For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to shop. Expressing myself through style and hunting for something special brings me so much joy. When I was a kid, my Mom and I would hit the local secondhand clothing store and spend hours going through the racks of clothes, looking for a score. I remember feeling some embarrassment around wearing secondhand and homemade clothing, but looking back, I now appreciate this about my childhood. As a teen, I raided my Mom’s old Levi collection and found a bunch of my Grandpa’s old sweaters that I loved to wear.
As an adult I entered the professional world and got to a point where I was able to purchase whatever new clothing I wanted. And I did. I loved Nordstrom, Anthropologie and The LOFT. I would relive my days hunting for deals at stores like Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. Before too long, I accumulated a huge wardrobe that I wore with pride. I’ve always received compliments on my style and I am proud of how I express myself through this medium.
About a decade ago I started to feel unsettled about the crazy amount of clothing and shoes I owned. I realized I had more than I needed and I didn’t like wearing many of my pieces, even though they had been expensive or were from a great brand. I started to think about living with less. The minimalism and capsule wardrobe movement really appealed to me.
In 2016 I joined Poshmark and began reselling my clothing. I found a lot of success in this and enjoyed styling and photographing my clothing, creating a listing, and then wrapping items up in cute packaging when something sold. I imagined my buyer receiving their package, delighted with the experience of unwrapping their new item and the excellent condition of the clothing item they purchased. It was fun and it made getting rid of clothing I no longer wore much easier.
A few years later, I started my jewelry business and found a new creative outlet in making jewelry. The same process of styling, photographing and listing the jewelry I made delighted me, and I loved interacting with customers and sending them something special in the mail. I continued selling my own clothing on Poshmark and enjoyed purchasing gently used clothing from other sellers on the platform. I felt good about buying secondhand. I started renting clothing through Rent the Runway and other subscription services to cut back on new clothing purchases. It worked! I finally found a way to enjoy the thrill of shopping, trying new clothing, and thinking my impact was less.
During this time, I began to research and learn about how garments are made and the impact that fashion has on our environment. I’ve learned it’s not good. Making one piece of clothing can involve using thousands of liters of water, chemicals and materials that harm the environment. The person making the garment typically works in a factory across the world, in poor working conditions and for not much money. I downloaded apps like Good On You to learn more about the brands I enjoyed and researched new options upon learning about the lack of sustainability or labor standards.
I’ve continued to cut back on how many new items I buy, care for the clothing I own so it lasts for a long time, buy secondhand, and source new pieces from sustainable brands or local garment makers. I am discontinuing my rental subscriptions after learning that this practice is not the sustainable option I thought it was.
I have spent a lot of effort to educate myself and learn, and I’ve only scratched the surface. The biggest way we as consumers can impact the effect that fashion has on our planet and people is to buy less. But, I also believe that thoughtfully buying secondhand is the way of the future.
Buying secondhand takes a lot more effort than shopping at a retailer with tons of options. If you are style-conscious like I am, and you have something specific in mind, it can take days, weeks or months to find the right item.
Which brings me to the next phase of my business, HolderIndustries. I am launching a second hand reselling business on my website and in my Etsy shop, focusing on vintage clothing, accessories and jewelry – you should check it out! And I will continue to create and curate handmade jewelry and other accessories. I am a creative person who loves to hunt for and curate special items. And I am excited to provide this service to my customers.
I am still learning, so join me on this journey to become a more conscious consumer. You can follow me on Instagram.