Musings,  Onstyle

My experience of running an online thrift shop!

Hello hello! I have been wanting to make this post from a long time and unfortunately I’ve got the time to write this while we are in quarantine. I hope you guys are safe and making the most of this time.

Today, I want to take you guys through the process of my thrifting and reselling business. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, so basically I’ve been running this boutique / vintage inspired store from a year and a half and it’s called Retro Days. I have been doing this on and off since 2015 but only on the weekends. I was working as a copywriter and later as a UI/UX designer full time. So, what is it that made me do this full time? Well, the design agency I was working for was shutting down and no we were not out of work, we had way too much work and between all that hustle and bustle – I think we lost some creative grounding and my boss decided to shut it down and I was really REALLY SAD! I literally cried the whole night, you can imagine how much I loved working there. After working there, I couldn’t go to any other job and work for just money because after a long time I had finally felt how it feels like working with passion. So, I decided to work on my shop full time because I was really passionate about it and really wanted to full time and suddenly I had the opportunity to do it. So that’s that about taking it full time.

Register your business

When I finally decided to take it full time, I knew I wanted a website – I was doing it on Instagram before but for me that wasn’t enough in in terms of a full fledged business.  So, my husband runs an IT company so he helped me with getting the website ready which was honestly not difficult as compared to what I was going to face next. Of course, I also wanted to integrate a payment gateway and for that I needed a GST number and for that I had to get my business registered which was a long process honestly and mentally tiring for me because I just don’t enjoy technical side of business as much.

Thrifting

So, I belong to a middle class family and therefore I have always lived on a budget and I guess self control came naturally with that. I never wanted to buy anything that I didn’t need but that was only until college – as soon as I started earning, I felt this sense of freedom to spend on whatever I want and sometimes I did but soon regretted. I remember sometimes I would buy some ten blouses in one trip to the flea market but forcefully wear a lot of them just to justify the fact that I have spent my money on them and I shouldn’t be wasting it. Soon after I stopped buying a lot of stuff and consuming consciously became my second nature and a great habit.  So I use to and still shop from only flea markets and only jeans and shoes from proper stores. When I realized I want to do a business out of this, I made contacts with flea market vendors so that it becomes easier to buy stock. These vendors have piles and piles of clothes and the I go through a selection process and pick what I like which is mostly inspired by the era of 60s, 70s and the 80s. These clothes are 95% second hand and some defected and rejected.

Washcare

Next step is washcare and probably one of the most important steps. First, I separate colors and later I separate fabrics. Dark ones and light ones are washed separately and that goes for different fabrics. It’s important to do this because if even one item looses its color, then it can literally ruin all the other clothes. So even if I have a small doubt a fabric losing its color, I wash it separately or just handwash it. To get rid of the smell and bacteria, I use dettol and white vinegar along with the detergent. Washcare is completely different for winter clothes ofcourse, a lot of them are sent for dry cleaning and a lot of them are handwashed which honestly is very tiring and expensive.

Photography, Editing and Pricing

After this, I click photos, edit them and upload them on the website. The critical point comes when I have to decide the price for every product. I’ll start with bills that I have to have to pay every month – GST, buy stock, ads, shipping (I use DTDC), Shopify charges, Razorpay charges and certain features that I have added on the website and Income Tax every year. I do realize second hand shops are suppose to be cheap, but I do put in a lot of work, time and money in it and considering all these factors – I decide my price point and I try and keep it as affordable as possible so that it reaches more people. I’d like to know what you guys have to say about this.  

I also wanted add that I don’t have a team currently (I hope to have one some day!), but right now I can’t afford to have one. This is my full time job and it brings a lot of joy to me which I am really thankful for! It’s a great opportunity for me to combine my love for fashion and promoting sustainable lifestyle!

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