For two teens, the concept of thrifting, or thrift shopping and selling online, has transformed into something more than an inexpensive way to replace their wardrobe or earn some extra money.
Kristen (KC) Concepcion and Caily Hernandez, both 16, started their personal Instagram closet, @kandccloset on Instagram, in August a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The government’s response shut down schools, interscholastic sports, along with retail stores and other businesses where students might get a part time job.
Concepcion said it was “a way to make money to save for the future because my plans for the summer were ruined due to COVID.”
Hernandez said she “needed a fun, productive activity to keep me occupied.”
The duo found something more.
They have grown to love the community they’re now a part of as a small Instagram business, they said.
“KC and I have met and connected with so many wonderful people along this journey as closet owners. I really don’t think we would be who we are today if we haven’t started this in August. Although short, the time and experiences we’ve shared will forever be remembered,” Hernandez remarked.
The duo aren’t the only ones to take thrifting online.
They are part of a surge in what are called “Instagram closets” or Instagram accounts through which people post and sell their used or pre-loved belongings for discounted prices, ranging anywhere from clothes to organizers to hair care products.
It’s the thrift store selling concept on a virtual platform.
Concepcion and Hernandez have gained nearly 800 followers and the support of many. The items they sell are “usually posted with information and a price that can be negotiated. After the items are purchased, they’re sanitized and delivered safely to the customer,” Concepcion said.
The pair have kept the pandemic in mind and take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both themselves and their customers before meeting them to deliver their items.
“We sanitize and wash every item we list for sale. Upon the delivery of the customer’s items, we wear masks and gloves and require our customers to wear a mask as well. As an extra step, we sanitize the money we receive or distribute to make sure we are being 100% safe,” Hernandez said.
They also encourage their customers to meet only if they are healthy.
The pair’s success as an Instagram closet, as well as the success of many other Instagram closets, has inspired others, teens and adults alike to participate in this ever-growing online community of thrifters. The number of Instagram closets with owners looking to thrift their used items and acquire some thrifted items of their own, increases with each day.
Small business community
Like some of those within this community, Concepcion and Hernandez’s motivation has evolved since their launch in August.
Aside from their need for productive occupation and a source of income, they have grown to enjoy managing their Instagram closet, not as a job, but as a way to stay connected and interactive with their community.
“Managing this closet gives me a reason to get out of the house, be active, and safely interact with the community,” said Concepcion on what motivates her to run her joint Instagram closet.
The three months in business has connected them with a community consisting of not only other thrifters but also with other small, local businesses, especially those that operate through Instagram.
For them, the community of small businesses on Instagram is mutual and uplifting, with everyone giving and receiving support from one another.
Concepcion said “supporting small businesses is another thing that motivates us.”
“We believe that our mutual connection with these people is so genuine. You’ll never question whether your favor will be returned,” Concepcion said.
“I know how good it feels to have support from people you don’t even know. It’s a really special feeling knowing that you’re supporting someone and making them happy,” Hernandez said. “It’s a kind community full of even kinder people.”