The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast

How to Thrift like a Pro (with Ugochi from Thrift 'n Prosper)

May 20, 2022 Katie Season 2 Episode 13
How to Thrift like a Pro (with Ugochi from Thrift 'n Prosper)
The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
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The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
How to Thrift like a Pro (with Ugochi from Thrift 'n Prosper)
May 20, 2022 Season 2 Episode 13
Katie

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

How many of you have that one friend who’s always scoring incredible deals while thrifting? How many of you want that friend to teach you how to do this for yourself??

Ugochi Nwaneri, Professional Personal Thrifter & Creator of Thrift 'n Prosper, is that friend for you! She  joins Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to share her personal experiences in the world of thrifting and gives amazing tips to help YOU thrift like a pro... Really putting the "pro" in Thrift 'n Prosper! ;)

From her website: “Inspired by her Angel mommy, thrifting has largely been incorporated into Ugochi’s life since early childhood, and over the years, it has allowed her to further explore fashion through a more sustainable lens. Thrifting not only for herself, but for others as well, is an art form she takes pride in and truly enjoys."

In Ugochi's experiences growing up, thrifting wasn’t viewed as a trend or an art-form. Much of her story resonated with my own – being raised in a big family on a tight budget and depending on hand-me-downs and thrifted treasures. 

We may not have felt it back then, but we both know now that shopping secondhand is truly an art where you can find nice things for less cost, and it’s the most sustainable option, too! 

Ugochi can thrift with you, thrift for you, or you can even shop from her online boutique of thrifted treasures. Check out her website for more info!


Additional Resources mentioned in episode:

  • If you're looking for the perfect zero-waste mascara, look no further! Izzy has launched the world's first truly ZERO waste mascara! Use this affiliate link and the code “THATMINIMALLIFE” to receive 10% off your single purchase! 
    • If you’re interested in buying a membership with multiple mascaras, use the code: “zerowaste10” for 10% off! 
    • The affiliate link will also give me a small kickback with no extra cost to you. :)
  • As a perk to becoming a patron of the podcast (or a client of mine for coaching), you can also receive exclusive discounts to over 15 businesses (online and in person), including composting services, Ridwell, Nude Foods Market, sustainable swimwear for kids, and more! 

-------
This show is brought to you by listener support, and I'm sending a huge shout-out to these patrons for making it happen: Elizabeth R, Nancy K, Sarah W, Jodi S, Julia B, Liliana S, Karyn W, Linda M, Detlef K, and Kelly K!
To become a patron and receive all the perks of this community, visit www.patreon.com/allthingssustainable and join for as low as $3/month!
-------
To learn more with your host and Eco-Living Coach, Katie Kurpanek, visit www.thatminimallife.com for blog posts and personalized coaching info!
Instagram: @that.minimal.life
Email: katie.thatminimallife@gmail.com
-----

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Show Notes Transcript

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

How many of you have that one friend who’s always scoring incredible deals while thrifting? How many of you want that friend to teach you how to do this for yourself??

Ugochi Nwaneri, Professional Personal Thrifter & Creator of Thrift 'n Prosper, is that friend for you! She  joins Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to share her personal experiences in the world of thrifting and gives amazing tips to help YOU thrift like a pro... Really putting the "pro" in Thrift 'n Prosper! ;)

From her website: “Inspired by her Angel mommy, thrifting has largely been incorporated into Ugochi’s life since early childhood, and over the years, it has allowed her to further explore fashion through a more sustainable lens. Thrifting not only for herself, but for others as well, is an art form she takes pride in and truly enjoys."

In Ugochi's experiences growing up, thrifting wasn’t viewed as a trend or an art-form. Much of her story resonated with my own – being raised in a big family on a tight budget and depending on hand-me-downs and thrifted treasures. 

We may not have felt it back then, but we both know now that shopping secondhand is truly an art where you can find nice things for less cost, and it’s the most sustainable option, too! 

Ugochi can thrift with you, thrift for you, or you can even shop from her online boutique of thrifted treasures. Check out her website for more info!


