My mother and I tried one second-hand store in the 1960’s. It was dark, the clothing was not attractively presented, and we weren’t sure we wanted anyone to see us go in or out. Second-hand shopping simply meant you couldn’t afford new clothes. There was a stigma attached.
Enter 2022. Every town has at least one thrift store. Many of them are as big, well-organized, and airy as a major retailer. People of all ages and backgrounds shop there. If you “snag” a “find,” you don’t pretend you bought it at a department store, you brag that you “thrifted” it. Your personal style might include vintage clothing from many previous decades.
As you know from the first post in this series, I was an early thrift enthusiast. In the 70s and 80s I bought many clothes for myself and my family at thrift stores while our children were growing up and we were living on a limited budget. As the amount of clothing produced increased, the number of resale options increased also.
What has changed in the world of fashion in those 40 years? This graph says it best.
Now you know what the term “fast fashion” means — buying often but only keeping a short time. At the end of this massive overproduction of clothing in the U.S. and other “developed” countries, lies a billion pounds of clothing every year that ends up in land fills like this one in Ghana where your donated clothes may have gone to die.
This overproduction, an environmental disaster, has created new markets and new careers. “Resellers” now purchase the excess. They buy items at the local thrift or consignment store or garage sales or their clients’ closets and then sell on their own social media accounts (Instagram and TikTok) or on resale sites such as Poshmark, RealReal, and Depop, ThredUp, and Tradesy. When this process works well, it is circular — a little like an organic farm where waste compost and manure transform into next year’s fruits and vegetables.
Kate’s new reselling business is located both on Instagram and Poshmark and in her own home and the home of her clients. Her favorite way to sell is to get to know her clients and find things they might never locate on their own but that delight them. As she develops her in-home “store,” she hopes to listen and learn from her clients.
Kate named her new business Kind You Find, tipping her hat to a popular Prince song:
The kind you find in a second hand store.”
A few weeks later, Kate went on Instagram to share her holiday sweater finds on video. If you have an Instagram account, you can follow her @KindYouFind.