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Thrifting In Kingston with Thrift Nature Ja

by Stephanie Koathes Sep 16, 2019

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You might raise your eyebrows at the thought of buying clothing that’s already been worn. But thrift stores like Thrift Nature Ja are here to change your mind.

Simone, CEO of Thrift Nature Ja talks about her store and the growing thrift shopping scene in Jamaica. She also shares some of the reasons why you should consider thrifting the next time you’re looking for clothes. 

 How did Thrift Nature come about?

Thrift Nature was born upon simply realising that most people we know, especially women living in larger countries abroad, had an excess of clothing.  It is commonplace for this excess to re-enter the cycle of distribution in these countries. We thought it would be fabulous to bring this culture of reuse and sustainability to Jamaica

What is your philosophy?

Our mission is to bring abundance to all people while empowering them to look and feel great through sustainable consumption habits.

What led you to start this venture?

We love environmental causes and thought it was the perfect time to spread reuse awareness locally.  There’s so much globally that goes to waste that other people could enjoy.  Clothes are just one avenue.  Everyone, from the needy to those who just love finding interesting items and saving money, benefits from this.  It’s such a fun place to shop, and people thank us constantly for making them look and feel great!

Do you think there’s a negative stigma attached to buying used goods in Jamaica?

Jamaicans are typically very proud people by nature, but consciousness is shifting, and people are starting to become more open-minded and aware of the concept of reuse.  When people see our products, all reservations they may have had are silenced with the pleasant surprise that they can access quality clothing at a fraction of the cost.

Would you say thrifting is becoming more popular in this country?

Customers come to us quite often saying that they’re surprised thrifting is so big in Jamaica now!  That alone is a sign of the trend.  More people are getting excited about the concept. We’re always adding new participants, both people who want to buy and those who wish to sell.

Do you have any kind of quality controls in place for the clothing and shoes you accept?

Absolutely.  We put a lot of effort into ensuring that the quality of clothing on our racks is excellent. Especially as we know, it’s a fairly new concept to a lot of people locally who may have reservations.  If we receive clothing which doesn’t make the cut we either return or donate it.  We do offer a pick and mix $250 box where people can dig in and find a variety of items and occasionally things that need minor repair.  We get all kinds of customers, including designers who make clothing.  Nothing goes to waste!

Are your items donated or on consignment?

Items are sourced in many ways. We may buy clothing locally or overseas. We do sell for people on consignment too, and if we receive donations part of the proceeds go to the charity which we work with.

What are some of the benefits of buying from thrift shops?

A man can stay hydrated for two to three years with the water it takes to make one cotton shirt.  It’s no secret that people frequently buy clothing only to wear once or twice and then discard.  This is a global epidemic.  When you buy from thrift stores, you are not only saving a buck, but you’re saving the planet at the same time. The idea that mountains of clothing should be made and then discarded over and over is inherently unsustainable.  Aside from those heavy points, thrifting is so much fun! You can find all kinds of unusual items from around the world that you ordinarily wouldn’t see in boutiques. You can spice up and refresh your wardrobe the conscious way without feeling guilty.  You can save tons of money.  Many clients find it hard to part with $5,000 or $10,000 for one dress after shopping with us where they can buy multiple dresses for the same money!

The thing is abundance is for all people. Brands are made accessible. You no longer have to dress solely according to what you can afford.  Now you can have fun with your wardrobe dressing in quality fabrics and things that may have been previously out of your reach. Even if you can afford the $15,000 dress, many people think “why bother?” We also have a vintage line strictly for finds which have stood the test of time and are even more rare and precious.  It’s a revolution!

Where can people find you?

You can shop easily through our Instagram page and have things delivered straight to you. You can come into our central location Haining Road location, Wednesday through Saturday in the afternoon to try on and have the full shopping experience!  We have a generous exchange policy, especially useful for online sales. Though, after finding such excellent deals, most people are inspired to pay it forward through gifts for others, in the unfortunate event occurs that they purchase a misfit.

If you’re interested in giving thrift shopping a try, check out Thrift Nature on Instagram.