Additional Resources mentioned in episode:

  • If you're looking for the perfect zero-waste mascara, look no further! Izzy has launched the world's first truly ZERO waste mascara! Use this affiliate link and the code “THATMINIMALLIFE” to receive 10% off your single purchase! 
    • If you’re interested in buying a membership with multiple mascaras, use the code: “zerowaste10” for 10% off! 
    • The affiliate link will also give me a small kickback with no extra cost to you. :)
  • As a perk to becoming a patron of the podcast (or a client of mine for coaching), you can also receive exclusive discounts to over 15 businesses (online and in person), including composting services, Ridwell, Nude Foods Market, sustainable swimwear for kids, and more! 

-------
This show is brought to you by listener support, and I'm sending a huge shout-out to these patrons for making it happen: Elizabeth R, Nancy K, Sarah W, Jodi S, Julia B, Liliana S, Karyn W, Linda M, Detlef K, and Kelly K!
To become a patron and receive all the perks of this community, visit www.patreon.com/allthingssustainable and join for as low as $3/month!
-------
To learn more with your host and Eco-Living Coach, Katie Kurpanek, visit www.thatminimallife.com for blog posts and personalized coaching info!
Instagram: @that.minimal.life
Email: katie.thatminimallife@gmail.com
-----

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Katie Kurpanek:

You're listening to all things sustainable, where we unpack topics related to sustainable living, as well as how to apply specific actions to your own life. I'm your eco living coach and podcast host Katie Kurpanek. Let's jump in. Hello, hello, welcome back to the All Things sustainable podcast, I am super happy that you joined us today, we are about to wrap up season two, we're getting really, really close. So we have this episode today we've got one more coming out, well, one more guest interview. And then I'm going to have kind of like a closure, you know, shorter episode just with myself wrapping up season two, and then we're going to be taking a break for a little bit. So if you have missed any of the previous episodes, you're definitely going to want to go back we've been talking in season two about becoming more conscious consumers and trying to cover a whole bunch of aspects of what that means. So really boiling it down to shopping in a way that aligns with your personal ethics and values. And of course, that's going to look different for everybody, but the point is to just be very mindful of the way that we are shopping. Today I had the privilege of talking with Ugochi Nwaneri who is a professional personal Thrifter. So I love her job already, like I am absolutely in love with her Instagram and her website. And just what she gets to do with people and for people is so much fun. So she can take you on personal thrifting experiences, you know, guided thrifting experiences with her if you live in her local area, which is in Maryland. And then you can also have her thrift for you. So you can work together to kind of figure out like your, you know, style. And she has this whole process that she'll get into in the episode. But basically, she can thrift for you. And also she has an online, you know, shop on her website. So she has beautiful pieces that she has thrifted and you could just purchase them that way. But what I really wanted to talk with her about as she has founded Thrift and Prosper is the importance of thrifting. And then a lot of like tips of how you can do this in a way that actually is meaningful to you and you know, scores some really good deals, there is an excessive amount of stuff in the world that's already in existence and in circulation, and it would be awesome to keep it that way. So shopping secondhand is definitely one of the best ways to do that, in my opinion. And Ugochi had some really really beautiful tips and insights and personal experiences to offer. I do want to give you a heads up as I am a working from home mama that toward the end of the episode there is some crying in the background from my son. And he's totally fine. He was with his dad while we were doing the interview and he was just not quite happy that I was up here hiding in my little office space. So anyway, you'll hear a little bit from him in the background, but it doesn't last that long. And thank you in advance for understanding. I hope that you enjoy today's episode, check out the episode description for important links and how to get in touch with Ugochi if you're curious about that, and with that we're just gonna dive right in. Ugochi I am so happy to have you on this podcast we're gonna talk about like one of my favorite topics and one of my favorite things to do which is thrifting. And so and your thrifting like expert and you know of professional personal thrifter so I told my audience already a little bit about you and about thrift and prosper. But I would love for you to just share like your own story. Tell us about you. Who are your people like what are you passionate about? And then of course what led you to become a personal Thrifter

