I'm just going to be blunt: I hate this business. But for very good reasons.
For the past couple of weeks (more like months), I have been struggling with my purpose. I developed this business as a way to promote sustainability...actually, no. I just really wanted to sell my clothes and stop being turned down by other big name consignment shops.
Yeah, that's really why I did it. I mean obviously the "sustainability" aspect seemed appealing. But it's hard to be an environmentalist while also trying to make money.
This year has been rough; I've felt like I've lost myself, my passion, my way through this effed-up world! I'm tired. I'm burnt out. The amount of stress I've been putting myself under has been so draining.
So, I'm done...well, not entirely.
Consignment Shop Closing
Starting June 28, 2021, I will be closing the consignment shop. While I wanted to provide a new selling platform for sellers, I do not feel confident that this business model will be profitable. In the past, I have done the research; I based most of my planning on my own experiences while trying to sell clothes. I used to think my competitors were only low-balling sellers while marking up the prices of items. Most items weren't even in great condition! I used to think they wouldn't take Fast Fashion pieces. I figured they only cared about labels. Boy was I wrong!
On a recent visit at a Plato's Closet, I was shocked by what I was seeing. Everything was in great condition. There were name brands, but most were brands you could find at your local and online Fast Fashion Retailer. They even had brands found at Target and TJX Companies! And the prices?? Wow! I purchased two pairs of jeans for only $25, and one pair still had the tags on them!
Man, I used to think they were the enemy but in reality, their business model was not too different than mine. And they had great foot traffic. So I had to think: What is it about my business that I could do better? I mean if the goal is to be sustainable and provide new homes for reclaimed fashion, then why try to reinvent the wheel?
Nothing is Changing
Something else I'm finding to be frustrating is the fact that there isn't much change happening when it comes to sustainable fashion. I mean, we're shouting to the winds and demanding better change...and yet, we're still buying cheap crap that doesn't last. I was reading an article pertaining to the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. It has been nearly 8 years and not much has changed. Brands have "promised" to do better, but are they really? Garment workers are still being mistreated. And even during the beginning of the pandemic, brands were abusing and mistreating garment workers and the factories by not paying production fees. It angered me, reading articles that discussed the tragedy that occurred. There was even an article published in 2018 discussing the same damn topic. What has changed? Where is the change?
Perhaps I'm being a little judgmental. I mean, I see hope in the community. Consumers are demanding change. But the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. There's always dirt where the money resides. Another recent article published by Dazed and Confused discussed the issues with size inconsistency. Not only is it causing body image problems, but now businesses are just throwing away returned merchandise because it's "cheaper" to do so. So yep, more textile waste!
I swear, it seems like everywhere I turn, there's an issue involved with this industry. Thrifting is only good because it's trendy. People think it's "cool" until we're taking away fashionable pieces from the "poor" or lower income. People think thrifting is dirty but will go and buy a piece from a retail shop that has been tried on hundreds of times (okay, maybe about 10 times before you decided to buy it). There's always something negative involved with fashion and sustainability and shopping. And the worst part is: I can't even support myself with this stupid business because it's draining all my money and I'm getting nothing in return.
So after that long rant of confessions, I want to say I'm no longer supporting the consignment route. There are so many other great sources out there that people can try. Why should I stress myself out trying to compete?
The Beginning of Upcycling
So you're probably thinking, "But ReneA, your business is so cool! You can't just give up!"
Well, no, I don't care anymore. I care too much about the people involved in this shady business that it's causing me depression and self-worth issues. Sometimes I'll try to create and then I'll start thinking about how I need to update the inventory or how I need to go thrifting for more treasures or how I need to return calls from people wanting to submit to the consignment shop (even though it has been closed for several months). I'm thinking about the next event I need to attend just to make a few couple of dollars. I think about the cool images my thrifting sisters are posting. I'm just done.
I miss my love for fashion. I miss the feeling I used to get by creating something unique. I miss the art.
That is why we are no longer a "consignment shop." But I’m not dropping that Upcycle Brand title. I've decided the only way I can truly love this business again and truly regain my passion is design and create upcycled pieces that will be treasured for a long time. Custom work is what I do best. To be honest, the only reason this business even got off the ground was because of the mask orders I had early in 2020. I want to focus on creation.
I'm also starting school this fall. I have decided to pursue my Masters in Business Analytics. All the work and planning I have done for this business has sparked my journey into tech and marketing. I still believe in the dream and the purpose of this business. I still want to promote sustainability and create a sustainable brand. But I honestly do not have the proper data to truly say that is business model is profitable.
Of course, I'm still going to keep thrifting. I've been caught up in finding pieces that I think other people will like that I've forgot to shop for myself. I'll still consider reselling old clothes for friends and family. I know my mom and my sisters shop too much (you really need to see my mom's shoe collection. It's insane!!)
I still want to support my thrifting sisters. I'm dropping their links at the bottom of this article. I also want you to continue demanding change. We have the buying power to control these brands. My goal is to one day have an ethical factory here in the US. My time working as a seamstress a few years ago has shocked me. That experience is my constant motivation to do better and be better.
So I thank you for your continuous support. And if you're new here: hey! Here's my new business.
ReneA's Closet: Upcycle Brand. Explore "The Closet" or discover unique Upcycled Creations.
BTW: the blog is now called The Fashion...? I'm going back to my roots!
~~with love ReneA P.
Check out these lovely ladies and support their business. They motivate me everyday, and I want to see them grow!