Shifting the Idea of What Thrift Shopping Means.
Last month I attended a Women's Circle/Vision Board Event organized by Latina Business Woman, Rosa, owner of Mott Haven Bar in the Bronx. I attended her last event in January. I remember before lockdown how we spoke about our goals for 2020. Then Covid hit the U.S. and we quarantined. A lot has happened since then. I was working from home, went back to work in June and then in July my company eliminated my department. I was no longer working at one of my favorite jobs in the world. I let it hit me for a weekend, then I got to work. I decided to go all in on my part time hustle. So when Rosa organized a Women's Circle in September to focus on ending the year strong, I decided to go with mask in tow.
She set up multiple tables, picture frames, magazines, art supplies and of course yummy food to munch on. I was there early to pick my spot in the room. I sat down as the beautiful Latina women I never met before walked through the door. There were two, however that I did meet in January and they were so sweet to sit with me even though they knew a lot of the other ladies. Rosa welcomed everyone and spoke about why she decided to do another women's circle the last quarter of the year. She asked us to introduce ourselves and share a bit of our business. Then we all began to work on our boards. When we were almost done, Rosa asked us to share what we created and why. Every single lady shared their business venture and their future goals. It was so great to hear what they have accomplished and their next steps. Before it was my turn I rushed to glue my pictures since I hadn't finished, I wanted to look a certain way. It was my turn and I commented how one of my visions is to continue to help women and remind them the it's not about being skinny but being healthy. All the ladies began saying, Yes! Then asked for my instagram, I shouted my handle and there was a burst of laughter...one of the ladies shouted... HealthFitAnal.... OH YAA... No!! That's not it. But the room was just rumbling with laughter. The ladies followed my actual account and then the event was over. I had to run somewhere else but I thanked them and was looking forward to see them again.
The next day I message all the ladies that followed my on insta and followed them back. These ladies had some great businesses. One in particular, the one that thought my screen name was anal (LOL), has a #vintageclothing business with her sister. I love vintage clothing, I remember as a teenager being so broke and going to vintage shops or second hand stores in Bushwick. I would search for cool clothes to match the magazines and trends. I would buy Levi's jeans for $1 or leather jackets for $5. I still vintage shop once in a while but $1 jeans are hard to come by. I scrolled through on their instagram, Shifty Thrifty and they had some great pieces. Later that week while on instagram, I saw their story about a private logo launch party. I made a comment and they sent me the address.
I went to their event in Spanish Harlem, the weather was perfect and the neighborhood was buzzing with salsa music on the corner. People had their masks on dancing on the sidewalk. I love seeing my community gather together and spread joy. My friend came with me and we walked into a brownstone towards the back yard. I saw Rosa! I adore her, I immediately said hello and we hung out during the event. The set up was like a runway and boutique. There was a table full of jewelry by another Latina designer, NLove Jewelry. Right in the middle was the red runway towards a "stage". There were clothing racks with curated pieces from their vintage collection. On the "stage" was a plinth with their new logo design and a vintage Louis Vuitton bag. They set up of fresh fruits, light bites and drinks for their guests. My friend, Rosa and I started looking at the racks. I saw a beautiful red kimono dress for $25. Alas, my booty was too big for it. They had a Ralph Lauren dress, All Saints Jeans, Coach purses, and more. Both hostesses approached me to inform me they were also going to have a runway show of some of their vintage collection. Absolutely brilliant!
The show began, once I saw the first look I knew I needed to have it. It was a beautiful red leather blazer with gold buttons. Then the next look, camo pants with a faux fur jacket, the next look was a tube fringed dress with a jean jacket. They styled a pink slip dress with an army jacket and pink Dooney & Burke purse. The last look was a really cool blue faux fur vest with stripped shirt and ripped jeans. The ladies walked out in their camo inspired shorts, bustier and blazer. One sister had on knee high boots and they other had 5 inch heels. They are so beautiful and started strutting their stuff down the runway. Once they went back, Rosa, my friend and I started saying what we wanted. I want the red blazer, Rosa wanted the entire blue faux fur look and army jacket. The ladies came out and we immediately screamed towards them. I want this, I want that! They brought out the pieces and I asked my friend to tell me the price on the tag since she grabbed it. She told me to just try it, I was worried. I put on the blazer and it was a perfect fit. Now will the price match this perfection. I took it off and before I turn the tag Rosa told me to just get it. I turned the tag, $65. What! Is this tag correct? It's real leather in mint condition. I didn't even think about it twice. This blazer is coming home with me. This was my first piece purchased right off the runway and I have to say it was worth every penny. There was a black tuxedo blazer that I saw earlier on the rack and my friend tried it on. I thought she was going to get it but she decided not to, I was kind of glad. I tried it on and it was the perfect fit. I never have blazers fit me this well. The blazer was $20, it was a huge bargain. It was in mint condition and I already have a look for it. I thought to myself, how on earth are these ladies finding these pieces and making a profit? I decided to ask them a few questions to find out more about them and their business.
Getting to know Malean & Tyan from Shifty Thifty
Chocolate, Shoes & Lingerie: Why did you decided to sell vintage clothing?
Shifty Thrify: Buying and wearing vintage clothes has always been something we've enjoyed because it brings a sense of nostalgia as we had these shopping experiences with our mother as little girls. Looking good and saving money is why we wear it. Being complimented on unique items and outfits throughout the years is what brought the idea of selling and showing others how to look good on a budget.
CSL: Who's idea was it?
ST: It was Malean.
CSL: How did you come up with the name?
ST: Tyan came up with the name. We were looking for a name that minimally described what we were trying to do. Shifting the idea of what thrift is and looks like.
CSL: How is it working with your sister?
ST: With the age gap being so small we have been sharing fashion tips and clothes our whole life. So this actually comes as second nature to us.
CSL: How long have you been doing this?
ST: We've been thrifting our whole lives and decided to go into business a year ago selling on Poshmark. Officially made ourselves a LLC September of 2020.
CSL: Do you seek out specific pieces?
ST: Yes we do, We tend to look for pieces that are in season, on trend , versatile , and unique. Unless we are personally shopping for a client then we are looking for their specifics. Price, color, look, and size .
CSL: Where do you sell your vintage collection?
ST: We are currently selling on Poshmark, Mercari, Instagram, and Pop-up shops. We will be working on our own website once we have created a following.
CSL: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourselves or business?
ST: Growing up with a single mom with 3 kids looking trendy and fashionable on a budget went from being mandatory to our preferred option. We have a genuine passion about shopping, fashion, finding deals and introducing people to repurposed pieces. Feeling confident in what you wear and how much you spend is a common concern for many, we would like to think we are helping bridge that gap.
These powerhouse #Boricua sisters created a business from what was once a necessity for them and now are thriving. They create looks that are in trend, #ecofriendly and show women that you can be fashionable on a budget. I love their business model! Here's another inside scoop on these lovely sisters, they carry designer items too and sometimes will raffle off a bag. They currently have the canvas Louis Vuitton that was on "stage" for $20 a ticket. It may be once in a lifetime to win a authentic Louis Vuitton, but you know if you won you would be jumping for joy and showing it off. That certainly is a deal of a lifetime. Shifty Thrifty is making thrift shopping look like an art form. They are reimagining the way we look at fashion from their curated pieces to the price tags. Go check them out on their social channels, you might just find the perfect piece for your closet at a great price and don't forget to buy your raffle ticket.