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Well, thank you so much for having me. I am very excited to be on because I love any opportunity I can share my love for thrifting and connecting with other people who enjoy thrifting as well. So my name is Ugochi, I founded my small business Thrift and Prosper in 2019. I originally I'm from Michigan, where I grew up, I was raised by a single mother, I have three other siblings. My mom taught me how to thrift, literally thrift and prosper while thrift. And so that's the background behind my brand name. But we definitely grew up drifting by circumstance, life circumstance. thrifting was a way for us to just find nice pieces for less. And it's really interesting for me to see how thrifting has evolved over time. Because I definitely have you know, I started thrifting and I was really really young. And then now thrifting has become more trendy and a lot of people are thrifting more way more than I'm And I remember when I was younger. So it's something that I will I will say I was not very prideful when I was younger, because there were a lot of negative connotations towards thrifting and secondhand fashion. But as I've grown older, especially when I was in college and beyond, it's an art form that I truly take pride in. So I have two younger sisters and older brother. We all grew up in Michigan moved a few years ago, but they are literally like my whole world, my lifeline, I love my siblings. We unfortunately no longer have my mom here with us, she passed when I was in college. But you know, beyond that, the thrill of thrifting like finding gems and items, I literally like always thrift with her in mind. Although it was not something that we took great pride in when I was younger, it's something that I greatly take pride in now, in her honor.

Katie Kurpanek:

Exactly, it's something that like that, you know, wasn't the intent, and it wasn't necessarily trendy before. But now like you can do this, and it probably reminds you of like, her strength and her resourcefulness and like everything that she did to care for you all, as a single mom like, that, in itself is a legacy. And this is like a piece of it, that's so worth honoring. So I'm super happy that you have shared that with us and that that's like part of, you know, your journey now in like personal thrifting for others, and just like keeping that part of her story alive. And yeah, I can so resonate with you with like, the beginning of what you shared with, you know, thrifting was not at all trending when I was like a kid. But you know, I'm one of four kids in my family as well. And like, when times were a lot tighter back when I was younger, it was like hand me downs and thrifting that is what we lived off up off of it was like, even when it came to food, we had this like, I wish I could remember what it was called. I know my mom would know. But it's like, a store near us that was like, kind of like secondhand foods and foods that were close to expiring. And you know, that kind of thing. So it was like, we went there, that was our grocery store. And then we went thrifting and had like hand me downs from people in church or neighbors or stuff like that. But anyway, I definitely felt more self conscious about it as a kid. And then it was like, once I got older, and I had my own opportunity to like make my own money or like I had a car I was like, Okay, I'm going to go shopping and like, do this over here. And then it wasn't until I was like, you know, later into adulthood that now I've realized like this is, you know, not only just the more sustainable option, because that's what drew me back to it in the first place. But like it has become an art form, and it's trendy. And I would love if you could, you know, kind of talk a bit about that, like you are a personal Thrifter for people. So what does that even look like? And how do you turn this art form into something that is now like, serving other people? And it's a business for you?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Good question. Yeah. So I think for me, when I moved to Maryland, in 2019, and I originally started my Instagram page Thrift and Prosper, I started it from like, just this excitement to share things that I found out here like secondhand thrifted used however, you coined the term. And oftentimes, like my peers, or like coworkers would would like say you didn't drift that, like are you serious? And I'm like, Yes. Like, let me prove this to you. And so almost through that they're like, oh, like if you can thr- thrift this for yourself, like can you help me find like, like a shirt or like a specific color or pattern? And I'm like, yeah, like 99% of the time I will find you what you're working for and that their store. And so um, that's kind of how it started, like, well actually, let me back up a little bit, I actually started like thrifting pieces for my siblings. Not even with intention, not like that and telling me to find them things. But like if I found something nice that my sisters or my brother liked, I would just, you know, thrift it, clean it, wash it and then give it to them. And then you know when I moved here that was when I really started thrifting for other people through kind of like my exposure and sharing of my love for thrifting and just finding really nice pieces for less. So it's still a learning experience for me as my clientele has been slowly growing. But I recently started my website and so on there there's a personal thrift page that you've probably saw. And so people can fill that out as they've done and just kind of select like, what they're looking for whether it's home decor or clothing, specific times, you know, dates that work out for them. The budget, sometimes some people have selected to go together like a thrift trip versus me just looking out for pieces for them on my own. So that's kind of how that goes.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, I love that I Okay, so I know we connected on Instagram and I love your Instagram, thrift and prosper. But then your website is just like gorgeous. And so if anybody listening like I'll have that linked in the episode description, but you definitely have to like go check out Ugochi's website and it I thought it was such an intriguing process what you do for people and like, I wish I lived closer, I was like, I would love to do like an actual in person thrifting trip with you. But um, so Okay, so people give you kind of like, what it is that they're looking for? Or do you help them figure out like, what their style is first? Or like, how do you kind of figure out what sort of treasure hunt you're gonna go on? You know, looking for them?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Oh, good question. Yeah, so kind of all of it, it just depends on what the person is looking for, you know, everyone is on a different, like stage or journey in their thrifting. So for example, a client I thrift the first client, I went to a thrift trip with this year, she had thrifted a few times before, but it was like really overwhelmed and never really scored any clothing. She's found some home decor before. So before we met, she gave me her budget. I also have a list of like, category, trends or themes, like fashion three themes like bohemian vintage streetwear, just to kind of help narrow down what someone is specifically looking for. And then we kind of go from there. So for her, she kind of gave me those specific trends or fashion styles that she prefers, gave me her sizes requested that we thrift together. And that's how we went about our thrift trip.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, that is really cool. I love that you can break it down by categories, too. Because I mean, I know those words, off the top of my head, like I recognize those words, but I don't think I could fully picture what each one of those means in itself. Like sometimes I think I blend those together and like mix up the categories. So did you I'm just curious, like, did you have to have some kind of a background in like fashion or something? Or have you just been like picking this up as you go along? And like you're just aware, maybe you're just so much more in tune with the fashion world than I am.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

