I haven't blogged in quite some time now. I've been trying to balance building this business with my full time job. In addition, for the last year or so I've been searching for a mixed use property to be a home for both Thrift and myself.
It's been a journey to say the least. I made the decision to move back home and rent out my house in May of 2019. I naively thought I'd quickly find a property. Little did I know how complex purchasing a mixed use building would be. For those who are unfamiliar with the term "mixed use property" it's any property that contains both residential and commercial space.
I finally closed on the building you see above in June of 2020 in the midst of one of the most challenging years we will probably ever see. It was just over a year after I made the decision to move back home. All that being said, I'm going to tell you why I feel like this was still a good decision... LOL!
Although this was a tough purchase (probably would've been easier had I done more research early) it was one of the best things I could've done to grow my business. Check back in with me in a few months and we'll see if I'm still saying this but for now I'm still excited. You see the great thing about mixed use property is that you pay the money you would've already been paying toward housing toward your business space.
In many cases I see individuals struggle to pay rent or a mortgage while trying to pay the lease on their retail space. I knew that this was not feasible for me. At least not this early in my business while still working a 9-5. My alternative was to buy mixed use. This way I could live in the building with my business and share the cost. To be honest my mortgage now is only about $300 more than the house that I rent out. Just think, for $300 a month I now have an entire store! And I can do whatever I want in the space! Not to mention, now more of my money can go towards staff and less towards overhead... #winning.
Now of course there are a lot of things to consider if you're going to do this. Do you want to live where you work? Does it work for your family? Do you qualify for a mortgage loan? However, if it is feasible for you to make this type of purchase for your business I think it's something you should strongly consider. Plus my commute is literally 15 seconds... LOL! Happy Thrifting Thrifters!
There's not much to say here but that these are absolutely random tips that will help you find the best items when you're doing your thrifting.
Let other people do the work for you.
Contrary to when you shop at a regular retail clothing store you actually want to try and grab what others have tried on. At a thrift store people are picking through all of the items to find the best items and chances are someone else has already touched what you want. A great idea when thrifting is to go straight to the dressing room area if there is one and check out the stuff that's been left outside. It's probably some of the best stuff you can find. Maybe it didn't fit the person before you but it doesn't mean you won't look great in it.
Don't go in looking for something specific.
It can be hard to find that blue polka dot dress in a size 10 if that's what you're looking for at a thrift store. However, you can definitely find a great dress for your cocktail party. The best things at the thrift store are found when you are simply looking for something you like. You can be so specific that you miss out on that perfect item in the other isle. Try thrifting when you have nothing better to do. The extra time and ease will help uncover hidden gems.
Shop out of season
Just like in retail, thrift stores will have sales at the end of seasons. Also, because we work in a huge amounts of inventory we jump on the opportunity to get rid of a coat in the summer time to make room for other items. You will actually have much better luck haggling with a thrift store owner for something that is not currently in season. Next time you're in the store during the winter grab a sundress or a tank top and ask them for a discount.
Keep checking out the Thrift Blog for more tips and tricks regarding thrift store shopping.
The holiday season can be extremely expensive and it can truly make you forget what the season is all about. In fact it can be so stressful and taxing to some that you feel you have nothing to give. Well let me assure you that we all have something we can give! Did you know that the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing a year. All of this so called trash is not only harmful to our environment but its a huge missed opportunity to give.
Thrift is all about giving especially clothing! Through our tremendous donations from people like you we have been able to gift a lot off people with clothing and household items. We've given school uniforms to children who could not afford them, we've given children's clothing to families in need, we've given household items, and we only plan to do more of that next year. We have been so blessed this year by the generosity of others and we only want to pass that on. However, we realize that as a for profit business we are not the only place in town you can and should give to. We love your donations but if you don't give to us please give your clothing to someone. It can really go a long way!
There are literally hundreds of places where you can donate clothing but we have compiled a small list here to help you get started. You can click the links (Org names) to find out more about the organizations :) Also feel free to leave the information for an organization we didn't mention in the comments and let's keep the giving going!
Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons provides free school supplies, toys, clothing, books, hygiene products, infant care products, and of course clothing to children ages 0-12yrs. In fact the organization I work for in my day job partners with them to give these items so I can testify to their good work. I've even volunteered for them before so I'd highly recommend.
