Browse Category: Shopping

Consignment Flips

To follow up all the goodies I found on my Value Village half price day in Ottawa that I show in this video I wanted to show you the reality of flipping second hand goods. Its a gamble… like I’ve said a million times. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Rieker Shoes:
Retails for $145 – I paid $5 – Consigned for $40
I received $24 for a total of $19 profit.

Grey furry dress by Orange:
Retails for $120 – I paid $7.50 – Consigned for $40
I received $24 for a total of $16.50 profit.

Black & White Cardigan by TopShop:
Retails for $65 – I paid $6.50 – Consigned for $30
I received $18 for a total of $11.50 profit.

Magenta Cardigan by 89th & Madison:
Retails for $60 – I paid $4 – Consigned for $25
I received $15 for a total of $11 profit.
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Elka Three

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I would like to talk a little bit about my awkward excursion to Value Village last week where I discovered this enchanting work of art, a print if you will by Michelle Armas. I was actually looking for boots which I discovered (see my post Boot Lust) when across the store I could see this fascinating not to mention huge piece of art along the back wall. All of my favourite colours pulled me in from afar. I managed to get this 48×36 frame down off the wall to my delight it was only $24.99… naturally I had a coupon too so less than $20 by the end of it.

Getting it into my new car was a feat I must say. The Tucson was certainly the most spacious ride I had for thrifting, it made my life easy. Now the Civic Si shows off my bold personality but does not compare in regards to trunk room! Sports cars not good for large scale thrift adventures! I managed to wedge the frame into the trunk and slowly made my way about 2 minutes down the road to work to unload. Once inside I was able to look at it closer and found a sticker on the back of the frame with Michelle’s logo and Etsy website.

After scrolling through the most beautiful artwork on her page I came across “Elka Three Print” for $60. This beautiful print was wrapped on a wood frame and now waits in my hallway for the perfect wall to display her.

You can order online from Etsy!

Boot Lust

14615851_970463813083424_4587667630100396654_oAny clothing lover like myself gets beyond excited when they come across a great pair of boots. Recently I have stumbled into three pairs of amazing boots, unique in their own way. Now in the summer I caved and spent considerable money on new Fly Londons, which are great and all but very heavy on my feet and unfortunately don’t allow me to stand the 9 hours I need to without feeling sore. I think that’s just the reality of retail, no one shoe can be comfortable for that long.

I accepted two pairs of worn boots for consignment last week because they were my size, normally they’d be too worn to sell but considering they’d be coming home with me and I will love them regardless! One pair is a brand called MAG which is not really known in Kingston, that has really unique footwear. We’ve had this brand at the store before and it hasn’t really caught on, but this particular pair I thought was really unique and had the laces I require to fit my muscular calves.

14691311_971299892999816_6497213829281078253_oAlthough my tiny feet require several insoles and thick socks to pull them off comfortably, I feel like these bad boys could be a nice addition to my fall wardrobe. The other pair were dark plum coloured Fly London boots which I took home as they were in need of major love. Seeing as I had spent serious cash on the shoe version months prior I thought it’d be worth it to give these taller boots a good home. There is some serious distressing going on around the toe and ankle areas (the previous owner was rough on her boots!) but I thought maybe one day I’d find a polish to touch them up. I also couldn’t get them done up at the back, so I opened them up down the seam and inserted black elastic so they would fit over my calves. Surprisingly it worked out quite well! I will need to find new laces as the ones they came with are too small based on the size I had to expand to.

The third pair of boots I found recently were at Value Village, where lately everything is priced at $15.99 for no apparent reason… these western ankle boots by Lucky Brand however are worth considerably more. I honestly didn’t expect them to be comfortable but they really are.

 

 

Ottawa Thrift Trip

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I have skipped plenty of Value Village half price weekends this year as sometimes thrifting loses its thrill when the price points start creeping up and I don’t see the value in it. Last weekend I decided to spontaneously treat myself to a morning away (as in a two hour drive) to Ottawa to hit up the Value Village circuit for the Super Saver’s half price day. I like to be there for 10:00am when it opens that way I can get a cart and the clothing isn’t absolutely everywhere as per my second stop an hour later.

ottawa3 By the time I get in there are already women rummaging through every row so I get in line as it were and start the plunge. I thrift to resell far easier than I thrift for myself. I know at this stage of the game what will sell the fastest and what the women in Kingston are looking for. Mainly tops, bright prints and clean lines. I spent $180 in the first location I stopped at, which is over $300 in product, roughly $3 per item! The most expensive item I bought was $20, so I paid $10… I flipped this wonderful item at the store within two days to bring home a $40 profit!