I definitely have no background in fashion. I mean, I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch my freshman year in college. But that is like the extent of that. But I just have always loved nice things. nice things for less like I firmly believe that you can look luxurious look super stylish from secondhand thrifted pieces. And I definitely feel like I'm a walking example of that.

Katie Kurpanek:

Oh, totally. Yes. Like, oh my gosh, anyone who is you know not, so if you're on Patreon, you can see this whole video conversation. But if you're just listening on the podcast episode, like what you're wearing right now is gorgeous. And like, I'm assuming it's all secondhand, but like on your website, too, and your Instagram, I'm constantly looking through your photos and like, oh my gosh, it's it's so much fun. And there is kind of bringing it back to this, like sustainability focus. There is such an excessive amount of stuff that's like already in circulation around the whole world. So in my opinion, it's like we really, most of the time don't need to buy things new, like there are certain things that are the exception. And that might be different from person to person, like based on your comfort level. But for the most part, like we really can find what we need second hand so I'm so happy that like you're encouraging people in how to do this.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So I don't consider myself a fashion expert, but I do pay attention to trends. I pay attention to trends. I love Tik Tok you know, social media is very powerful in many ways, can also be a distractor. But just so that, you know, I don't really have a specific fashion trend for myself. I like what I like and if I think something looks good on me great. If not, then it's not for me. But for other people. Especially for these personal thrift trips. I try to stay up to date on trends so that when someone is giving the specific requests, I know exactly like what to look out for. I use my resources also ask them for like their celebrity inspiration so that I can then further pull pictures for examples of trends and styles that would be helpful to kind of narrow down our search when we go together if I go solo.

Katie Kurpanek:

Oh, that's so smart. That sounds like such a cool process. I'm like really thinking about like, Okay, I'm gonna need a wardrobe refresher at some point and gonna be like hitting you up for this... Hey friends, if you know me, you know that I am all about minimizing the amount of unnecessary things and waste in your life. But there are always going to be those items that you just consider necessary and for me one of those is definitely mascara. I spent years searching for the perfect mascara on my terms based on my ethics and my values. I wanted it to be zero waste. I tried a bunch I even tried making my own and it was such a fail. But I can tell you now that I have personally found the best Zero Waste mascara I've ever tried. Personally I have been using this mascara since early 2021. And recently I just became an affiliate with them because I am so behind their product and I want to share it with you. The Izzy Zero Waste mascara truly means zero waste. It comes with no outer packaging in a reusable mailer made from upcycled materials. You get one tube made out of stainless steel and you send the old tube right back these stainless steel tubes are both American made and medical grade designed to be sanitized and refilled over 10,000 times. Izzy puts their tubes through a triple medical cleanse. Same as surgeons and dentists and they receive a certificate after all cleanses to ensure that there is no microbial or bacterial buildup. The tube itself has zero plastic and the little plastic wipers and wands are reground melted and recycled at their facility to be used again using 94% less plastic than all leading mascara brands. They have even developed an antibacterial cleansing process to reuse their water at their facility. Rather than just dumping it into the ocean. All of their manufacturing takes place within a 400 mile radius, which means that the carbon emissions from transportation of these products alone are exponentially lower than those of any other beauty brand compared to the industry standard. Their mascara has a 78% smaller carbon footprint after 25 refills the more that these mascaras are reused, the smaller their relative carbon footprint becomes over time to encourage reuse and these refills they have a membership model which is what I'm personally a part of so that you replace your mascara every three months. This is necessary for the health of your own eyes and skin anyway, it helps combat dryness, redness and irritation or bacterial buildup from your mascara. The formula itself is clean, vegan friendly, cruelty free, certified organic by the FDA gluten free alcohol oil paraben free silicone free, basically free of all the bad things, their ingredients are ethically sourced, and all manufacturing is slave free. And they even have a specific formula designed so that their tubes are underfilled, meaning the formula is supposed to last you 90 days until your next refill. And so there's less waste, and then any leftover mascara is purified and reconstituted at their facility using the same cleaning process as their water. Does it work though? Yes, 100 times yes, this is by far my favorite Zero Waste beauty product that I own. It is super luscious volumizing and really gentle on your skin. On top of all of this Izzy donates portions of their proceeds to three organizations consistently the National Forest Foundation, Her Justice, and Pencils of Promise, could I love them more I really don't think so. I hope that you will try this out for yourself and love them too. In the episode description, I have an affiliate link and you can use the code THAT MINIMAL LIFE all caps all one word to receive 10% off your own purchase. I hope you try this out for yourself and feel like an eco goddess with luscious lashes in the process. Alright, let's get back to our show. If people are looking to, you know, shop secondhand, actually, before I ask that question, I'm curious, have you noticed a difference in people's responses when you use words like secondhand versus thrifting? Versus used like you kind of alluded to that earlier, whatever people are comfortable with. But do you feel like there's like a weird stigma attached to any of those words right now?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