Soles4Souls delivers shoes to people in need around the world.
Share Your Soles
Share Your Soles gives shoes to impoverished people in countries across the globe including the US.
Bridge to Success
Bridge to Success provides professional interview attire for people right here in Chicago.
Dress for Success
Dress for Success provides professional attire for women to secure employment. They specialize in confidence building for those women to obtain safer and better futures. They also have a base right here in Chicago.
Brides Across America
Brides Across America provides free wedding dresses to military and first responder brides.
This organization sells gently used purses to help support the victims of sex trafficking and exploitation.
Donate your used glasses to this organization who gives them to people who need assistance with vision correction.
Even if you don't feel like going out in the cold to donate there are a host of organizations that will come and pick up your donation for you including Amvets and Vietnam Veterans. Note: We will also pick up donations.... LOL!
If none of that interests you there are always local homeless and domestic violence shelters who take donations, local churches, open closets (Like food pantries for clothes), and long standing places like the Salvation Army. I've also included a link to another blog that lists even more places you can donate in this area and nation wide.
Happy Giving Thrifters!!!
And if you have a little more than clothing to give below is video that illustrates just how good giving can feel :)
Good evening Thrifters,
Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays! It's an opportunity to wear something outlandish and/or try on a new persona. It's also a perfect time to make a trip to the thrift store or even to a friend's closet. No need to spend a lot of money to have a fantastic ensemble for your next Halloween bash.
You can easily be transformed into anyone who has a unique or recognizable style by taking a trip to the thrift store. Plus so many people donate their once worn costumes you can make an easy score especially if you don't have a specific costume in mind.
I donated the top gun costume I'm wearing in the picture on the far left so you might see it at one of our pop up shops. In the pic second from the left I raided my mom's closet to find a few scarfs for my Jimi Hendrix costume. The Steve Urkel costume was a complete thrift store look from top to bottom (can't squeeze on the pants anymore so their being donated too). Most of the stuff in my pimp costume came right from my closet but I had to call on mom again for the fur and hair :).
If you've got a great homemade, thrifted, or simply creative costume we'd love to hear about it. Give us your ideas by leaving a comment or even better post a pic to our Facebook page.
Happy Halloween Thrifters!!
It's me again Thrifters :)
If you've ever been on a praise team or choir and tried to coordinate outfits you know it can be a nightmare... LOL! I've been in singing groups of all kinds over the last 15 years and as a result the Thrift store became one of my best friends. When the director tells you the colors are maroon and beige for Sunday don't moan and complain (I was usually the director..LOL). Remember the Thrift store and know you can have the perfect blend with the group for next to nothing.
In a short time I developed a closet with every color dress shirt you could think of and it probably cost me less than $75 dollars. After a while I didn't have to think about it and I was always prepared for the most outlandish color combo. If I didn't have it the Thrift store was always in my back pocket.
Stop wearing black and/or white for everything you do. Let the Thrift store allow you to bring something new to the sanctuary. If you're the director and you have that chronic complainer present them with a shirt you've already gotten them prior to announcing the colors for the concert. You'll be doing a good dead and saving yourself from death by fashion boredom all at the same time :) They don't have to know how much you spent.
Also, I've done a lot of background singing and you can never have enough black when you're doing that. Believe me you can find a whole lot of breathable black clothing to wear so you don't die of heat stroke under those hot stage lights.... Thank me for these tips by shopping with Thrift!
Until next time Thrifters,
We've all had that moment where we thought something was a great idea only to get home and see it in another light or with those pants that were perfect until we realized they didn't match. This can be especially frustrating when what we've purchased is expensive. We can always take it back to the store but who wants to do that! :(
Thrifting is a great way to try something new. Try a new color, style, or cut and feel confident that if it doesn't work you only spent $5. Then you don't feel bad about wearing it to paint the house or giving it to that friend who rocks the look a lot better than you (Then you look like a great friend too... lol!).
I tried a shirt from our Thrift collection (Pictured to the left). I'm usually pretty plain when it comes to dress shirts but wanted to branch out to something bolder. $4.50 was the right price so I went with it. I got a lot of compliments although I'm still on the fence (I felt a little like a farmer on the 4th of July... LOL!). Anyway, I'm definitely keeping it in the closet for that hoe down themed party :) or I might just try it again... What do you think?