Zipper’s (hi)story

Did you know the Zipper is a family company?

Now you do! Zipper is one of the oldest second hand stores in Amsterdam and was founded in 1979. The Zipper consists of two stores in the city center, a regular spot at the Noordermarkt on Monday’s, an occasional Warehouse Sale and a lot of hard work driven by one family’s love for vintage goods.

Meet the family

John Giles


Agnes Giles


Daniel Giles

Store Manager & Co Owner

Sadie-Jane Giles

Store Manager

The beginning of Zipper

It all started out with married couple John and Agnes who had the idea of selling second hand, vintage clothes in the 1970′s. The idea was and still is to sell items that they think are awesome. Cause you know, you should only wear what you think looks great, not what others think is great.
The first Zipper store opened in 1979 and was located at the Tweede Lelie Dwarsstraat.
Soon after they moved to a bigger place in Amsterdams famous 9 streets: Huidenstraat 7. The opening of the second store at the Nieuwe Hoogstraat 8 followed later in the 80′s .

The family business  

In 1982, Daniel, the first Zipper baby of John & Agnes was born, followed by Sadie in 1985. Both grew up in and around their parents’ stores. By the age of 15 the kids started working in the Zipper. Danny later climbed up to store manager. And eventually, 15 years later, he has worked himself into partial ownership of his family’s company. Sadie continued to work at the store part time during her days as a student and decided to come back full time after graduation as store manager. 

How do we work?

Twice a year we travel to America together to find those great items for our shops. A two week work trip of wondering in big warehouses and sniffing around at wholesale markets. We order the items we fell in love with at these locations. The placed orders will be gathered and stored in a container that will be shipped to the Amsterdam harbors and will eventually reach our Zipper Warehouse at the NDSM-Werf. Let the unloading begin!

Once everything is inside and safely stored in our warehouse, the unpacking of these huge bundles can begin. The bundles of clothing are sold by kilo and although you know in what kind of category you’re buying, most of the time you don’t exactly know what’s in there. So that means you could buy a bundle of Levi’s jeans, not knowing which models and how many of the models you’re actually looking for are in that bundle. So with unpacking comes sorting out. Sorting out comes down to checking the quality and deciding which items go to what store. Some items need to be repaired, customized or even re-made to be given a worthy second life. No worries, nothing goes to waste!

When sorted out, the clothes still need to be washed, dried, ironed and price tagged. When all of that is done, the clothes are finally ready to go to the stores. To keep the stores nice and full, we have to refill about three times a week. We’ll completely stuff our bus full of items at the warehouse and then drive of the both stores. Our lovely staff will unpack the delivery in the morning and make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be in store:
ready for you to come check it out!