I feel like like there's been an evolution in those terms. Like when I was younger, it was used and thrifted. And there were significantly negative connotations towards those terms. And then now that I'm older and the Thrift community or individuals who thrift has been growing, I hear more like pre loved secondhand, you know, some people say like second secondhand but grand and so I feel like pre loved and secondhand has kind of a friendlier ring to it than thrifted and used. Yeah, I used to, I love used and thrifted, I, There's no shame in my thrift game, but I'm just kind of thinking of other people's perspectives and conversations I've had with other people. It seems like secondhand and pre loved is more flavorful to the tone to the ear.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah. That makes sense. I think yeah, that that seems to be what I've experienced as well and like, you know, even terms like gently used, it's like putting some kind of an adjective before the word used somehow seems to like soften that expectation. But yeah, and then secondhand. I think, also, I feel like it opens up this whole realm of how you can shop because I feel like a lot of people associate thrifting only with an in person thrift store. But it's like, if you're shopping secondhand, I mean, you could be using Poshmark. Or you could be on Facebook marketplace, or like, whatever it is that you're turning to. But okay, so So then linking that to my question about if people are looking to shop secondhand or gently used or whatever it is, for, like most of the things in their lives, and then especially clothing, that's what you focus on, like, where where do you suggest that they should begin? And do you have any, like helpful tips that you could share? Just like from your professional experience?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yeah. So you mean like, where should they begin? Like in the thrift store specifically?

Katie Kurpanek:

Sure. It could be that it could be like, you know, do you even recommend starting with a thrift store? Or do you recommend like starting you know, online? Or how do you kind of like gauge what it is that people need?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yeah, I primarily thrift in person. So I would recommend thrifting in person. Me personally, right? You asked me that question. That's my personal experience, my personal opinion. Some others may say online, but I say thrifting in person, because I like to really see things like eye to eye firsthand. Oftentimes, things in the thrift store may have some sort of damage or stain. But if you're in person and you see it, you can use your own judgment and think like, oh, is this something I can repair? Is this something that I can do a DIY isn't worth this item. For me. I'm like, if I saw something online, that was damaged or stained, I wouldn't be able to really inspect it to the degree of like, okay, is this something that is worth bringing home. So I would definitely start in the thrift store have a running list of items, I call it a thrift list items that you're looking for, and then making multiple trips. So don't just go to one store store and expect to find the item that one trip, but maybe frequent a few thrift stores. And even if it's just to thrift stores go often. That's actually what I did when I first moved here. Most of the items in my apartment are from home or thrifted. And so like the first few months, especially the first month I moved here I was in thrift stores like a madwoman. So definitely going often and creating lists. Does that answer your question?

