Students find business opportunities through thrift shopped items


Thrift shopping trends have seen a 37% growth among Millenials and 46% growth among Gen Z, according to The Redup. A poll conducted by the Accent’s Instagram account found that 76% of the 136 respondents regularly shop at thrift shops. Some Southern students have found business opportunities through this new trend by bringing thrift-shopping directly to campus. 

Senior marketing major Nick Gonzoga runs Est. 1997 Vintage (@est.1997vintage), an Instagram-centered business selling vintage clothing. His interest in thrift-shopping began two years ago after seeing a bootleg rap tee a friend bought from a thrift store. 

“Thrifted clothes create a story,” Gonzoga said. “Where did this shirt go? What memories did you create in this shirt? Try to find those pieces that create a memory for you.”

Gonzoga started his business at Southern’s 423 Night Market event last semester, selling items such as Looney Tunes shirts and a Beach Boys T-shirt, making nearly a 300% profit. 

Sophomore public relations major Elise Deschamps began her business, Le Marche Du Soleil (@le_marche_du_soleil), last summer by selling thrifted clothes in one of Thatcher Hall’s lobbies. 

“My friends always say that they want me to take them thrifting; and when I do, they do not have the patience to thrift for hours, which is what I do,” Deschamps said. She began reselling thrifted clothes to her friends, and it soon grew into a larger business with an Instagram account. She now goes thrift-shopping at least once a week.  

“I love wearing thrifted clothes because no one else has them,” Deschamps said. “… There is a lot of variety to what I can wear. And because it’s so cheap, I have more freedom and ability to put together outfits.

 “Also, it’s sustainable and keeps clothes out of landfills,” she added. 

So far, Deschamps has sold nearly 140 pieces of clothing, most of them T-shirts and jackets. She sells clothing to both guys and girls. 

“I’ve been trying to put more personal touches on the pieces that I actually sell,” Deschamps said, describing her style as loud, colorful, and confident. 

“Half of the time, I just choose ugly pieces that have matching colors, and then I wear it with confidence and hope for the best,” Deschampes said.

Deschamps advises thrift-shoppers to be patient, as it can take hours of sifting through clothing items to find a piece worth buying. 

“Look through every hanger. … Ask yourself if you’re going to wear it. Imagine outfits with the piece,” Deschamps said. 

Sophomore pre-speech language pathology major Janelle Richardson manages Swap N Shop, a clothing exchange located in room 2805 of Thatcher South. Swap N Shop opened at the beginning of last semester when Richardson and her friends noticed donation bins overflowing with clothing. 

“We thought of having a thrift store,” Richardson said. “We were like, ‘It would be nice if you could give a t-shirt, and then you can walk out with any of the items in the store.’”

Deans and students brought shelves, clothing racks and mannequins into an unused office. And after quality-checking and washing donated clothing, Swap N Shop was open for business. 

Girls interested in exchanging clothing at Swap N Shop can bring anything from dresses and pants, scarves and shoes. Items can be exchanged at a one-to-one ratio. Customers can also start a tab to keep track of how many items they have donated. Swap N Shop is open from Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 A.M. Closing hours vary per day. 

Richardson encourages thrift-shoppers to check on the quality of an item before buying or exchanging. 

“Definitely look for tears. A lot of the big things we look for in here are whether or not the zippers work or if the threading is loose,” Richardson said. “Come by and see us!”

Share this story!

Leave a Reply