Columbia’s resale scene gives locals more for their money

From downtown to online, Columbia-based businesses are full of designer steals and storied garments waiting to be discovered by those hoping to stretch their budget and shrink their impact.

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When it comes to finding great clothes at a low cost, Columbia is the place to be. Whatever the reason shoppers have for seeking deals, local shops and online stores that specialize in thrifted and consigned goods serve all.

For the bargain-hunter, The Wardrobe offers an inventory of donated goods. If you’re looking to hunt down high-end vintage gems, check out New Beginning Consignment Clothing. Even online stores, such as @rubythrifts on Instagram are popping up to accompany the growing popularity of resale shopping.

Perhaps the most common type of resale, thrifting, is offered at The Wardrobe. The store brings in only donated goods, allowing them to charge low prices for slightly used products. Beyond this benefit to customers is the satisfaction of supporting a local cause through their purchases.

“All of the money that we take in through selling the items that are donated goes to buy new school shoes for kids,” Evette Nissen, board chair and 10-year volunteer at The Wardrobe, said.

Columbia is also home to a few shops that have a set of standards for their inventory, ultimately offering designer products at a price even those on a student’s budget can afford.

“Whenever I’m describing what we take, I tell people we take current, classic and vintage,” New Beginning owner Stacie Allen said. “I like to have things that are timeless. You could wear it this year, or five years ago, or five years from now and nobody’s gonna point and laugh at you.”

Allen’s passion for thrifting started early and eventually led her to consignment, taking ownership of the shop in the fall of 2014. Since then, she has helped well-loved pieces find new owners that will appreciate them as much as the last.

“What we’re trying to do here is level the playing field for people,” Allen said. “Everybody should be able to afford nice stuff.”

For those not wanting to leave their couches to snag a deal, Instagram is teeming with opportunity. Freshman Riley Hill, brought her resale business to the social media platform in January hoping to earn money off of her thrifty finds. Since then, Hill estimates that her page @rubythrifts has gained almost 100 followers each month, which has raised awareness for often overlooked benefits of resale in the process.

“Fast-fashion, it’s really hurting the environment,” Hill said. “It takes thousands of gallons of water to make one T-shirt. If you can try to get just one T-shirt thrifted you’re saving so much.”

A highlights story on her page displays infographics about this issue, encouraging followers to reduce their environmental impact through purchasing second-hand clothes. Additionally, Hill worries about the negative impact fast-fashion has on workers in the textile industry.

“They’ll pay them wages that don’t even feed them,” Hill said. “Then you find cute Forever 21 clothes for like three dollars and you wonder why it’s so cheap. It’s because they’re exploiting workers.”

Bringing her business to college and including the Columbia community in sales gives Hill the opportunity to further spread her message and join the already rich resale scene in the area. Shopping second-hand continues to grow in popularity and reveal more payoffs, and shoppers in Columbia are not short on ways to join the fun.

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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