Katie Kurpanek:

It does, it totally does. And I found that even just like for myself, I love I also love going in person. And like I prefer shopping in person than online anyway, just because like it to me is easier to make, like you said all those visual, tangible connections. And then like, trying things on is super important to me to make sure I actually love it. And I don't want to deal with like having to return things if it's online. So, but what I've found is that I love like when I just drive around, if I have a little bit of extra time and I see a thrift store in like an area that I'm not usually in, I love to go in there and just see what it's like because it feels like every thrift store has like kind of its own, you know, flavor. And then I found some that I really prefer over others. So like all No, to go back to like this store if I'm looking for something with like household goods or something because like, I know, they typically have really great choices. Whereas, you know, the thrift store on the corner by my house has like amazing clothing all the time. So I go there. But yeah, I feel like in person just makes a huge, huge difference.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yes I love the point that you made like kind of knowing what they have to offer in terms of items. Like you know, one store is really good for furniture versus one being really good for clothing. And you can even narrow it down like oh, this this store is really good for like big furniture like dresses and our dressers and beds. And then you know this dresser up the street or in this other city is really good for like seasonal clothing seasonal pieces, like okay, they really focus on rotating like their summer pieces versus like having lots of coats out in the winter.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, yeah, I love it. I think it's so much fun to me. It's like not for everybody, but I feel like it's kind of a game and like I love playing is okay, let's see, I had another question. But I feel like we kind of already started to answer it earlier with like, you know, as a personal thrifter, you're kind of going on this whole like treasure hunt for people. Like do people ask you for really weird things sometimes that are like really hard to find are really rare to find. And if they do then like, how do you go about that?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yeah, so I always like to talk people that you know, thrifting is it's challenging because, or being a personal Thrifter. And thrifting, in general is challenging because you're not, you don't have an abundance of pieces, similar pieces at the grip of your hand, right? Like you do in like a fast fashion store. So when someone puts in a request, I tell them, you know, like, there may be a chance that I may not find exactly what you're looking for, but I can try my best and I, I look over time, so I can gather as many like examples or pieces for them to really like increase the chance of them, I'm gonna be finding something that they are looking for. I haven't really had a request that has been, you know, like, impossible for me to find. And all my requests so far have been very reasonable. I think sometimes, size can be tricky. So that's why I will go often depending on the person's request in their size and things that they want me to consider.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, that's awesome. That is super cool. Okay, I have a few questions that some like listeners wanted me to ask... Hey, just wanted to jump in real quick to talk about Patreon. Patreon is an online platform that allows you to become a patron of the arts, so to speak, a financial supporter of the creators who enrich your life with their content. Thanks to the generous support of my patrons starting as low as just$3 a month, I'm able to continue empowering individuals like yourself through these educational chats with various experts across the spectrum of sustainable living. As a patron of this podcast, you will have the privilege of joining the discussions with guest speakers via zoom and taking part in the exclusive Q&As with them too. If you can't make the actual interview live, that's okay, you'll have access to the full recorded episode early before anybody else gets a chance to hear it. You also receive the added bonus of personal shout outs in podcast episodes, and other behind the scenes content sent your way. Plus, you'll receive unique discounts to more than a dozen sustainable businesses that have partnered with me so that you can save money and the earth while you shop. If any of the content that I create adds value to your life, or the perks alone have piqued your interest, check out patreon.com/all Things sustainable to join our community and become a patron today. Thank you so much for your support of this journey to minimize our carbon footprint while maximizing our positive impact on this planet we call home. Okay, let's get back to our show. Some of their questions one person had asked Do you feel like something, Actually two people asked this and I kind of merged their question. So basically, do you feel like something is still worth thrifting If you could find that same item new for like nearly the same price? So one of the examples that one person gave was like it, you know, at Target, she could find some $5 shirts at thrift stores, she could also find $5 T shirts, and it's like, you know, do you still feel like it's worth thrifting those items? Or what are your thoughts on that?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