I was hoping to turn a profit on a Kathy van Zeeland bag I found for $6… unfortunately even after examining it I realize the shiny finish was completely peeling away. Can’t imagine how I would have missed it in the store as I comb through everything after discovering these items. Sadly not much you can do but shrug your shoulders and toss it.

I have two favourite finds at the end of this haul: a nameless white lace long sleeved mini dress and a vibrant neon print dress by Sandra Angelozzi. I paid $3 for the white number and wore it the next day, I had not expected it to even remotely fit but my gosh its a beauty!

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The neon print dress the cashier commented on how she loved it but donated it because the top was too gappy on her – it was on me too always is! So in the early hours of the morning before work I took it up in the shoulders as I so often do and it fits like a dream. After wearing it over the course of a regular busy work day I discovered it is not so good for bending!! I checked out the brand online and Sandra Angelozzi dresses range in the upwards of $200 ballpark! Not bad for $6!


Resistance and the Art of Not Shopping

How surreal it is to be writing a blog about the art of not shopping, being that I am an avid thrift shopper. We’ve read a million times that we need to be a less wasteful society, big on recycling, protesting against fast fashion and converting to efficient methods in our daily lives. I recently read Patrice’s blog post How Taking a Shopping Hiatus Can Lead to a Better Wardrobe and reflected on my own shopping habits and style. When you stop and think, you know what you wear regularly, what is a staple in your wardrobe and an idea of what your “style” might be.

gotooutfit I have never felt that I have a particular style, I just like things, I buy – I try it out. Patrice talks about her “go to uniform” and I started wondering what mine would be. A lot of women I’ve noticed recently, have a “go-to” that is leggings and a long tunic. I have never found leggings to be comfortable and I don’t find long tunics to be particularly flattering on my figure so that’s definitely out for me. But I do think high waist skirts and tucked in blouses are one I repeat often. I love my skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, big bold jewellery and a layered look. I have started the process of moving, with the intention of buying my first home so I am packing up off-season clothing and starting to take a closer look at my current closet. With my situation I am deciding if things are better to be sold, donated or brought with me.
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How Consignment Works

I am often asked about how I can afford to thrift as much as I do, they suggest my wardrobe is massive and bursting at the seams. I buy a lot of clothes, that we will admit up front. But I am buying clothing at a fraction of the retail price so you need to change your way of calculating. I only buy secondhand knowing that I get bored of things and change my style frequently. I also have the ability to open up my closet on any given day and pull out a ton of pieces that are not screaming my name.

Most people are not able to be this brutal as most people think of how much they spent and have an emotional attachment to things. The most emotional attachment I have ever felt with clothing is my inability to wear it after experiencing something traumatic or unpleasant in that outfit. For instance if someone broke your heart and the red dress was their favourite, you’re not likely going to want to wear it again because it will remind you. I have had a few items that have been tainted by experience so I need to remove them from my closet.

Don’t get me wrong I do donate a lot of items, but many items are still in great condition and worthy of generating extra cash. In working at a consignment store I know exactly what to look for and what will sell to our clientele. Each store has its own processes and requirements, so I can only speak to our way of doing things. Let me tell you a little bit about how consignment works.

Lightly worn items are brought into the store clean, pressed and ready to go on hangers. These are items that are in style, in season and purchased within the last two years. My job is to analyze each item that is brought in to decide if it is suitable for resale, quality and if we would potentially have a buyer for it. Once I decide to keep an item I change it over to our hangers and double check that there are no stains, rips or flaws. Once I have processed all the items I return the hangers along with any “no thank yous”. Continue Reading

Tips for Thrift Shopping


If you cannot view the video above, please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwYxutG-jJg

The number one question a thrift-lover is asked on a regular basis is: “How do you ever find anything?!” The thing about thrifters is we don’t see these shops as gross, we look past the scent lingering in the air from unwashed clothing, we see the limitless potential in every piece we see. The fun is in the search, the reward is discovering that magical piece whether its clothing, home decor or furniture. In these stores it is all one of a kind and to me, that’s something special.

I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos and read plenty of blogs regarding the do’s and don’ts of thrift shopping. They all have similar points but a few I would disagree with based on how I go about it.

Try it on or wear your thrifting uniform

I used to load up a cart with items that looked like they would fit, I was pretty certain I was about this size and if not well I didn’t spend much so it’s okay. Its this attitude that gets you spending and wasting. More recently I have been taking the time to try things on, even if its just over top of my clothing. Now I don’t have a thrifting uniform (leggings, tank top as your base layers with easy to slip off shoes) I just go after work so whatever I’m wearing is how it is. Granted, this doesn’t make it easy usually for trying things on – so I have to really love it before I go through the effort in the change room.

