The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a wave of social-media based used clothing resellers.
While second-hand clothes shopping has been around for years, people are seeing more second-hand items for sale online.
Marie Wasef, who runs the Instagram account getthriftednl, says it was something she had wanted to do for a while. The COVID-19 pandemic made her take a leap of faith.
She started her page on May 3 after taking a 13-per-cent pay cut from her job at MUN and was initially selling her own used items to make up for her financial loss.
“I feel super connected to my community and I think that’s amazing.”
Wasef says she checked out similar accounts in the beginning and shortly after started gaining followers who were also reselling thrift store items. Some had started doing it around the same time as Wasef.
She considers the practice a mixture of a hobby and a business.
Since moving to St. John’s six years ago, Wasef says she hasn’t always had the chance to meet new people, and that her part-time venture has given her that opportunity.
“It’s a good way to make friends,” Wasef said. “I feel super connected to my community and I think that’s amazing.”
Despite her page being popular thus far, she says it’s a constant balance of trying to figure out what people are looking for and finding the right prices in the store.
“You’re spending hours at the thrift store trying to find unique items and it’s a lot of work, so I try to treat it like a minimum-wage job kind of thing,” said Wasef.
Wasef says when it comes to marking-up her items, she determines the price based on what she would pay and comparisons with other second-hand sites.
Haylee Freake is a full-time Memorial University student and operates freakevintage on Instagram. She says the business aspect comes secondary to her, and that she doesn’t mark-up her items to make a profit. She says she prices them at their value
“There’s a lot that goes into pricing,” said Freake.
Modifications to a garment, she said, such as cropping or sewing take time and can require additional fabric.
“Trying to feel and look good in the clothes I buy from thrift stores is becoming increasingly difficult because of the huge quantities of people buying and selling used clothing.”
Wasef says her main destination to shop for used items is Previously Loved Clothes and Things on
Kenmount Road. The non-profit operation raises funds for Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador.
Gail Dempsey is the executive director of Epilepsy NL and says there’s no such thing as their average customer.
“We have customers who stock up for their antique stores,” said Dempsey. “We have customers who buy collections to re-sell online. There truly is something for everybody.”
Dempsey says they put 1,000 items on their sales floor every day and she doesn’t mind if people buy things and resell them at an increased price.
She says since reopening on June 8, business has been booming.
“I don’t know if sales are up because people are buying up the stuff to resell online, but our sales are up significantly. We’ve been doing fantastic business,” said Dempsey.
Emily Elliott is a recent geology graduate from Memorial University and says the job market has been rocky.
She relies on thrift stores to buy good-quality clothing and says it’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re not dressed the part.
“I can’t afford to buy brand-new clothing that is high end or even middle ground,” said Elliot.
She says she’s seen people selling items online for as much as $45 or $50 that were at the thrift store a week earlier for $10.
“Trying to feel and look good in the clothes I buy from thrift stores is becoming increasingly difficult because of the huge quantities of people buying and selling used clothing,” she said.