’ professionals. We feature gay men who’ve carved out their own career path, and want to share their insights on how to get ahead in the workplace. We’re also interested to know what it’s like to be gay, where they live, and where they work. This time, we speak to Frederico Curado, a vintage clothes retailer, based in Amsterdam.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
“My name is Frederico Curado, I’m 31 years old and I’m Portuguese, but I’ve lived nearly half of my life in Amsterdam. I came here 15 years ago; destiny wanted it to be this way. I fell terribly in love with a Dutch guy and I decided to move here at the age of 17. If I think about it now sounds crazy! That relationship finished after 5 years, but I decided to stick around Amsterdam.”
Tell us a little about gay life in Amsterdam?
“Amsterdam is actually quite a nice city to be gay, no complaints whatsoever. Especially now, where lots of things are happening, exciting parties and a whole new scene is growing fast. I believe Amsterdam will become the new Berlin. Cool, modern and relaxed are for me the key words of Amsterdam, and extremely gay friendly. We will get our title back as the European gay capital! “
What do you do?
“I’m the manager and co-founder off Bij Ons Vintage, we have 2 shops located in the heart of Amsterdam, and we’ve become the leading vintage shop in town. Basically my day consists of choosing what comes to hang in my shops and what not.”
Have you always been out in the workplace or at school, or did you sometimes pretend to be straight?
“Yes, since I knew myself that I was gay. I have been out of the closet, at a young age. I’d already started telling my closest friends. At school, it was not very easy but I managed. Pretending is a word I don’t understand.”
Is the sexuality of a potential client, colleague, employer or employee important to you?
“Well, actually no, not at all. I worked at Mr. B for a couple of years, and most of my colleagues were indeed gay; that created a safe environment, although I strongly believe that we, in the LGBT+ community, should be able to adapt to every work environment.”
“We have lots and lots of queer customers that come and shop with us. It’s our main task to keep our clients satisfied and happy when they step in our shops. Our clientele is much broader than LGBT; it’s really for everyone.”
“When it comes to hiring a new shop assistant, I try to keep an eye for the wellbeing of the rest of the already existent team (made out of 80% gays indeed, by coincidence, not by choice,) but I don’t ask, “Are you gay?” Mostly I try to find out if a candidate feels comfortable working in a mainly gay environment and I’ve never heard a no.”
Would you consider yourself a gay entrepreneur and pioneer?
“Not at all! I wish I’d have done something great for our community. Ask me that question in a couple of years and hopefully I can answer yes. So far, not really.”
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
“I think it has been a long, sometimes painful and hard road to success! When we opened the second shop I felt super proud of myself. Every time I see the name of my shop in a famous fashion magazine I’m proud. Every time I see a garment being used in a film, I feel proud. I remember the first interview I gave was for this Scandinavian magazine. They chose us as the best vintage shop in the Netherlands, and I couldn’t have been more proud. Mostly I feel proud in my beliefs and knowing the message we want to pass to the consumers: Buy vintage, because it’s good, for you, for the environment, for everything!”
Who inspired you growing up?
“Lots of things inspired me, I didn’t have an easy childhood. My parents were divorced and back in the 90s in Lisbon’s suburbs, it wasn’t easy. I guess I’d say, my grandmother for her dedication, and my mother for her strength. I grew up surrounded by strong women, I must say.”
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