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Affordable Jewellery

jewelleryebay I know my claim to fame is thrift and all things second hand, but on the rare occasion, sometimes finding a bargain can be found in “real” stores, or in this case online. I am above all else bound by a budgeted lifestyle.

I go a few months forgetting all about the wonders of eBay. It can be wonderful and deadly at the same time. If you are looking for bright statement jewellery for a fraction of the retail price you might as well go direct to the source and skip the middle man. When using eBay, you can set your search parametres so that you can’t accidentally agree to pay a price you are not comfortable with.

My search criteria is strictly based on price and free shipping. I absolutely will not pay for shipping (there are thousands of sellers overseas that offer free shipping to Canada) as Canadian shipping is completely outrageous. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever tried to ship something here or order from a Canadian retailer. My maximum price range is anywhere from $3 to $5. To be safe I set it at $4 usually and click my free shipping.

The next thing I do is change the sort feature to show me only items ending soon as I for one, want to know my odds of winning an auction. Yes you can “Buy It Now” but a lot of times you can get it cheaper if you chance it on an auction. I don’t necessarily win them all as a neat necklace might start at .99 cents but climb to $8. To me that isn’t worth it. I put my maximum bid at whatever I feel it is worth and am willing to pay.

Now looking at this image I had posted on Instagram, I asked my followers what piece they thought was most expensive and least expensive. There is a bangle in there that is 925 silver stamped… but believe it or not the most expensive piece was the silver rhinestone bracelet for $5 and the black triangle necklace for .99 cents. The rest were roughly between $1.50 and $3.

March Thrifting Trip

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The beauty of being just a two hour drive from a major city is a lot more options for a half price day shopping excursion! This time I was accompanied by my mother (and assistant photographer!) Value Village’s half price sale was this past Monday and what a gorgeous day for it! Sunshine, clear dry roads and not too many traffic complaints. Save for the occasional: “What the hell is this guy doing?!” remark.

This trip was more focused on finding new spring product for the Store rather than my own interests but I did find a couple real gems including these amazing ankle boots! I am not able to read the label on them but you’d be surprised how comfortable they are. I think my smile doubled in size when I saw that they were a 6! Can you believe these were only $5?!

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All they needed was a little TLC, easily achieved by painting up the toes to make them crisp and new! Now I’m very excited for warmer weather so I can wear them around!

February Faves

februaryfaves2015 February is a difficult month in Canada, hence the nickname: the winter blues. Freezing temperatures, high utility bills and dark dreary days. Fortunately there is no law against dressing in such a way that it combats the grey blah’s that winter brings.

This month’s favourite looks were a very similar setup with decorative scarves, bold jewellery and lots of layering. Little jackets or cardigans combined with my Cougar boots and wrapping my neck with a scarf I was able to keep warm yet stylish.

January 50% Sale

week2-thriftchallengeI had to readjust my parameters for the challenge after I received an email from Value Village notifying me of the upcoming 50% off day. I hadn’t remembered that half price sales can be either Sunday or Monday. But with that as the only exception I think I am doing very well sticking to my plan.

I made a plan Sunday morning to make half price sales fit into my budget scheme better – going the day before the sale and inspecting items that I liked, trying on shoes and boots, checking for flaws and debating the price… with no intention to buy that day. I photographed five things that day that I would consider coming back for. Part two of my plan was to not going before work in the morning at 9:00am but rather wait until after my yoga class that night which would put me at Value Village an hour before closing time.

My assumption was that there would be a lot picked over during the day, not huge crowds and likely I would have less to tempt me. Sure enough only one of the five items was still there and I debated it once again. I ended up taking it home because it was a neutral blouse, and I can’t leave mint behind! I spent a grand total of $5.65 instead of the likely $20+

Yes it is only week two but I have resisted the temptation to go thrifting by replacing it with yoga classes after work! Not a bad way to start off a new year don’t you think?

New Years Resolutions

As another year comes to an end we begin to reflect on how the last twelve months have flown by and all the things we did or did not accomplish. Although I did not walk along the shores of PEI, I did feel the sand of Cayo Coco, Cuba warm between my toes and the scorching heat of Cairns, Australia on my face. I am fortunate to have budgeted as well as I did to be able to take these adventures and it certainly shows that the effort can really pay off in the end.
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