HOW THE SOLUTION CAME TO BE
Hi, I’m Yen Nguyen and I have always been obsessed about clothing and everything related ever since I was a kid. I would sew Barbie clothes out of socks and take everything out of my mom’s closet to play dress up. Years went by and my love for fashion got bigger. I see clothing as a form of arts, emotions and confidence. Now that I’m a full-time college student and a fashion enthusiast, I find myself in a constant struggle to find trendy, expressive pieces of clothing that are affordable. Fast fashion products line up perfectly with my criteria. But as I have learned throughout research and experience, the fashion industry is the 2nd biggest polluter in the world (only after the oil industry) and more often than not, it’s about the looks but not the quality. Especially with fast fashion, in order to be able to meet the huge and ever-changing demand, it produces tons of industrial wastes and pays workers poorly. That’s the reason why I set out to find the solution to this specific wicked problem, so that people who are passionate about fashion yet are, or soon-to-be aware of what impacts this fashion industry has on the world, can be fully content with their purchases.
I came up with the idea for “Thrift&Flip” since I found out that not only do I face this problem everyday but also my friends.. Thrift&Flip is an online business that sells 2nd -hand clothing carefully curated and customized to meet with runway trends yet still affordable enough for the age between 15-30. The garments are carefully selected by us and then if needed, transformed/amended into unique pieces. With our business, we will help solve the enormous amount of disposed clothing and create another cycle for each and every one of them. Besides than that, our business will be completely transparent about our curating process and make sure that every employee is paid fairly and provided with employee benefits. We hope that we can change the perspectives of others about thrifting culture, bring up the standards for 2nd-hand clothing quality, and most importantly raise awareness about the adverse impacts the fashion industry has on the environment.
Each item will either be purchased from a traditional thrift store by us or collected in the form of donation. With each donation, you will receive credits for a future purchase. The item will then be cleaned, redesigned/tailored and then posted on our website.
Startup cost: Roughly $1000
- Equipment (Sewing machine, packaging): $150
- Website: $20/month
- Marketing (Facebook ads, Instagram ads): $100/month
- Inventory (clothes, sewing kits): $200
- Incorporation fees: Under $300
- Payroll: $200-$400
- Shipping, taxes: Variable
- Administrative/Accounting/Marketing Assistant
Major circumstantial obstacles: None
HOW MY BUSINESS CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEM
- Atlanta, the home of almost 30 universities and colleges, is a hotspot of students that use fashion as a way to express themselves daily. As these college students are always on the hunt for trendy apparel while still balancing their personal finances, Thrift&Flip will solve their problems immediately with affordable, trendy and good-quality vintage clothing items.
- Since most of the thrift stores in Atlanta are large, saturated conventional stores like Goodwill, Value Village, Salvation Army, Thrift&Flip will offer more specific clothing styles that cater to our younger customers. In addition, our website will enable customers to get a better and more organized look at our range of products, while it takes a lot more time and effort to browse through the clothing racks of even the more selected thrift stores like Rag-O-Rama or Plato’s Closet.
- Once the vintage clothing item is acquired by us, it will be cleaned and redesigned/amended (if needed). Therefore, only sewing tools and washing tools are needed. For our website, we will choose Squarespace (Business Plan) with built-in features that helps the website run like an online store.
- To have all the ideas brainstormed, decisions finalized, inventory adequately-stocked, it should only take 1-2 months to launch Thrift&Flip.
PLAN FOR FURTHER ACTION
- One of the pitfalls that Thrift&Flip might encounter is not creating enough sales due to the inadequate customer base and weak marketing that does not reach that many people. Another reason to not creating enough sales might be people’s hesitance to buy 2nd-clothing.
- Our aim to encourage customers to purchase ethic and more sustainable fashion definitely sets Thrift&Flip apart from other fashion businesses. With uniquely curated pieces, no customer will have the same piece as another customer. Each piece will have its own story and customers will have a more self-engaging purchasing experience.
- The startup capital will mostly be personal funds and investment from the team members. As soon as marketing products are finalized, Thrif&Flip will launch a crowdfunding campaign, so we can attract donations from people whose values and beliefs upon an ethic, sustainable fashion business aligns with ours.
- My role as an entrepreneur in the business:
- Leader and figurehead: Developing branding, networking, setting the tone for the startup’s work environment, overseeing operational and managerial activities
- Visionary: Generating ideas for products and service improvement as well as product-designing
- Decider: Making decisions on financial, marketing and legal issues
- Customer service representative
- Human resources manager
- Skills I need to learn: Handling legal issues (before the launch), Collaborating with magazines or influencers to expand our platform (during the expansion of business), Budgeting (before the launch), Cyber security (before and during the business operation)