MADE TO LAST —a content series exploring the concept of longevity and how it applies to our lives and businesses. Through featured interviews, brand spotlights and community conversations, together we’ll dig into ideas, perspectives and practices around sustainability, self-sufficiency, and living more with less.
The third edition of this series highlights secondhand shopping and how the act of doing so helps to combat a culture of excess. Ale Hernandez, the founder of Vintage Butterfly, an online thrift store was so kind to invite us into her world and shed some light on a practice that we all should be partaking in more. TL;DR? Click here to view the brand spotlight video we produced (60 seconds).
Keep reading to learn Ale’s inspiration behind starting Vintage Butterfly, why keeping clothing and home goods out of landfills matters, and how to become a savvy secondhand shopper yourself!
On your journey and relationship with conscious consumption. —What inspired you to create Vintage Butterfly? Have you always been a savvy vintage shopper?
Oof! Starting strong with the first question. I can say that a lot of things have inspired me in this journey and I keep finding different sources of inspiration to this day. I remember growing up my mom would take me to secondhand stores in Mexico (where I grew up) and I would just get so excited every time we were going! I think my mom inspired me a lot and maybe we used to buy secondhand because of lack of money but for me it was fun. So yes, I think I have always loved buying secondhand.
When I moved to the states I started selling my own clothes via depop (another platform/app for resellers); it was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot but I had to stop because life got busy. Once the pandemic started life slowed down and I remembered I knew of a local girl here in town that was selling vintage stuff on Instagram. She inspired me so much to start my own insta-thrift store. Everyone should follow her —@thriftylov_.
So, now here I am after a year and a half, I love what I do and never thought Vintage Butterfly was going to get this far. I am incredibly thankful.
“I remember growing up my mom would take me to secondhand stores in Mexico (where I grew up) and I would just get so excited every time we were going! Maybe we used to buy secondhand because of lack of money, but for me it was always fun.“
On investing in pieces that are made to last. —From fashion to home goods, what do you look for when thrifting and shopping for new (old) items? What do you value as a consumer?
What do I look for? Everything! I honestly walk every aisle of the thrift store and sometimes multiple times because you never know what you will find. With time I have learned what my customers like so I keep my eyes open for the things that I know they will love! I love vintage and look for quality in the material of the pieces. I also love going to a store that is color coordinated or really organized. This makes the job a little easier.
“What do I look for? Everything! I honestly walk every aisle of the thrift store and sometimes multiple times because you never know what you will find.”
On thrifting as a solution to combating a culture of excess. —By thrifting, we’re helping to reclaim and upcycle clothes that might otherwise end up in landfills. What do you wish more people knew about this practice [of second-hand shopping]?
I wish people knew that you actually are helping. You might think it doesn’t make a difference to buy secondhand but it does! You are making a difference!
On making the switch. —While it can be easier to shop new, the question of whether or not to do so has become a more ethical consideration. On the flip side, knowing how to thrift can be intimidating. What tricks of the trade do you have for those who might be just starting out?
Oh man! We all have good and bad days right? It’s the same with thrifting. Instead of overthinking it just go. Go with no expectations and with an open mind… you will be surprised by what you can find. Also, check every section and have fun while you treasure hunt! I have found so many amazing pieces in the men’s section or in a section that normally someone would not check. If you leave with nothing don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up. With time and experience, you will love it!