Calgary

Third-hand stores: Reselling vintage fashion is turning a profit

For the thrifters doing it, they say they're not only making it their full-time careers but they're introducing customers to eco-conscious shopping.

Vintage clothing stores like The Nines operate on Instagram and in pop-up shops

What started as a 'side hustle' has become Lauren Price's main gig. She's the owner of The Nines, which sells second-hand apparel. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

There's an emerging trend in Calgary that's showing up on your Instagram feed and in your friend's closet.

It's thrift shopping! 

But those with busy schedules aren't sifting through racks at Value Village any more. Instead, they're following thrifters on Instagram and going to their homes to shop. 

And for the thrifters doing it, they say they're not only making it their full-time careers but they're introducing customers to eco-conscious shopping.

Lauren Price, owner of the second-hand shop The Nines, normally operates out of her parents' garage but recently opened a pop-up store in Marda Loop.

"I want people to come here and see things that they can't find anywhere else," she said.

The second-hand store, The Nines, exists on social media and in a pop-up location in Marda Loop. (Natalie Valleau/CBC)

Price's vintage collection started after the 2013 floods. She says that after losing all of her clothes, she had to reinvent her closet on a budget.

"Eventually, I had one of those life moments where I was like, 'maybe I should turn this into a business,'" she said. 

Rethrifting on social media

Prices's process is simple but time consuming. She says she visits every thrift shop in Calgary that's she's aware of. That's where she gets her favourite vintage finds.

But outside the city is good, too.

"The small towns when you travel — that's where the best thrifting is, I'd say, and the best prices as well."

From there, Price resells the clothes on social media platforms, making it easier for people to find unique items.

"It just makes it easier for people who are working all the time to just come in and not have to sift through," she said. "It's something unique that you wouldn't find shopping at a mall."

Having a sharp eye for second-hand clothing and good Instagram marketing has also caught the attention of the Retail Council of Canada. 

Michael LeBlanc, a senior retail advisor with the association, says retail is evolving and that social media has become a facet of that change.

"Retail is both a mirror of the culture and reaction to culture," he said.

"You are seeing these macro trends where reused or vintage items or resale items — particularly in apparel — can become a very significant part of the business."

Price says that for her business, she thinks people were attracted by seeing objects styled on her Instagram and Facebook pages.

"It makes people want to buy colour and it makes people want to buy things they never bought before," she said.

"We all love scrolling through Instagram, so I think just constantly seeing new things has just changed the game of online shopping."

Beverley Docherty, owner of Wolfepack Vintage, says she's part of a growing community of thrifters who support each other's businesses. (Natalie Valleau/CBC)

Shop sustainable 

Beverley Docherty, owner of Wolfepack Vintage, says she's happy to see more people stray away from "fast fashion," defined as trendy and cheaply produced but not meant to last.

"Just changing people's minds and ideas around that is kind of an important thing that needs to happen for us to evolve that way," she said.

Docherty says this way of doing business introduces a whole new generation to thrift shopping as well as meets the modern demand for sustainable fashion.

CBC News asked Antiquaire Boutique, a "regular" thrift store in Inglewood, if the homemade versions are affecting revenues.

Sheena Anne, the manager, says it's not hurting sales and that she's had clients shop there for their personal stores.

"It's not like they get a discounted rate or anything. So if they're paying our prices and then they're able to sell it for more, then good on them."

She adds that vintage fashion is popular on social media because of its uniqueness and environmental factor.

"It's inspiring people on how to rework things and promote sustainable fashion in a way that's really approachable."

With files from Lucie Edwardson

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