Thrifting is becoming more popular recently. Although people have been reusing and repurposing old, even worn-out items since a long time ago, buying used items used to carry a negative stigma.
Currently, however, the resale industry is worth multi-billion dollars a year, according to the Association of Resale Professionals, involving around 20,000 shops across the U.S.
Among young people, thrift shops have also garnered more attention. This shows that people’s perception toward thrifting and reusing goods have shifted. They have seen that there are benefits of thrift shopping.
In this article, we are pointing out some of the reasons why young people are getting into thrifting and thrift shops despite the negative stigma that it used to carry.
What is thrifting?
The word thrift is hundreds of years old, with its origin dating back to the 1300s, denoting the fact or condition of thriving as well as prosperity and savings.
In a more modern and popular sense, the word thrift or thrift store usually means a store that sells used clothing or other items. The word thrifting, on the other hand, refers the activity of visiting thrift shops, often with friends, with the hope of buying unique or vintage items at lower prices.
Thrifting throughout history
Although people have been reusing and repurposing items for millennia, the popularity of buying secondhand items began to spread around the 19th century.
During the height of the industrial revolution, population started to increase, and people began living in smaller spaces. Inevitably, they had to throw away some of their possessions for more comfort.
Additionally, with people starting to mass produce clothing, clothes started to be seen as disposable. Pawn shops and scrap materials sprung and gave way to repurposing these disposed materials.
Although initially not everyone was crazy about using things that previously belonged to someone else, many religious organizations then began to see thrifting as a way to raise money for their cause.
Christian ministries and organizations started collecting used items to be sold or donated. Some even employ the poor and people with disabilities to collect the used goods and do the necessary repairs.
Thrift stores were popular among immigrants as a place to get clothing and other items to get them more “Americanized” without having to spend a lot of money.
During harsh times like the Great Depression and World War II, the demand for used items soared as people had no money to buy brand new clothes and other items. However, thanks to the post-war economic development, thrift stores began to boom as people began to buy items with better materials.
In the following decades, such as the 80’s and the 90’s, using secondhand items was seen as a form of rebellion against the establishment, especially during the emergence of the grunge movement.
To date, despite the fluctuating popularity of the thrifting culture, thrift shops have been part of a USD 14.4 billion industry, and it will likely continue to be popular in the future.
Why does thrifting become popular among millennials and Gen-Z?
In recent years, thrifting has gained popularity among millennials people born between 1981 and 1996, known as the millennials, as well as people born between 1997-2012, known as Gen Z.
Why are young people so eager to participate in the thrifting culture? Taken from various sources, below are the reasons why the millennials and Gen Z are interested in thrifting:
An obvious reason why many millennials and Gen-Z like thrifting is because thrift shops offer quality items at lower prices. For the young adults who are still making their way to financial freedom, thrift shops are a good place to buy clothing and other items without having to spend too much.
Environmentally friendly and sustainable
The issue of sustainability and environmental preservation has also garnered significant following from the youth. Because industries take many resources like water and energy to manufacture their products, thrift shops become a choice for the environmentally friendly young people for them to get the items they need.
Besides, reusing and repurposing old things also means that fewer items are getting destined for the landfill. For this reason, thrifting is a great way of reducing the volume of the waste that we produce in the midst of rampant consumerism.
Another reason why thrifting is good for the environment is because repurposing old items helps cut the amount of pollution that is often the byproduct of industries.
Many religious and charity organizations also open thrift shops to support their activities and causes. They open opportunities for people to donate their unused items and sell these items at a low price.
Hence, many people are willing to shop in thrift, often not-for-profit shops because they want to take part in supporting causes or campaigns that resonate with them.
Thrifting gives a chance for creative young minds to discover their own style by mixing and matching their apparel. With only a little money, they can also develop their creativity by making crafts out of items that most people might consider nothing of use.
Making money selling used items, why not?
If you plan to get rid of some of your personal items, why not open your own shop? With many people now buying and selling online, all you need to do to open your own thrift shop is just social media and e-commerce merchant accounts.
Make sure that you sell only quality products that you have personally maintained well. To attract your potential customers, why don’t you ask help from your relatives or friends who can take excellent product photographs and videos?
This way, you can easily make money out of your own personal items.
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