Second Hand September: Alice Brazendale from Thrift Hunter

 Secondhand September interview with Thrift Hunter

Alice Brazendale from Thrift Hunter. Image supplied.

It’s no secret that I love op-shopping! Every weekend I’ll try and hit up at least one secondhand store while I’m wandering around doing errands and I truly believe thrifting has contributed to how my personal style has evolved over the years. This month, it’s Second Hand September and I chatted with local gal Alice Brazendale who runs Thrift Hunter, an online reseller platform based in Waikato. She loves travelling to see what the rest of Aotearoa has to offer in unique hand-picked secondhand gems and then she sells them on her popular Instagram account.

Happy Second Hand September Alice! Love your work, and I think it’s so magical to see so many people getting into the world of thrifting/op-shopping. Tell us about Thrift Hunter and why you decided to start it?
I have always loved op-shopping since my early teens. Thrift Hunter started by selling pieces from my personal wardrobe while being an active op-shopper, getting rid of my old for the new-old, and once things started picking up I realised I could begin handpicking items to sell as a business. Op shopping is where its at, a place that doesn’t have 100 things of only one design, a store that has pieces dating decades back. It gives you the space to explore your style as an individual and not feel pressured to give in to fast-fashion ‘trends’. I think people see secondhand as just old, used and not so cute. To me, it’s the complete opposite. I want to show people what’s out there in the op shops, to inspire them to get out there themselves. I want Thrift Hunter to be a place where you can explore your style and get ideas from how I style secondhand items. I always want to inspire others to dress in whatever makes them feel like themselves and be confident with whatever that may be.

Second Hand September is all about encouraging shoppers to rethink their purchases for 30 days, saying no to fast fashion and new items, instead opting for a second-hand gem if you are looking to buy something. It’s also to raise awareness about the harmful effects of fast fashion on our planet and the people who make our clothes. How does it feel knowing that you’re contributing to this positive change and influencing others to buy secondhand?
In the past, I used to buy a lot of fast fashion so I get it, it’s accessible and affordable. This is why I think that it’s pretty amazing how online second hand has become the ‘new’ way of accessing a more ethical way of shopping. With online platforms, those that may not have the time or access to an op shop get a chance to support buying second-hand. The community online are so informative and supportive of the store, other resellers and shoppers. To be told that I’m someone’s first choice when trying to find an item is crazy to me and I’m so grateful.

 Secondhand September interview with Thrift Hunter

Thrifted pieces from Alice’s Thrift Hunter account.

I love how successful your Instagram account is, your buyers seem to go bonkers for the unique pieces you put up. Are you surprised by how quickly items get sold?
It’s crazy how fast things go nowadays. I would say I’m pretty used to it now but it definitely still blows my mind from time to time. My customers have a challenge getting the pieces they’re after, but when they do get an item they love, I feel it makes it that more special.

How much of the items do you keep vs. how much do you sell? What’s your favourite piece you’ve found that is in your collection?
This would be one of the biggest challenges as a reseller and I think other resellers would agree. I work hard at trying not to keep pieces and if I do, I will swap it with a piece from my wardrobe, the one in one out strategy. I probably keep a few pieces every few weeks or at least get one wear out of the item before I put it on Thrift Hunter. My favourite piece at the moment is this amazing orange vintage blazer, it’s one of those timeless pieces that make you feel amazing every time you put it on.

 Secondhand September interview with Thrift Hunter

Thrifted pieces from Alice’s Thrift Hunter account.

As with all thrifting, it really is about the thrill of the hunt, and sometimes you’ll go ‘shopping’ and come home with nothing. What are your top tips for finding that golden item?
Unfortunately, this is something that occasionally still happens to me. I always have an idea of what I’m looking for that day and I’m quite particular when searching for pieces I want for Thrift Hunter. It does happen to come down to luck most days – right time, right place. But what I would say, and I’ve said this on Thrift Hunter before, is to try pieces you wouldn’t normally try, because that could end up being your ‘golden’ find.

There’s a lot of discussion going around about how difficult it can be to find fun plus-size second-hand clothing – what are your thoughts on this topic and how can larger babes find cool second-hand pieces that they’ll cherish?
There definitely is a shortage in plus size around, for both first-hand and second-hand, but I don’t want that to demotivate plus size babes because there are still some amazing pieces out there waiting to be found! A lot of op shops now have a ‘curve’ range and although sometimes there aren’t a lot of amazing pieces, there may be a hidden gem in there for you. My main tip for plus-size beauties (and all other sizes) would be to not limit yourself to one section based on whatever the sign says on the rack. Op shops are covered with pieces all around, so always check everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE.

Before you do a buying trip do you make any ‘shopping lists’ or have specific items, fabrics, colours you’re looking out for? What does the process look like for you?
If I’m shopping for myself I definitely right a list of styles or pieces I’m looking for. For Thrift Hunter, because I try and aim for all sizes and styles, I don’t write a list but I do have an idea of what I’m after and what I’m wanting to put out to the audience. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to have certain items because that can be quite overwhelming when your shopping a few times a week for multiple items each time.

 Secondhand September interview with Thrift Hunter

Thrifted pieces from Alice’s Thrift Hunter account.

Do you find yourself mending or upcycling many items before selling them?
Vintage pieces, I’ll buy to sell if it only needs minor mends. I can fix a button or a hole (sometimes), but to be honest with you, I’m not very good at it. That’s why you’ll see me disclose things I can’t fix, in the ‘coming-up’ videos I post or in the caption. It is a goal of mine to keep experimenting with up cycling, so that one day I can sell my reworked pieces on Thrift Hunter. As for now, I’m happily enjoying having personal projects for myself.

Do you have a few thrifting hotspots you love to visit that you can share with us?
Honestly, any Salvation Army store in NZ, The Family Stores are my go to favourites!

What’s the one ‘OMG’ item that you’ve found recently?
The day after we got out of lockdown I found this incredible baby blue vintage pantsuit! Honestly, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Check out Thrift Hunter on Instagram for her 7 pm clothing drops but be quick! Those pieces are priced well and they go quickly!

Images supplied.

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