In modern days like today, I could easily guess that as you’re flipping through the endless array of social media posts on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok, it’s not rare to see promotions for fast fashion brands. It’s time to close that tab on Shein and Brandy Melville that I know most […]
In modern days like today, I could easily guess that as you’re flipping through the endless array of social media posts on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok, it’s not rare to see promotions for fast fashion brands. It’s time to close that tab on Shein and Brandy Melville that I know most of you may have open on your phones and open up your minds to the wonderfully beneficial world of thrift store and small business shopping. Thrifting has become all the rage, and it’s not uncommon to come across others who often spend their time in thrift stores and even resell their finds on apps such as Depop. The hype for supporting small businesses is real, and you could be the next member of the thrifting army that continues to expand each day.
One person who has been especially involved in what our local thrift stores have to offer is a good friend of mine, Natalie Dudensing (‘21). Natalie claims that she has always been infatuated with the world of fashion and clothing in general. Time in quarantine is what really ended up motivating her to pursue her interests more, which has further resulted in the creation of her shared Depop account alongside her sister.
“I began cleaning my closet and organized all of my clothes into clothes I wanted to keep, sell and donate,” Natalie says. “My mom has worked with an online clothing seller store for the past years, so she inspired my idea to curate an online shop through the app Depop.”
Depop is an online app that allows you to create a personal shop to sell clothes, jewelry, accessories, home goods and more. Natalie emphasized that the app is a great tool because of its simple interface and active community.
“Once I built my online shop, I became further inspired to find clothing in my closet and at thrift stores that I thought others would be interested in.”
With the growing popularity on fashion apps such as Depop, it can be difficult to get consistent sales and buyers as there are so many different options with similar taste in what’s considered “in” and what’s considered “out” fashion trend wise. But Natalie’s fashion endeavors have not let her down thus far. She claims the most important aspect of this success is rooted in thorough communication with possible buyers.
“On many of the items I post on Depop, I get various questions about measurements, flaws, or fitting of the clothing,” the senior says. “Answering in a prompt and informative manner is crucial for a successful sale.”
There are so many different platforms and accounts on which people sell their items, so maintaining a unique and compelling account that draws potential customers into the account that you’re selling on can be a little harder than one may expect. But having the opportunity to learn for yourself the process of sales on Depop can be very helpful towards those interested in becoming a part of the fashion industry.
On Depop and many other fashion platforms, the first step on getting the word out there is to post various pictures of the item you’re interested in selling. Natalie emphasizes that hashtags are a convenient tool to easily promote your items when posting a listing. It allows you to make sure that others are seeing what you have to offer on your account.
“Hashtags act almost as an index for those shopping. I usually use hashtags for the brand of the item and the general era the item was worn. For example, vintage, 90’s, y2k, etc.”
Along with maintaining consistent communication of answers to the questions potential customers have about certain items, Natalie also claims that a big part of success in selling her items has been putting effort into the image/aesthetic of the listings.
“If you pair a clothing piece with other accessories or items, it draws the buyers attention to the product and helps them imagine how they could wear the product,” she says. “ I generally do this when selling a less expensive item like a thrift store shirt or pant because it can be harder for the shoppers to imagine how the product would benefit their wardrobe without the inspiration of the listing.”
Besides the benefits towards our bank accounts, shopping from thrift stores and other small businesses is widely beneficial for a number of reasons. Natalie and I are both strong believers that it is so important to choose small rather than drop an entire minimum wage paycheck on a large name brand store such as Urban Outfitters or Pacsun. Been there, done that, and by the way, I can assure you it’s not worth it.
“When shopping from an elusive fast fashion website, there is no proof that the clothing is ethically made or that it is good quality.” Natalie says. “Often times, fast fashion clothing is the product of sweat shops and other unethical ways of production. When shopping from a small business, the buyer knows exactly where their money is going, which is to the small business owner who will use the money to create more goods.”
Natalie has found a genuine love for shopping from and donating to thrift stores because there is a constant recycling process of clothing that is specifically curated by the members of that community, and I strongly believe that others should be much more open to this perspective on fashion as well.
Whether thrift store items are being bought to be worn, sold, or DIY’d, the clothing is ensured to be of good use.
“The majority of my favorite clothes that I cherish with my entire life have been bought from a thrift store inexpensively, and the thought of those items having been worn and admired by others is so comforting and inspiring to me,” Natalie says.
A factor in small business and thrift shopping that has highly provoked Natalie’s interest is the constant encouragement of individuality and creativity.
“When a fast fashion brand styles a basic piece on a model and a picture, it is very easy to imagine exactly how the product will be worn and used. In contrast, thrift store clothing has no rules or guidelines and allows the shopper to use their creativity for the items use,” the senior exclaims. “I always feel my best when I am wearing an outfit that I feel represents ME, not an expensive brand.”
Natalie claims her favorite part of having a Depop shop has definitely been the inspiration she receives from other shops, and that she has even had the opportunity to make some virtual friends in the midst of the process.
“On my ‘feed’, there are constant clothes and accessories that other sellers are posting. From here, I find inspiration as to new ways I may post listings and even new items that I may consider looking for at the thrift store next time.”
While Natalie is currently unsure of whether or not she would like to pursue the fashion industry as a legitimate career path, she finds it so awesome to know that she has access to her Depop shop whenever she may need it in the future.
“Anytime I am feeling inspired to clean out my closet, I find clothing that I used to love to wear that may not fit my persona anymore, so it is those items that I decide to list and share with my Depop community,” she says. “I am so excited to do a final Depop drop before I move away for college.”
The most helpful piece of advice to offer when it comes to success in those looking to start shopping at thrift stores is that it takes a lot of patience and dedication, and this is something that Natalie and I both easily agree on. Unlike a retail or consignment store which is set up to attract your attention to the products, a thrift store has no identity or constraints so you must search with an open mindset.
“If you are intent on finding clothing at a thrift store, you go to a rack and look at every single item, often times a great shirt or pair of jeans is tightly stuck between two items. I also highly recommend looking at jewelry and accessories at thrift stores because you can often find great accessories for a cheap price.”
The senior went on to reveal her last piece of advice for baby thrifters and potential Depop listers. “Don’t be a stickler for specific brands. If you are attracted to an item then get it! It doesn’t matter what the reputation of the brand is!!”
With all of this very helpful advice from the lovely Ms. Dudensing, you all have no excuse to put off hitting up that local thrift store you’ve driven by a hundred times. Even with a few dollars in your pocket and a good amount of persistence, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the outcomes of your thrift shopping experiences. You never know what you may find, so open your mind to the benefits of local business shopping and say bye-bye to those problematic fast fashion brands. Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Become part of the change and especially look out for any new sales on @g0dlygarbs on Depop!