Friday, September 14, 2012

The Art of Thrifting

Thrifting is the art of hunting good finds with a lesser budget. It can be pre-owned, factory defect/overruns or unsold items. There are lots of things that you can thrift : clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, furniture, books, gadgets, appliances and a lot more. 

Photo from Google
Here in the Philippines, thrift stores are called ukay-ukay (uhkai-uhkai) or ukay (uh-kai). Ukay originated from the word "hukay" meaning to "dig". 

Ukay became a business trend in Baguio back in the 2000s. Filipino Celebrities were reported visiting Baguio to buy pre-owned signature items. And of course, fans will always be fans. Ukay items became in demand; So, it reached the city. 

I can still remember my mom and I would go to a thrift shop after her office to search for the good finds. My first thrifted item was a gray Gucci backpack with a leather strap, it served me for years after we bought it. Now, my precious Gucci backpack is in the beloved hands of the thief who robbed our house.

Personally, I love thrift stores. I cannot let a week pass by without visiting any thrift stores. Give me a thousand and I can give you a pile of quality thrifted items! 

Why do I love thrift shops? 
  • I love them because there is a satisfaction that I feel in every item that is worth keeping for. 
  • There's a moment of "AHA!" when you realize you've got the best item in the shop.
  • The uniqueness of each item. I don't get worried that someone might have the same outfit inside the room.
  • SAVINGS. Buying 3 clothes for the price of 1 new outfit inside the department store.
Photo from Google
Thrift shops are my best friends, and I already gained friends like the store owners and sellers through the years. Most thrifted items came from Japan, Korea, China and Hong Kong. Thrifted items are shipped. No time to choose for rummage on which items you would like to sell. The supplier will only ask on what class do the owners would prefer to sell.

There are 3 classes of thrifted items for Clothes/Bags/Shoes :

1. Class A 
Price Range : Php 1,000.00+++
They are the branded signature finds - Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, etc. 
Name a brand, they have it! Mostly, these items were only used once or even not. They are almost good as new. 
Problems : Some items are only replicas not genuine. 
Expert Move : You have to examine the items very carefully before purchasing them. Spot the signs of the original ones first before hitting the stores. 

2. Class B
Usual Price Range : Php 100.00++ but not over Php 1,000.00
These are pre-owned/factory goodies. Or the over used branded items
Let me draw the line between the pre-owned and the overruns. 
When I say PRE-OWNED items, these are the items that were used more than once. While the OVERRUNS are brand new items, some with tags, some were detached, they are either rejected or surplus from the department stores. 
Problems : You will be certain that some were pre-owned/factory defects or overruns because of the threadbare, missing button(s), faded, bleached parts, misaligned zippers/chains, worn out heels or the little holes from the mishaps. These are the common problems that you might encounter coming from the Class B items.
Expert Move : Check e-v-e-r-y single detail, then decide if it's worth the price.

3. Class C 
Usual Price Range : Php 10.00 is the lowest that I've seen.
These are the OVERLY USED/DAMAGED items
Soiled or overly wrinkled clothes sold in the market. 
Problems : Sometimes they are heavily soiled due to long periods of time with nobody wants to purchase it. Unhygienic for undies or swimsuits. Expect what you've paid for.
Expert Move : If you cannot really avoid purchasing them, sanitize and disinfect them properly. 

What to wear : Your most comfortable outfit. I recommend wearing loose dresses to avoid the hassle of changing. Never ever wear flashy clothes. Bring extra clothes if you need one so you can change after your little adventure. 

And of course, before hitting the thrift shops, I would like to give you these pointers:
  • Plan ahead. How much is your budget? How far is it? How to get there? 
  • Research. There are specific areas in the Metro wherein thrift stores are like mushrooms, basically, everywhere! Libertad in Pasay is the most famous to me. There are like more than 10 thrift stores in one long busy street. 
  • Secure your belongings. Pickpockets are everywhere. You might enjoy too much. Just be careful.
  • Wait for the DISCOUNTED SCHEDULES. This is one reminder that every thrifter can take advantage of. Even thrift stores also have SALE! Yes, they do. New Arrivals are the best, I won't argue with you. But if you really want to save a lot, you'll wait for the discounts. 
  • Sign Up. Nowadays, thrift stores are very competitive. Ask for the number of the store or leave them your number so you will surely be updated with the New Arrivals and Discount Schedules.
  • Lower your expectations. 
  • One of the biggest mistakes you could ever commit while shopping is by asking for a size. Except for the overruns. 
  • Check for every single detail - damages, runs, loose thread, smell, etc. 
  • Never drop and leave. When you like it, never put it down. You'll never know if the person next to you is also interested. You might end up booing yourself for doing that. 
  • Find the RIGHT fit. Fitting rooms are available. 
  • Bring EXTRA tote bags. You'll never know how exciting this can be! 
  • Bargain. Always ask for the lowest price! That's what you came for anyway. 
  • Say "thank you" and make friends. At the end of the day, you will learn a lot from your adventure.   
Tell me about your thrift store shopping experience. 

I would love to hear your expert tips too! :)

xx Anne G.

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