Shifting to Thrifting

Rocklin student Joanne Pe’s entrepreneurial journey to having a small business


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Carnival of Connections
October 20, 2021

Photo provided by Joanne Pe

Need new, but sustainable clothes? Joanne Pe, a senior at Rocklin High School, turned her passion into a profession by initiating the start of her own thrifting business over quarantine. She runs this business through an account on Instagram, reaching customers through her posts on social media. Inspiration struck Pe during one of her thrifting trips in July, and made her realize that she could sell the clothing she was finding.

 “I started on Depop actually, but Depop takes like twenty percent of your earnings. So it’s not that profitable. I turned to Instagram and I have a lot bigger of a market there because I have a lot of friends on Instagram,” Pe expressed. Pe started this business locally but over time it grew, allowing for her to make new friends through the thrifting community. 

Even though the process of running an online business may seem easy to some people, it’s more challenging and time consuming than expected. When asked about the responsibilities, Pe said:

“I have to be on Instagram the entire day because I get DMs constantly… thrifting of course takes a lot of time, and then you have to package everything and go to the Post Office… I do deliveries and have to take pictures too.” 

One of the biggest difficulties that Pe faces is being consistent about posting. Pe revealed that,“If I’m not posting for like a month period where I didn’t do anything, that brings my engagement down so much.” Therefore, the profits of Joanne’s business are directly linked to her levels of activity on social media.

I actually have a part-time job aside from the thrift business and I make more from thrifting than my part-time job

Additionally, there is lots of frustration when someone backs out of an order, “I just end up going to the next highest bidder… if everyone backs out then I post again for the set price on Depop. Depop is always like my backup.”

When it comes to seeing how this business will progress long term, that is still up in the air. Joanne Pe shared that she wants to venture outside of the thrifting world and into different territories:

“I don’t necessarily want to do thrifting the entire time because it takes a lot of time out of my day… I got into sewing recently [and] I kind of want to make my own stuff, like a sustainable brand, but we’ll see how that goes.”

She isn’t quite sure what she wants to make yet, however, her general idea is to keep up with trends and make them sustainable. 

When focusing on the profits coming from her thrifting business, you could say it is very successful. “I actually have a part-time job aside from the thrift business and I make more from thrifting than my part-time job,” Pe explained. In addition to the monetary gain of running this business, Pe finds joy in her work, and declared that, “it’s also really rewarding so even if I’m spending a lot of time on it, it is worth it to me because there’s a lot of people that are my friends and will be like, ‘I wore your clothes today.’”

 Not only did this business affect Pe’s income and social life, but her style as well. Pe said, “before I was not very adventurous with the things that I was wearing, but when it came to going to a thrift store, you see a lot of stuff that is new and kind of unique.” On the other hand, it is often difficult to find certain trendy pieces, “if you’re going at the right time, the right place, sometimes you get really lucky but it can be hard because there’s just a lot of stuff so you really have to look,” Pe shared from her own personal experience.

Feel free to check her out at @joannesthrifts on Instagram.