Rick Kloog’s T-shirt shop on Troost resonates with the sound of side hustles — combining the former music producer’s previously untapped talents for a Vintage WiFi effect.
The “funky little vintage store” blends original Kansas City-designed shirts, and miscellaneous items — most of which Kloog converts into bluetooth speakers — as well as other original artwork, he said.
Click here to learn more about Rick Kloog and Vintage Wifi.
“I do all the design myself so I don’t have to go to somebody else and say, ‘OK, this is what I’m thinking,’ or try to sell in other stores,” he said, noting ongoing work with a 1920-era turntable in the shop. “You can have something that’s super vintage and cool that [also] works and is functional.”
After a hand injury derailed a venture into art school, Kloog worked as a music producer, then with high-end electronics, he said. Kloog heard the siren call of entrepreneurism in early 2018, he said.
He followed the music to 3219 Troost Ave. — just down the street from well-known startup efforts at Ruby Jean’s and Thelma’s Kitchen — after a long look at where growth and development were headed in Kansas City, he said.
“Things are moving this way — there are some serious businesses popping up [along Troost],” said Kloog. “I might be crazy for choosing here because there are certainly other places that would get me a whole lot more traffic [right now], but I hope that changes.”
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Kloog finds inspiration in Kansas City’s yoga community, he added, noting his unique ability to play a yoga class staple and one of the most rare instruments in the world — the handpan.
“I can’t say it’s a side project,” Kloog admitted, noting previous performances at Union Station, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, and other spaces across the metro. “It’s kind of transformed my life in a lot of ways. I’ve been all over the world with [the handpan].”
Becoming invested in KC’s yoga scene exposed Kloog to the change KC has experienced in the time since he was a teen, he said.
“I love our city and our community,” Kloog added. “It’s becoming such a cool place to be and, even just a couple of years ago, I would have never considered that being true — now it’s a different story.”