Are resellers profiting from low income communities?by Alexis Cuff
Let’s talk. There is much debate about whether or not thrifters/resellers are profiting from low income communities…and a lot of people are unhappy about this kind of business. What was once looked at as shameful has now flipped into a billion dollar industry. I’ve read stories of people being embarrassed because their parents had to shop at places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill but this doesn’t have to be the case now. The gentrification in your low income communities has forced your local thrift shops to increase their prices. Here are a few common issues that I want to address.
First, the misconception that there aren’t “enough” clothes to go around. Please explain to me why there aren’t enough clothes as we continue to dump our clothes overseas? Of course, when we donate our clothes, even the ones that are only worn once, we want to assume that we are donating with the best intentions that they make it to people in need. We give to our local charities, churches, thrift shops, and to random strangers on the street. Yes, we want to feel like we’re doing the right thing because we have heard the expression of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” a thousand times. But that’s the problem. One man’s trash may still be another man trash. inherits majority of our exported goods, but has anyone thought about the stress and harm that is placed on others globally? Their reselling business is no different than anyone else’s. You search for the best looking clothes, mend and refashion if necessary, and resell. If it doesn’t look good or poorly made, it is either sent somewhere else or unfortunately, discarded in a rotting, putrid mountain. Someone might even wonder what would make a person want to discard pefectly good clothes.
Second, the resellers are pricing their clothes 3 times too high. I get it and they want to make a sale…but that’s their business. When I started thrifting about 5 years ago, I was convinced that nearly everything I wanted and needed I could get secondhand…but I’m a frugal shopper. I have seen resellers on Depop that priced the most ordinary clothes for 3 times what their worth and are truly convinced that their prices are fair and if customers want it bad enough, they will buy it. , companies such as ThredUp, Poshmark, and The RealReal are expected to more than double their profits from $24 billion in 2018 to $51 billion in 2023. As an entrepreneur reseller, my brand is to collect preloved garments that everyone can afford. It doesn’t matter where you come from and if you can only afford clothes for less than $20 or choose to splurge $100. You will see a collection of vintage, modern, new and used threads that anyone can appreciate. There is no point in time different from the next when we see people sacrificing their hard earned money for the sake of fitting it. I can understand that your favorite resale shops are trying to keep up with the rapid fashion change, but we have to be realistic. What you bought 10 years ago at Goodwill for $1 may now cost you $7. No what? If you aren’t satisfied with their prices there are many more affordable places to shop. I can’t say that the vintage Gucci bag from 20 years ago is going to be worth more today..because I don’t sell Gucci.
Let’s look at thrifting and reselling differently this time. Yes, reselling is a good hustle. Each thrifter has their own story. It is the bridge that helps them make their financial ends meet, a paid hobby, an adventure, and the beginning to something great. No, it’s not promised the world will be a better place if we all choose to shop secondhand and we will still have to face the issues with fast fashion. Just like we support big fashion brands, let’s continue to support the vision of resellers as well.
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