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Resale shopping not just thrifty, but socially conscious, too

Thrifting is more than just a way to get cheap clothes for millennials. It's also a way to be socially conscious.

It’s a movement that's been gaining momentum since the recession in 2008 and research shows the resale shopping market could reach up to $41 billion dollars by 2022. While thrifting used to be thought of by many as unsavory, it is now a popular way to shop for millennials. Some are even calling it an “art” and a “thrill." One thing is for sure, it’s saving millennials big money.

Amanda Gray is a college student in central Arkansas who shops secondhand at Plato’s Closet regularly. Plato’s is a resale shop geared toward millennials and younger generations and offers 50%-70% off of standard retail prices.

“It’s really important to save money and look good at the same time,” said Gray.

Gray is not alone. Cody Jones loved shopping secondhand and Plato’s Closet so much that he eventually got a job there and became a manager.

“Just about everything I wear is from there,” said Jones.

Jones, a millennial, said that many people in his generation want to constantly keep up with trends. Because that can get expensive, they buy used clothes. Recent research backs Jones’ assessment. A recent study by the online secondhand clothing resale giant, thredUP, shows people 18-25 love to have a fresh, new wardrobe and so they typically only wear a piece of clothing 1 to 5 times.

“There are regulars that come in a few times a week especially to buy shoes and stuff like that,” said Jones. “That's a really big market for us.”

The thredUP study showed millennials not only choose thrifting to keep up with the constantly changing trends, but they choose to thrift for the environmental reasons. Thrifting allows clothes to be reused and not thrown away, which helps cut on waste and can stop the overflow of landfills. This is especially important as new research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans dispose of about 10.5 million tons of textiles annually.

While millennials like going green they also like making the green. That's why Jones says Plato’s gives customers cash on the spot for their clothes.

“There are a lot of younger people coming in selling their stuff,” he said.

Selling clothes at Plato’s is what Gray does to save money, make money, and have an ever-changing wardrobe.

“Trends come and go so fast, but you can keep up with them and make money off of them too,” she said.” You can get your money back in a way.”

It’s not just places like Plato’s Closet attracting millennials, it’s timeless thrift stores like Goodwill. A CBS News report says young shoppers are helping breathe new life into thrift stores like Goodwill, not only by buying there but also donating big-ticket items that have been handed down or gifted to them.

Kerri Nettles, Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Goodwill of Arkansas, said younger people are coming in and shopping at Goodwill stores in central Arkansas more often.

“There are a lot of boyfriend and girlfriend pairs coming in together and others are coming in groups,” said Nettles.

Nettles said a big reason more young people are shopping there is for steep discounts on brand name items.

“Many items donated still have the tags on them,” Nettles said.

THV11’s Amanda Jaeger visited the Markham and Bowman store during the week. In just a couple of minutes, she found $165 dollar jeans with the tags still on them for $25 dollars. She also found $80 dollar work slacks for $10. There were many other clothing items all priced under $6 dollars.

But, it’s not just the great deals bringing young people to Goodwill, it’s the great causes they support.

The thredUP study also showed that millennials like shopping at places because of the causes stores support. Goodwill, for example, provides money for Arkansas’s only adult high school that enables adults to get diplomas and job training.

“There are so many great things that come with every pair of pants and shirts sold,” said Nettles.

Shopping for a cause is what got Live Thankfully started. It’s an upscale resale shop that donates all their profits to help women and children directly in the Little Rock community. That’s why Bethany Eason chooses to shop there over other retailers.

“When you know that your money is going toward something that will be helpful for the community or to just help one person, for me that’s a big deal,” Eason said.

Kimberly Cook, Executive Director of Live Thankfully, said millennials tell her that Live Thankfully’s work in the community is the primary reason they love to shop there along with the great deals and discounts.

"They want to look great and they want those high-end labels but at a fraction of the cost,” she said.

There are also a lot of websites doing resale now that are marketing to millennial shoppers. Some of the top resale shops online are thredUp, Poshmark and Facebook marketplace. They allow people to sell and buy secondhand products online and most ship them right to your doorstep.

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