As soon as I saw that Value Village PR and communications manager Sara Gaugl was carrying the same navy blue vintage Coach bag that I was, I knew we would hit it off. After the initial exclamations, we asked each other where we'd found our respective purses. Mine: $40 from an Etsy vintage vendor. Hers: $10 from Value Village. Quite the bargain considering the re-issued version of that same bag sells for about $300 brand new.
Hidden gems like mint condition Coach bags, Waldorf crystal vases, and odd teacups and saucers that complete an antique china set keep Value Village's devoted customers returning for more. "What is old for somebody is new for you," said Anny Leclerc, North American supply chain director for Value Village, who also outlined the appeal of thrift stores in a recession for those craving unique style on a budget. "There are authentic and high-quality pieces for any budget. With the economy today, people need to be more creative and define their own style." The 70s, 80s, and Mad Men-inspired 60s looks making a comeback in recent years can be had for a pittance if one has the patience to do a bit of digging. In fact, Gaugl and Leclerc put their money where their mouth was with a runway show at Eco Fashion Week this season, featuring on-trend looks put together only with clothes and accessories from Value Village.
But as Gaugl and Leclerc explained, thrifting does so much more good than just keep dollars in your pocketbook. Shopping secondhand is the original form of eco fashion. After all, every pre-owned piece of clothing that finds a new home is one less garment in the landfill. Plus, Value Village partners with non-profit organizations, who give their donated clothing and household items to stores to sell in exchange for much needed funds. (The Canadian Diabetes Association is Value Village's largest Canadian partner.) Charities and organizations have received over $1 billion from Value Village to date. Save money, save the earth, do good in your community--it's a win-win-win situation.
So do Gaugl and Leclerc have any tips for thrifting newbies? "Buy what you like, keep an open mind, and try everything on."
This post kicks off a week of Eco Fashion Week coverage. Enjoy!
P.S. Add a touch of green to your beauty routine by winning a prize pack from Weleda. But you better hurry up and enter: the giveaway closes this Friday.