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A Thrifty Steal

Student’s online store sells revamped clothing

By ShelSmith
On April 20, 2012

For the lovers of thrift shopping, a new online women's shop may be the go-to place for vintage finds.

A Thrifty Steal, which opened its doors in mid-October, has gained recognition with its customized vintage finds from color-blocked sweaters and printed blazers to parachute pants.

Shop owner and University of Memphis Junior Andrea Everett is new to the fashion industry.

"I was studying to be a pharmacist at Xavier University and transferred to Memphis thinking that I would continue pursuing that career," Everett said.  

After transferring, her interests changed from medicine to fashion.          

Everett changed her major to fashion merchandising, and soon after got the idea to start her own vintage clothing business.

"I'm an avid shopper at Goodwill, and when I would purchase clothing from there, I would revamp them and make them my own. I figured other people would enjoy what I do, so I made an account on bigcartel(.com) and hoped for the best," she said.

After making a Twitter and Facebook account, and promoting herself through friends and family, A Thrifty Steal was noticed not only in Memphis, but in surrounding states too.

"One of my first customer's was from Alabama, and I was so surprised she had even heard of my business," Everett said.

After her first customer, Everett said, A Thrifty Steal took off. She had her first YouTube review done by Monique, a video blogger who reviews clothing, hair products and make-up.

 "Being recognized has probably been the most flattering thing that has happened. It's an accomplishment when someone appreciates the work I put into the clothing," Everett said.        

Everett goes shopping for new merchandise every week.

"Keeping the site updated with new pieces helps to keep my customers coming back," Everett said.

 Right now, a big seller on her site are distressed denim shorts that can be bleached and, or studded.

"A lot of work goes into customizing the shorts. From shopping for the correct sizes to cutting them, to destroying or detailing them; I try my best to make them so both the customer and I are satisfied," Everett said.

When choosing clothes for her shop, Everett uses her personal style as reference for what she wants to sell.

"I would say my style is edgy-chic, and I believe the pieces that I choose to sell reflect that," Everett said, noting she uses her imagination to piece together outfits that are out of the ordinary. "For example, instead of pairing a colored blazer with dress pants, I would put it with a pair of denim slasher shorts with combat boots for a 90's grunge feel."

Everett likes to choose clothing with details from the 60's to the 90's so her clothes can be worn by all ages, she said. Because the clothing has a vintage feel, it is not tailored to a certain age group.

"Although women in the 20 to 28 age group are the main ones purchasing the clothes," she said, "I think that any age group can wear most of the apparel. I mean, older women used to rock this style back in the day. Why not keep it up?"

Pimberly Smith, 48, said A Thrifty Steal's clothing reminds her of the clothing that was popular when she was a child.

"I would buy these clothes for my daughter to show her that I did have style back then and still do," Smith said.

Everett said that within the next five years, she plans to open a physical store in Memphis. She said she encourages those who are thinking of owning a business to start it fast and attack it full force.

"Like my mother always used to tell me, 'Nothing beats a failure like a try,'" she said. "If you're good in your craft, things will happen eventually."

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