I always default to thrifting. When it comes to price, if it's if it's a $5 shirt at Target versus $5 at the thrift store, I'm going with the thrift store because like for me, I'm like, let me give this item a second chance, right if it's in a thrift store, like who knows if it was pre loved or brand new. I just feel satisfied when I find pieces or make an effort to thrift items. First, I definitely feel like there is such an abundance over abundance of clothing for everyone. And so there are so many thrift stores. I'm pretty certain that if you if there is a trend or a piece that you're looking for, you can find something similar. If you make the attempt to thrift it first. Keep in mind that you might not find it that first time or that on that first drug trip, but you kind of have to put in that effort and go a couple times or ask a friend to be on the lookout for you who thrifts but I definitely think it's worth thrifting first because when you're thrifting items you're keeping possibly out of landfills. And a lot of garments that are now being produced in stores are very low quality. And so I like to think that you know, when I find pieces in the thrift store, I really try to focus on like sustainable fabrics, like silk and cotton and like wool in the winter. And so I feel like the chances of me finding garments of that caliber are greater in the thrift store than in like Target or a store like that because a lot of the pieces are made of polyester, rayon, non biodegradable pieces that are not necessarily built to last.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm so glad that you brought that up because it's this whole like slow fashion versus fast fashion deal that we're I feel like we're just now starting to get more education out there. So that people, especially on social media, people can get little snippets of like, understanding. But this is a huge deal. I mean, like you said, so many garments are not designed to last anymore. And it's just like designed to dump which is so wasteful, and it's just like, you know, a very capitalistic thing to do. And then also, like, so many of the fast fashion factories or like, wherever these clothes are being produced, like it's not even ethically done. It's like very dangerous situations for the laborers. And so it's just more sustainable and like, ethical in a lot of ways. And then like you said, you can get that high quality. I feel like if it's going to be the same price as new, then you're not really like losing anything. And if it's usually going to be cheaper than like, it's, it's a win for you to like, you're going to be saving money. Okay, cool. Well, another question that somebody had sent in was, Do you feel like people should donate to thrift stores? Or do you feel like their stores are too often overwhelmed with donations? And I think they were asking that because I had talked about at some point, like, so many thrift stores are just like dumping things anyway, because they cannot get it out of their stores fast enough. So first, you know, what are your thoughts on that? And then if you do feel like they should not be donating to thrift stores, then like, where should they donate?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yeah, I think I think people should donate to thrift stores. That I've had that discussion with a lot of people as of lately, at like events, or just in the community or at thrift stores. And even when I go donate, I talked to the staff like individuals who work in a thrift store. And so it all boils down to like that your your consumption, like the less you consume, the less, you'll donate, but I mean, anyways, um, there are thrift stores that will have a list of items that they need, like donations that they're really looking for, especially if they tend to support certain nonprofit organizations that will, you know, give their donations to people who need the items, like in the winter, jackets, gloves. Second, right now, I know they're looking for like toys, certain kinds of garments for the summer. So there are thrift stores that will have a list that have pieces that they're looking for. So you know that you're not just over donating. It's kind of like a conscious donation. And then there are also different places that you can donate items to, when we moved out of my mom's house, we called local shelters, and learned about different organizations, like a woman's shelter that accepted lightly used for brand new clothing items for women who were seeking employment. So they had like a closet for women to select items, especially to preserve their dignity, right. So they feel like they are shopping. But you know, they're selecting really nice items for them to look presentable for interviews. So shelters, and sometimes schools, depending on the school, they take donations. So it's, it's kind of like just, you know, doing research in your local area of different places that you can donate beyond just thrift stores.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, that's awesome. So it sounds like you know, like you said, Okay, I heard like three things. So the first thing you had said was, if we are really conscious about our consumerism, and we're not over consuming items, then we'll probably be donating less in the first place. So that's a huge point. And then the second thing that I picked up on was that, like, definitely still donating to thrift stores, but being mindful of like, are they asking for specific things? And looking for that? And then the third thing...

Ugochi Nwaneri:

was finding different organizations to donate to

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, and it's like, you could do that through the thrift stores. You could also just like, take your stuff straight to those places. Yeah, that's really cool. And then if we continue to shop secondhand, then like, that will keep this excessive amount from just being you know, like, last resort in you know, a dumpster somewhere because like, we need to be the ones to get it out of there. Like we don't need to be buying new if there's plenty. So I thought those were super, super helpful points.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Thank you. Yeah.

