Thrifting is the upcycling of previously owned pieces and reselling them at a cheaper rate
Staying at home with a wardrobe full of clothes led to a mini boom of thrift stores on Instagram by teenagers living in Kolkata
Founded by sisters Tanya, 18, and Amisha Grewal, 17, this online store offers a range of stylish, handpicked clothes and accessories - from tops and dresses to suede pencil heels and denim dungarees.
“I noticed that there were many stores in Mumbai and Delhi but hardly any in Kolkata… that’s when I saw an opportunity,” said Tanya, who was introduced to the negative impacts of fast fashion in the Environmental Studies foundation course at Ashoka University, Delhi where she studies Economics and Finance. Her sister Amisha is a Class XII student of Modern High School For Girls.
The duo founded Thriftophilia in May 2021 with the intent to “fight the culture of throwing clothes away”. Brands like Zara, Forever 21, Only and H&M find a place in the store that ships all over India, while maintaining the hygiene standards for worn items.
ReLove by MiYa
St Xaviers College batch-mates Mihira Singh, 20, and Yashodhara Bhalotia, 20, founded this online store in July 2020.
While studying sociology in college, both were complemented for their style and fashion aesthetic. “Everyone would constantly ask us about our outfits and where we bought them from. That’s when we realised that we would like our clothes to reach as many people as possible and help create a timeless wardrobe,” said Mihira.
ReLove provides a variety of options - from Primark and Shein to their picks from Bangkok’s flea markets. What’s unique is that ReLove allows customers to sell items they’d like to thrift through their platform for a 20 per cent cut. The store ships across India using its own eco-friendly, handmade packaging.
Epargne-The Thrift Store
The French word ‘Epargne’ means ‘Thrift’. That’s no surprise because Paris, the fashion capital of the world, is the place to draw inspiration for the 18-year-old founders Ritika Modi and Chitrangada Singh.
The students of Modern High School For Girls click-started Epargne in May 2021 because they wanted to try their hands at “something different” while “generating awareness about clean fashion”. From hand-picking items to clicking pictures and promoting on social media, the teens have divided responsibilities to maximise efficiency.
Epargne offers select items from Zara, Nicole Miller and other popular brands for prices as low as Rs 599 (minus shipping). “We have been receiving a lot of requests and we plan on introducing Indian wear and ethnic options as well and will be dropping that soon,” said Ritika. The store ships across India and uses minimalistic packaging such as handmade or recycled brown paper bags.
“Our clothing is for anyone and everyone to feel confident in their own skin”.
Izumi’s tagline says it all.
Aujasyaa Ghosh, 19, a second-year BBA student at Amity University and Garihma Chettri, 19, a Fashion Design student at Amity University, founded Izumi in March 2021 after 18 months of planning.
They began their journey by researching sustainable fashion practices, watching how-to videos and structuring a business plan. Having crossed 1000 followers, the page continues to draw online shoppers on a regular basis.
“Our primary motivation was to earn some extra money but we also realised that while everyone wants to look good and stay on trend, not everyone can afford first-hand items from brands and we help by offering reasonable prices,” said Garihma.
‘Izumi’, which means ‘Spring’ in Japanese, ships across India, even to places like Goa, Assam and Chennai.
Smeera Sengupta, 19, started the Instagram Thrift store to clear out her wardrobe and earn some extra money before leaving for Culinary Arts Academy, Switzerland.
“Thrifting allows you to create a style of your own that has different elements borrowed from others and isn’t restrictive,” says Smeera, who drew inspiration from a Billie Eilish interview where the American singer-songwriter talked about her love for Thrifting.
The youngster, who studied at Modern High School For Girls, hosts online polls to gauge what kind of clothing her customers might be drawn to. From casual wear to party ensembles, the items are priced affordable, attracting customers from all over India. “What began as a part-time activity has now taught me a great deal about running an online business, handling customers and maintaining tight deadlines,” signs off Smeera.
How to Set Up Your Own Thrift Store
- You have to be brutally honest about the clothes that you sell and the condition that they are in. Highlight imperfections if any to avoid negative reviews.
- Post on a regular basis to reach a larger audience. Use hashtags and the latest Instagram features. Reels are a great way to promote and gain followers.
- A good picture is half the work done!
- Shipping costs will add to your profit margins as the clothes are often priced low.
- Don’t sell something that you wouldn’t buy or wear yourself. Unhygienic products are a big NO. Wash them before shipping to ensure it remains as new and fresh as possible.
- While selling never-worn items, keep the tags intact to maintain authenticity.
- Instagram is your best bet to promote and start this business.