Ah the art of thrifting. There really isn't a right or wrong way to tackle the task but I thought it would be fun to share a bit of how I go about thrifting as a small shop owner. If I'm being honest with you, the process isn't all that different from a personal thrifting spree but the time it takes to thrift as a business, is a tad bit longer. Let's just say, if you're going to thrift for your business make sure you stay hydrated and bring a snack or two!
Before I lay out the written steps here, I should probably mention that I did make a Youtube video on this topic to give you guys a visual of how my thrift days tend to look. It's a little chaotic and all over the place but look, I'm no professional vlogger so please cut me some slack and enjoy my lame and sarcastic sense of humour. If reading's not your thang (no judgement here), this video is a vague but semi-entertaining way to get a jist of what it's like thrifting as a reseller:
Okay, now for all the readers out there. Let's breakdown, in better detail, what my thrifting process is like. Starting with the essentials or must-haves (in my opinion of course)!
The Essential Tips:
As much as I want to look cute and let everyone know that I am a stylish 20-something year old, I think it is more important to be comfortable. You're there to literally shop until you drop (especially on sale days) and you definitely don't want anything to hold you back.
Bring a Water Bottle and Hand Sanitizer
Okay, I know this is a weird combination here but they're both such small things, I felt like they didn't need their own separate paragraphs. Anyway, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. That's just the key to survival in general. And, a new rule I've adopted is: have hand sanitizer with you at all times! I'm a gal with a weak immune system so this has become a must-have!
Bring a Reusable Bag
Look, you're shopping secondhand which is fantastic for your wallet and the environment. Go the extra mile and bring a reusable bag - not just when you're thrifting but whenever you're out and about! I highly recommend the reusable Ikea bags because those bad boys are huge and surprisingly sturdy!
Alright, now that we've covered some of my essentials, let's finally move on to the real breakdown! Yay!
My Thrifting Process:
Step 1: Shop Ahead of Season
Honestly the real step 1 is, grab a cart and brace yourself (especially on sale days). Shopping ahead of season is something I've only really started doing once With Nini became a part of my life. I'm not reinventing the wheel or doing anything revolutionary here but just like the big brands, you need to think ahead and stock up on items that will be in style next season.
Step 2: Shop All Sizes and Sections
This was actually something I struggled with at first. I've only had experience dressing myself and my body type so naturally I would gravitate towards those sizes. But, if you're looking to run an inclusive shop to any extent, it is important to check out all sections and sizes. Do your research, see what's trending for your demographic in all size categories and just try your damn best at the thrift store. And, I'm sure you're aware of this but I'll say it anyway: don't be discouraged if you can't find items in all size categories. Thrift stores are always a hit or miss!
As the wise Michael Jordan once said: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - this statement is not just true in basketball, it's true with thrifting too. So take that shot, take some time out to groom through the men's and kid's section! You'll be surprised by the amount of oversized, Ariana Grande-esque sweaters you'll find in the men's section.
Step 3: Time to Sort Through Your Cart
At this point, your cart should be full. At least mine would be because I quite literally throw everything in my cart because I know I'll be going through it all before purchasing anyway. My first tip for this step is to find a low traffic area in the store, like the book aisle or that random aisle that has mugs, dishes, and a weird selection of salt and pepper shakers. Once you've found your "quiet" spot, go through your entire cart! I like to pick out all the items that stand out the most to me, that I really, really like. Then, I create a "keep" pile on one end of my cart and a "no thank you" pile on the other end.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, this part is important. Go through your "keep" pile items and check for rips, broken zippers, and stains. Then, check for brands and material information. All this information helps with determining the value of the item. During this process, I sometimes move items to the "no thank you" pile. And now, my least favourite school subject comes in: math. I add up the total cost of my "keep" pile. To be honest, I don't usually have a set budget in mind but I am still mindful of how much I want to invest in my shop in that particular week. If there's some wiggle room, I might add an item from the "no thank you" pile to the "keep" pile or vice versa.
Step 4: Keep Your Receipt
Check out time, baby! After I've paid for my curated pile of pre-loved goodness, I always make sure to jot down the prices of each item in a spread sheet and then store my receipt in a safe place. As a business owner, no matter how big or small, keeping your receipts are a must. But, we won't go in to too much detail on that topic today. After a long day of thrifting, I like to remove all the tags and get the items ready to be cleaned.
And, tadah! That's my thrifting process. Nothing groundbreaking or out of the ordinary. Just a process and routine that has worked for me and my shop and maybe, it'll work for you too! To end this blog in a semi-exciting way, here's a thrift haul I filmed after an intense sale day at Value Village (aka. part 2 of the video above):