Katie Kurpanek:

Okay. Well, I have a final question. It's like a routine question that I asked everybody on my podcast, but I just change it up a little bit depending on like who I'm talking to. So, for you, I am curious. Like, what are your top, you know, 1-3 actionable steps that our listeners could take that can help them on their journey of becoming conscious consumers. And it could be summing up a lot of what you've already said. Or if you have entirely new ideas like I would love to hear it.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yes. So I, I have probably a few new ideas, I will kind of pick piggyback off of creating a thrift list. And I don't always stick to mine just being transparent. But I think creating a thrift list is very helpful to kind of reduce that the sense of over consuming, especially for people who get overwhelmed when they go to thrift stores because of the abundance of items. It kind of helps you stick to what you're looking for. A lot of thrift stores have like certain sections marked off like women's clothing, men's clothing, housewares, and even within their like glassware versus wooden and picture frames, bathrooms, stuff like that. So it really helps you focus on exactly what you came in the thrift store for so that's definitely something that I feel everyone can benefit from. Another actionable step would be to try to thrift items if you can that have multiple purposes. So like I love thrifting scarves, I have lots of scarves. Because scarves have multiple purposes you can wear a scarf is like a hair scarf. A tarp in many different ways you can wear it as like a skirt, if it's long enough cover up for a bathing suit swimwear in the summer. So scarves are one another example will be dresses. So you can dresses are nice transitional piece that serve multiple purpose because you could wear it in the summer, you could wear it you know in the fall and layer over like a sweater cardigan jacket. Um, so that would be number two. Number three would be Oh, another example of something with multiple purpose that's not clothing would be home decor, like baskets. You can use those for organizational things in your house or in your office. Of course, like Easter eggs, so just thinking of things that you could consume in a thrift store that will serve multiple purposes. And then the third one, I would say thrifting items that you could see yourself wearing multiple times. So it kind of goes hand in hand with thrifting items that have multiple purposes. But specifically like picking a piece looking at it and like not just for like a one time occasion, but like, okay, I can see myself wearing this dress like multiple times to work. And in the summer. I like to thrift buttoned down specifically because I'm like, I'm gonna wear this multiple times I'll button it up for work and then burn it down a little bit in the summer, like for more of like a casual look, or do like a half tuck, half untucked, fully tuck for work. So thrifting things that you know, you will wear, multiple times. Those are my takeaways.

Katie Kurpanek:

I love it. Yeah, those are super helpful tips. And I think like that, yeah, that'll just help you to not sort of just mindlessly spend too, which is also like a huge money saver. So it's, you know, good for the planet, it's good for your wallet, and then you're gonna look like, I feel like when you do that you're gonna look like the way you want to feel, you know, you're gonna be wearing things that resonate with, like who you are, and your true style or your comfort level. So I think those are such helpful tips.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Thank you, I really hope that they are practical for anyone on their journey of thrifting, whether it's a beginner, whether you're, you know, an advanced thrifter. They are definitely things that I tried to stick to and that have really helped me along the way.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, that's awesome. I think like you said earlier, you're always learning and I'm definitely always learning as well. So like, this is not, you know, a perfect process. And it's, that's perfection is not even the goal. I think learning is all part of the fun and and I think in that, you know, keeping that in mind, like if people hear your tips, and they think like, that's super helpful. I've got a good starting point. But you know, there's still a lot I'm not quite sure how to go about or I just don't even have the time to do this for myself. And so they want to work with you like, what would be your process like, do you want them to start with your website? How do you want them to reach out to you?

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Good question. I check everything, okay. People have requested thrift trips through Instagram. They've done it through the my website, so honestly, anything is fine, whether it's Instagram DM email, my email is on my website is on my Instagram bio. Well, you can hit that button on you know on the person's Instagram homepage. and message them directly through that, again, on my on my website, thrift and prosper.com There is a personal search section, there's also a contact section. So whatever way is most best for, for you all,

Katie Kurpanek:

you make it easy for everybody. That's so great.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

That is what I hope to do.

Katie Kurpanek:

much fun for you. But it's really going to be benefiting a lot of people in the process. So thank you for sharing all of your you know, thrifting wisdom today.

Ugochi Nwaneri:

Yay. Thank you so much for having me. This is so fun. And I really love what your your podcast is all about, sustainability on different realms of our lives. So I'm really happy I was able to share some tips about thrifting and sustainable fashion.

Katie Kurpanek:

Thank you. I appreciate that so much. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If so please consider sharing it with a friend and subscribing to the podcast so you never miss a new episode. Check out the description for important links. And if you'd like to benefit from the perks of becoming a patron to the show, check out patreon.com/all Things sustainable. Until next time, do the best you can with what you have and remember that you can make a positive impact on this world one day at a time.