When it comes to thrift and second-hand clothing buying and selling South Africa seems to lag behind other countries. Where overseas there’s platforms that allow you to load items to sell and send them to a buyer, here things get a little trickier. Any platform I’ve tried in the past either didn’t work or disappeared after a few months, leaving social media as the main option for a thrift platform.
I’ve since learnt, it is possible to thrift and sell second hand clothing here, you just have to know where and how. I asked Lisa Hoggarth, founder of Honey Thrift Appeal, a Durban based thrift store if she’d share her secrets; and she happily divulged.
How did you get into thrifting?
When I lived in the UK I noticed there was a huge market for thrifting. Thrifting isn’t new over there. They have charity shops at every corner which sell everything! One day I went into Oxfam Charity shop in London and noticed they had stock of some of the most high-end clothing brands like Tom Ford, Channel and Dior. I was amazed! When I came back home, I wanted to bring that aspect with me, little did I know there is a HUGE market here for preloved clothing, just not a lot of people know it exists! I made it my mission to create a community of local Thrift stores on Instagram. I also have a WhatsApp community that has really amazed me, it’s called Thrifting 101, and oh my has it flourished!
What are the best ways to sell second hand clothing in South Africa?
It all depends on the seller. Some thrift stores sell at markets and do really well. I have done well on instagram where I have an amazing community who love and support my page. There is also a South African App called YAGA, it’s a preloved clothing platform and I find it amazing for selling name branded clothing. I find that instagram works for me best because I have established a relationship with my customers that I struggle to manage on YAGA.
What are your favourite thrift stores in South Africa?
In Durban we have the most amazing SPCA, it’s filled with amazing gems! Some days you go in and spend 5 hours and walk away with one item, but on other days you may only have 30 minutes and you walk away with a full bag. The local Hospice is wonderful as well, I’ve noticed the SPCA send a lot of their name branded items to them.
What should you look out for when buying second hand clothing?
Items that are high-end like Chanel. Also look for Woolworths as they are known for selling classics and basic wardrobe essentials. Zara, Cotton on, H&M, Topshop are all garments to look for, but also remember they do not all have quality stock, so keep that in mind.
What are the items you always buy thrifted?
Jeans! At the moment mom and boyfriend jeans are huge! They are such a flattering garment I feel won’t go out of fashion anytime soon. Vintage jackets and coats are also good finds. A good pair of sneakers can be a find as well as high end accessories like hand bags. In summer look out for maxi dresses.
What are your guidelines for selling an item rather than throwing it away or donating?
1. Check for any damage to the item. Damaged items that can’t be fixed are thrown out.
2. Look closely at the quality. If it’s not good quality it won’t sell. If the quality is unrepairable then I throw it or give it to H&M as they use any old ripped materials and make something out of them for charity.
3. Looks vs functionality. If something will fulfil the function but is not really appealing then I donate, but quality is important.
What would you never buy second hand?
I buy almost anything second hand excluding underwear and socks. Otherwise anything and everything!
You can find Honey Thrift Appeal on Instagram @honeythriftappeal