Tips For Thrift Store Owners

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I don’t know if there are any thrift store owners or employees that read my little ol’ blog, but just in case I decided to do a post on what I think makes a thrift store really work!

Of course the selection of merchandise will vary from store to store, so this article is more about the aesthetic and customer service aspects of a store. Thrifting is as good an opportunity as any to build a relationship between the customer and the employee to encourage the former to return again and again.

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Tip #1: Make sure that your store doesn’t smell. We are all familiar with that Salvation Army back-room-smell by now, and it’s a big turnoff for smaller stores that don’t enjoy as big a customer base. Some people are really sensitive to artificial smells, so consider a gentle artificial air freshener scent such as fresh linen or cotton. On nice days, open the doors to get fresh air circulating, which will also encourage people to come inside once they get a glimpse of your pretty racks!



Tip #2: Organization and cleanliness are key. There is nothing more important than a well-organized thrift store – how many times have you avoided a rack entirely just because there’s so many hangers jammed on that it’s impossible to sift through? Choose only the most relevant items to put out – organized by size or color- and rotate from the back stock to avoid clutter. If you have higher-end goods in a glass case, make the price tags visible. People are less likely to wait in a line just to ask how much something is. As for cleanliness, I like these tips.


Tip #3: Friendly staff is a must. This should be obvious, but “bad” customer service doesn’t always mean that employees say rude things to customers. It can also mean blank stares, lack of greeting, and general unfriendly expressions. Hire employees that love the thrift culture and their attitudes will reflect that!

Tip #4: Try setting up a new section such as a vintage area or a case of new/unopened cosmetics. Is there a college nearby? Offer apparel (like hoodies and scarves) or housewares (such as toasters) that students need. This can set you apart from other shops and bring in a different set of clientele. The more variety you offer, the more time people will spend checking out your store.


Tip #5: Discounts are a shining beacon, especially in a consignment store. Military Mondays, Student Saturdays, Teenager Thursdays…get creative and also consider offering a stamp card or frequent buyer similar system for your regulars. Second Time Around has a great points program if you need inspiration.

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Above all, treat your customers with love and respect. They’ll spread the word about the best thrift store in town: yours!

I’d love to hear about what you love/hate to see when shopping in a thrift store, or what you wish someone would do in your favorite thrift store!


Bill Cunningham’s ‘Facades’

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I was reading an article in the New York Times about Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for The NYT. Known for his candid and street photography, he’s sort of the original HONY. A new exhibit of his called “Bill Cunningham: Facades” is on view at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, from March 14th through June 15th.


I fell in love with some of the photographs, and the coolest part is that all of the outfits are thrifted!


“Starting in 1968 and continuing through the mid-1970s, Cunningham undertook a particularly involved project to document Manhattan’s architectural and fashion history. His partner in crime: the photographer and iconic New York figure Editta Sherman, a.k.a. the “Duchess of Carnegie Hall,” whom Cunningham once described as “the kind of woman who performed ‘The Dying Swan’ as a hobby.”

Together, they combed thrift stores, eventually amassing a collection of more than 500 vintage ensembles. Cunningham would then photograph the looks on Sherman (and other models) in front of architecturally significant New York buildings, each from the same era as its accompanying outfit.”


How elegant is Ms. Sherman?


Photos are from the New York Times.

Here are the two articles. Enjoy!

A History of New York Fashion and Architecture, Through Bill Cunningham’s Lens

Landmarks of Fashion Bill  – Cunningham’s ‘Facades’: The Book as Exhibition

It’s a Spring Thing: Pattern Play


I realized that my mood has been rather blah lately, and I think it’s attributed to my outfits: in the winter, I tend to gravitate towards solid clothing in shades of gray, white, and black.

Most days I’m too cold and exhausted to piece together anything pretty, but that’s about to change with the weather. Time to bust out the florals and other fun patterns!

Thrift Sense:

Comb your closet for winter patterns – it’s easy to transition into spring style with the right accessories. I like these tips here. Consider investing in a few new patterns, but things you already own can work too!

Below are my picks for some new fun stuff.

Fantastic 5: AZ, NY, FL, MA, PA


Fantastic 5 is a regular post featuring my reviews of five thrift and/or consignment stores all over the US! I’ve visited each and every one, and I’m excited to share my thoughts (and steals) with fellow thrifters. If you’ve been to any of the stores I mention, please do leave a comment and I’ll be happy to add your experiences to the index! Here are today’s 5.

1. A Second Look in Phoenix, AZ


Found cute blue leather gloves for around $8! This store is HUGE and you need a lot of patience if you plan on browsing the whole thing, so keep that in mind.

2. The Salvation Army in Binghamton, NY


Best find: A new, fur-lined black waterproof anorak jacket for $4 that has become a staple in my fall and spring wardrobes. This is the thrift store of all thrift stores. It’s huge and brightly lit, with racks beyond racks of dirt-cheap clothing. Here you will find your perfect grunge army jacket with some cool sewn patches that are nearly falling off. The Salvation Armani, as I like to call it, never lets down those who are willing to spend several hours of their life in a trove that doesn’t necessarily present its treasures immediately. Be warned.

3. Red Balloon Consignment Shop in West Palm Beach, FL

The salespeople at the other location (I’ll write about it in a future post) are much nicer and they barely paid attention to us here, but this store makes the list for its selection – I found a really nice Michael Kors dress for $10.

4. The Goodwill Store in Roxbury, MA


Awesome store. This is where everyone dumps their (still quality) stuff when the consignment stores won’t take it.

5. Finders Keepers in Honesdale, PA


I found a great pair of dark-mustard-colored Paige jeans for $19 and a stormy gray Velvet blouse for $14. Velvet is one of my favorite brands so this was a great trip.

Foolproof Spring Formulas


We’re busy people. We’ve got work to do, places to go and people to see. There are spring days when you just want to doze in bed while the sun lazily peeks through your blinds and a gentle spring breeze tickles you through the slightly cracked window. Five more minutes, then ten, then…

Oh, snap! You’ve stayed in bed for far too long and chipped into valuable outfit preparation time. Here’s a list of classy winning combinations that require no brainpower. Zzzzz.

striped top + skinny khakis + ballet flats:


pastel cords + peplum top + beige pumps:


solid dress + skinny belt + leopard shoes:


What are your spring outfit go-tos?

What I Wore: Winter Roundup (Instagram)


I think we’re all ready for spring and its accompanying flings, but I do feel a teensy bit guilty for hating on Old Man Winter all the time. Here’s a compilation of some outfits I wore this winter, and proof that I do occasionally have a good time despite the freeze. You can find my instagram here for more!

Until the daffodils bloom…


Holiday Cheer

Collective Concepts // J. Crew // Whiting and Davis // Kate Spade

full post here


New Year’s Eve

Austin Reed // Nasty Gal // Pretty Polly // Madewell



Zara // French Connection // Zara // LeSportsac // Sperry Top-Sider

full post here


School Girl

Banana Republic // Cynthia Rowley // Pretty Polly // Me Too

full post here


Valentine’s Day

Banana Republic // Sutton Studio // Moschino // AG Denim



Zara // J. Crew // Zara // Me Too