Why We Thrift - Jasmine


Meet Jasmine! Jasmine moved to Oahu from Alabama a few months ago. I came across her instagram via Goodwill Hawaii, fell in love with her feed, and let her know so. She immediately suggested we go thrifting together. Since then we’ve been a few times, and she might be more obsessed with it than I am. In thinking about what next steps I wanted to take with the blog, I really wanted to share why people love to thrift, choose to thrift, or even have to thrift by speaking to various thrifters about their various reasons. Jasmine was, of course, the first person to come to mind. It was amazing to get to hear a bit of her story, how she came to love thrifting, and how it’s helped her with identity and self expression.

We met for her fave, Mexican food, and got to chatting:

Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Jasmine. I'm a birth doula.

How often do you go thrifting?

I thrift, probably... It really seems like everyday! We have Monday through Sunday, out of that week span I probably go to the thrift store about four times a week. Literally.

Do you go to the same one?

Yeah. And then I get annoyed...

When they don't have new stuff?

Yeah! But I also started kind of like "thrifting" on Facebook Marketplace.

I love Facebook Marketplace. I can't do clothes online for some reason, but furniture and home decor stuff I like. People can be aggressive on there though.

Oh I'm that person! If somebody posted something, I immediate message them that automatic message… Until someone responds back and I'm like nah I don't like that. I drove all the way to Kailua. It was far from me. 45 minutes. In the middle of the night.

For what?

It's a red nightstand in my room. It was $5

So you put in the work so it wouldn't be expensive. That's worth it right?

Oh yeah yeah yeah of course. So I did it in the middle of the night. The guy was like, "you can come get it now if you want." He set it on the step, I just knocked on the door, handed him the five. I took it and I put it in my car.

Wait. Why was this in the middle of the night?

Well he said it had to be gone by the morning or he was dumping it.

When do you think you started thrifting?

It's very funny. I think I shared this on my insta story recently when I was talking to somebody about thrifting. I was asking people why they do or don't thrift... So when I was younger my mom would go to thrift stores on Saturday morning with her friends. And one of my mom's friends, her name was Renee. And so we would get up early in the morning, we would eat breakfast, we would pack up some little lunches, and we would get there before the thrift store opened. Thrift store opened at 9, we would get there at 8 o'clock, wait in the car, or 8:30. And so I was always going in her [Renee’s] closet. She really taught me thrifting, her and my mom.

Literally what they would do was they would shop outfits. They would never buy pieces, because you know, they were working women. Anyway, you walk into her closet... It was like clothes. everywhere.

Was it a huge closet?

No. It wasn't huge.

She just crammed it all in there?

She just crammed it all in there. It was not organized. It was just like thrift madhouse. One thing she taught me was, both her and my mom: Before you put anything on your body you wash it.

And then on top of that she would detox her clothes every few weeks, you know? So anyway she was always sharp. And my mom would thrift for us when we were kids, you know 'cause she was a young parent. Her and my dad couldn't afford to go shopping at the nice places. People would always ask, “Where'd you get her stuff?” and she would say “thrift store!” That's when I was first exposed, but when I really started thrifting was in high school.

Why High school?

Okay let me tell you about this journey... In high school in like senior year, my friend would always go thrifting. He would always find like overalls and things like that… So we would skip lunch. We would skip school during lunch time and we would go thrifting.

Hahaha! Did you eat?

Yes. We would stop at McDonald’s, put it in our bags, and go thrifting. Every Monday and Friday we would go. And we were doing that for hours, and so that was like really when I was like kinda starting to get into it, but it wasn't til like college that I felt like I needed to really thrift because one thing about college: people don't have money. And then on top of that, everybody goes to the mall and buys the same outfit on the mannequin at Body Central, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21 and all of that. People would buy stuff off the mannequin, so everybody had the same dress, and so that's when I really started. Yeah. College.

To find something else.

Yeah to find something that everyone didn't have... So if I was looking for like a club dress, I would go and find my dress at the thrift store. while everybody else was like "Oh my gosh I spent $40, $50 dollars at this store to find a club dress!” And I found me something for like $8 if that.

This is the big overarching question: Why do you thrift?

I feel like I can find things that are a little more my style for an affordable price. When I go to a thrift store, I feel like I have clothes that actually speak to my style You know? Versus at a regular store, I can tell that [a piece is] an imitation of what the 90's used to be like. If I want to go into the 90's, If I want to go into the 40's, If I want to go into the 50's, whatever I feel like doing that day, the thrift store will show me. So it helps me create a wardrobe that reflects my individuality and exactly who I am, versus just me trying to look or be like someone else. and if I want to, I can, but I think the reason I thrift is just because it helps me with identity. It helps me find clothes that fit in my budget. It's like getting the best of both worlds. It helps the funds, and also helps with my style.

A birth doula and a four times a week thrifter, among many other things, Jasmine has a number of passions that we ended up talking about balancing, prioritizing and portraying on her social media:

Now I have ideas, like thrifting ideas…. And it's like okay, so you're into thrifting, but how can you incorporate everything you do into one thing? Because I feel like I have too many things that I like to do

Too many interests?

Too many interests. How can I incorporate them into everything? I like doula work, and women's empowerment stuff, and I also like thrifting. How can I incorporate all of that into one? So that's what I'm tryna work on now, figuring out how can I do everything all at once so it won't be all over the place, so that people see me, what I do they know what it is.

I think it's also okay to do multiple things.

And that's another thing. I'm trying to give myself grace, because I feel like you don't have to be that one way. I'm not, and I won't ever be. It's just too many things that I'm passionate about. And I know people are like, “Thrifting? How are you passionate about that?” But thrifting saved a lot for me. It's helped with identity. It's helped with a lot of things, because even when I first went natural, I had no hair. My hair was short. I shaved my hair all the way off. Through that I had to figure out my identity, ...style wise, and I could do that with thrifting. I was able to seek that out. And other people might think you could do that in a regular store, but I couldn't…

What I felt like I was, and what I felt like I wanted to portray was not in a regular store.

I have my fingers crossed for more thrifting content from Jasmine. I loved hearing her story, and what thrifting has meant for her throughout the different stages of her life. Why do you thrift? Similar style or identity reasons? To save money? To save the planet? Let me know! Seriously, let me know. I'd love to hear and share more stories.

You can find Jasmine on instagram @theafroqueen.

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