Students run online thrift business to support crisis in Lebanon

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There are many ways to help raise money for a good cause. Anna Cousins, a freshman public relations and graphic design major, has found a rather fashionable way to do so: Thrift Flipping.

Cousins has an online thrift business called Phoenicia Finesse. The goal of Phoenicia Finesse is to help the victims of corruption and violence in Lebanon, and the business donates 100% of its profits to supporting the cause.

Cousins runs the business with two of her friends, twin sisters Nilah and Nara Mataafa. Nara is currently studying accounting at Middle East University in Lebanon and is able to help directly with the business. 

Cousins got the idea for her project when she saw other thrift businesses being run on Instagram and TikTok. Noticing their popularity, she realized it would be a great way to raise money for Lebanon. 

“Nilah and I met this summer canvassing, and she wanted to create a sustainable business that would support Lebanon,” Cousins said. “I saw a lot of people running online thrift stores, and thought that would be a good idea, so we got together and started Phoenicia Finesse.” 

All three friends already had plans to start a business and the idea to create a nonprofit seemed to fit their goals. 

“God has really blessed our store,” Cousins said. “It has been really profitable; God has been really pulling through with that. So, we are really excited that the cause is being supported.” 

After collecting profit from the sales, the entire amount is donated directly to the cause in Lebanon. 

“We send the profits to Nara, who then pays a Syrian refugee a living wage to make reusable pads for other refugee women,” Cousins said.

 This supports not only the man who is paid to make these products, but also the women who otherwise may not have access to basic menstrual products . 

The Instagram page allows customers both the option to buy the clothes at a set price, or at as a bidding option. The posts are organized in a simple, neutral theme, with various clothing items grouped by drops.

“We get our aesthetic inspiration from Pinterest,” Cousins said. “We kind of go for a classic, minimalist chic style.”

 Items are sourced from local thrift stores around Southern as well as thrift stores around Andrews University, where Nilah is studying. After selecting the clothing, Anna and Nilah will both post the items on Phoenicia Finesse’s Instagram page, @phoeniciafinesse, in a curated fashion.

Screenshot of Phoenicia Finesse’s Instagram account, @phoeniciafinesse.  Phoenicia Finesse is a thrift-flipping business run by Public Relations fresman Anna Cousins along two of her friends, Nilah and Nara Mataafa. Phoenicia Finesse donates 100% of its profits to support projects in Lebanon. 

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