OPINION: There has been a tremendous amount of discussion online lately about these savings fins, people giving new life to old clothes.
As a dealer myself, I’m here to say we’re not all as gross as you might think. Yes, I was called that.
I have been shopping all my adult life.
It started long before I understood or even really heard of fast, cheap, and trendy fashion clothes. I was a teenager, on a paper salary, trying to find my own style.
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I learned that my dollar was going a lot further, but also that I could dress a little differently than all of my friends wearing that same Glassons fleece zip hoodie.
As I got older, entered a fairly well-paying career, and got married, I spent a few years more often buying new than second-hand.
But that all changed again when I was expecting my first child in 2018, and I realized how much dressing a child could cost me.
Woah, we were there; about to be on one income, with a little human to dress up.
I started to stock up on little things like Kmart, but I realized very quickly that these things just didn’t last well.
So I went back to my roots of op shopping, only now, 10 years later, it wasn’t just physical op stores that were available.
The likes of Trade Me and Facebook Marketplace had taken off, as well as online savings pinball machines.
For me, it was obvious. I discovered that I could dress my child in good quality clothes for a fraction of the cost.
Let’s move forward a few more years. I now have two children and have quit my job to stay home with them.
We are truly a one-income family (by choice). I always dress my children with second hand threads.
I have always had a strong interest in fashion. I would have enrolled in this fashion design degree if my mom hadn’t told me that nursing might be a more sustainable career option.
As a mother of girls, I quickly acquired a real sense of high-end brands, and the effect of fast fashion on the environment.
I toyed with the idea of starting my own children’s clothing resale business for a long time before I got started, mainly because I wanted to assess if we really needed another one.
It’s a very saturated market.
But then a well-known New Zealand children’s clothing brand ran a promotion in which they said they would donate 20 percent of their profits for a week to a certain charity.
At the end of the week, they proudly announced that they had $ 25,000 to donate. They have been hailed as the most generous of heroes.
I thought if 20 percent of a week’s profit was over $ 25,000, then the situation for children’s fashion, no less, is worse than we thought.
We had to do better.
Now my resale business is currently my main source of income.
I pay taxes. I devote an average of 20 hours a week to taking care of two young children.
I understand the arguments. I steal from the poor. I strip op stores of good quality stock and leave nothing for anyone else. I benefit low income people. I raise prices in op stores, making them now inaccessible to their target market.
I have heard it all and am here to say that none of this is true, and to provide some arguments to defend the thrift fins.
The operations stores are completely overcrowded and welcome assistance in moving the stock.
I run my business with transparency. All of my regular stores are fully aware of what I do and fully support me.
There are so many donations that many stores can’t keep up with, and if no one is buying, it’s their responsibility to get rid of them, often to landfill.
Second-hand store Vinnies spends about $ 18,000 a year to empty inventory in its Wellington stores.
Wellington’s Southern Landfill also recently reported that 25 percent of clothing thrown out was still wearable.
By purchasing stocks, I make significant monetary donations to these charities.
I, along with many other resellers, can spend up to $ 10,000 per year in operations stores, which are run by charities.
A store manager I spoke to recently considered resellers to keep his store afloat for a few weeks because of the cash flow we bring.
While that sounds like a lot of money and we’re stripping the shelves of clothes that could be bought by low-income people, all of my second-hand shops run by local charities have separate stocks to give to those in need. need.
Yes, I make a profit, the margin of which varies from piece to piece.
But during the hours that I sink into this business buying stocks, photographing, marketing, social media, managing websites, responding to messages, packing and booking couriers, it turns out. be a minimum wage issue.
And you bet I’m paying taxes on it all.
There are also expenses for gasoline, packing materials, electricity and the Internet.
You see, for parents who buy from me, I provide a service, and they partially pay for that service.
So many people would like to do second-hand shopping more frequently, but don’t have the time to shop in real life, or it’s not geographically viable for them.
No one flinches when the antique dealers do the same, but the judgment towards the dealers is constant.
I’m certainly not saying that I have all the answers, or that this is the only solution to a very big problem.
All I know is the way we consume fashion has to change.
To quote a fellow retailer, and incredible Internet friend of mine, Emma from Charting Eden: “We need companies committed to producing clothes that limit damage to the planet, provide workers with a living wage and a work environment. healthy. We need consumers who are willing to pay more for their clothes, to consume less, to know where their clothes come from. We must reuse what is already circulating in the world. We need sustainable ways to move existing clothing.
Actually, you don’t have to agree with what I do, but at the very least let me encourage you to think twice about who made your clothes.
Buy less, buy good quality.
Reuse what you already own and walk into an operations store from time to time. You may surprise yourself.