A few months ago, John Graves was your average teacher at Birney Elementary School in the Logan section of Philadelphia. Now, at 28 years old, he is owner of Heres2CoolStuff Clothing Store and CEO of JGP studios, both located at 1214 South St.
“I quit my job as a teacher where I was making a lot of money and now I have experienced a tremendous pay cut,” said Graves with a laugh. “What I’ve learned is that by doing what you’re passionate about, you learn how to be satisfied with small things like conversations, meeting new people and making new friends.”
This was the attitude that Graves carried with him when he started Heres2CoolStuff. Not only does he use the store to sell vintage and new clothing, he holds events and classes in collaboration with his production studio. He believed it was important to provide a space where people can express themselves.
“It’s just a lot of art going on,” said Graves. “We accompany art with clothing and it’s just another way to express yourself.”
Throughout the month, Graves holds pop-up shops, open mics, line dancing, movie night and acoustic night. The pop-up shop in particular is held on the last Saturday of every month and is his way of giving his friends and community the opportunity to have a place to sell their art.
“We open our space up to people who are selling jewelry, custom materials and art,” said Graves.
The pop-up shop in conjunction with the stores other various events are a way to make money as well as provide a space for people to present their art.
“I just want to allow people to feel comfortable with expressing themselves through singing, dancing, acting, writing, poetry, etc.,” said Graves. “It’s a safe space for artists.”
But art isn’t just something that Graves does for fun. For him, art holds a more important meaning that he thinks everybody should embrace. He believed that art was especially important for the youth in Philadelphia because it is the easiest and fastest way to help him or her get in touch with whatever is inside of them.
While working as a teacher, Graves taught art and performing arts and found that regardless of any ailment, disability, or behavioral issues, every child had art inside of them.
“When I meet kids that aren’t connected with their art or don’t have anything to be passionate about, they feel like they are inadequate,” said Graves. “Fashion, art, singing, music, dance and acting give youth in general the freedom to be who they are and do what they want to do.”
With so much passion for art and fashion, it is no surprise that Graves has big plans in the future for Heres2CoolStuff.
“Clothing is just the beginning of getting people to know themselves and explore whatever else they’re passionate about,” said Graves smiling. “Imagine this but on a grander scale; touching more lives and getting more people involved.”
~ Text and Images by Rasmiyyah Hargust.