All of my adult life I have been a bargain hunter. I pride myself in finding deals and getting more bang for my buck. In all of my years however, I have never shopped at a Thrift Store. The idea of going thru all that merchandise, the notion of ‘used’ hovering over me, and my limited knowledge of second-hand shopping has led me to avoid it for a long time. Until…
Last year I was part of a fashion show that had emphasis on eco-fashion and ethical style. I met a lot of designers, small business owners and stylists who put together pieces that were socially responsible. I learned about safe and eco-friendly practices in clothing industry and about sustainable manufacturing practices. I got introduced to responsible labor practices and of course recycling of textiles versus disposable fashion. This event led me closer to a lovely and talented stylist Sara Stamschror-Lott. She was largely involved in putting together stylish pieces from one of the fashion show contributors Arc’s Value Village thrift store. Packed with knowledge, and determined to shop responsibly, I reached out to Sara recently and asked her to introduce me to thrifting.
Sara's amazing finds and creations from Sol Inspirations fashion show last year:
Other than being an awesome new mom, and an amazingly beautiful person inside and out, Sara is actually a talented personal shopper at Arc’s Value Village. She kindly agreed to meet with me and show me the ropes, as well as offer me some styling tips. Now, first thing I thought of when I heard personal shopper was most definitely a fee associated with this type of service. No worries my deal seekers, I learned that this perk comes free of charge at all of Arc’s Value Village locations. One person responsible for this awesome free service is Michelle Raven who started the personal shopping feature herself. She was a pioneer behind this move and due to its popularity, Arc's Value Village now has multiple stylists available and ready to help. There are currently 5 locations across metro; Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, New Hope, Richfield and St. Paul.
Sara rocking vintage style pieces
You can book your appointment by email to PersonalShopper@arcgreatertwincities.org. Before you arrive, and once you set up an appointment, you will be able to describe your personal style by using their comprehensive Style Profile. You will have a 75-minute session with your stylist, who will present you with special assortment of clothing items picked just for you. You will be able to try on the pieces, and buy only the items which you like. Unless you are like me and like all of them, then by all means shop away!
If this is not convincing enough, let me tell you a little bit more about Arc’s Value Village. They have been around for 30 years and have the most amazing customer service. Other than having a large selection of items for sale, the stores provide funding for The Arc Greater Twin Cities’ programs that help adults and children with disabilities, as well as the community. This is shopping smarter in a nutshell.
With a personal shopper and an open mind, Sara found me some amazing pieces that I just absolutely adored. Pictures below:
Glamin' it up!
We had fun with this party look. Think New Year's Eve, or just a night out with girlfriends.
Assortment of necklaces $4.99
Nine West shoes $14.49
Gucci Inspired clutch $8.49
THEIA sequin dress for a STEAL of $8.99 (retail price on similar THEIA dresses elsewhere is over $300)
Wear longer sweater, pair with tights and closed toe shoes for a more appropriate work look.
Banana Republic blazer $12.99
Rachel Roy STEAL shorts for $39.99 ( retail price on similar Rachel Roy style shorts elsewhere is over $200)
We had so much fun, and I know I will be coming back to Arc's Value Village real soon again. If you would like to give it a chance, I encourage you to check it out. If you are short on time, or if you know what you like, but simply are not sure how to put outfits together, then try a personal shopper.
If you have any question, please post a comment below or send me a private message. You can also follow both Sara and myself on Instagram.
Thank you for reading my post, and don't be discouraged to try something new. I am sure glad I did.