Second to none

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But the germ of the idea was sowed much earlier when Sankholli was part of a seminar on fast fashion in her college last year. “The talk and documentary ‘The True Cost’ by filmmaker Andrew Morgans was an eye-opener for me. I was shocked when I learned that fashion was the second most polluting industry in the world. So I started researching on what I could do to not contribute to this and thrifting came through as one of the options,” she says. This July she came across a thrift store on Instagram based out of Bengaluru. She loved the idea and decided to start a similar one in Goa and roped in Prabhudessai and Jaggi to be a part of it. “We’ve always wanted to work towards sustainable living so this seemed like the perfect way,” says Sankholli.

To sell items to Your Little Shop, those interested have to mention what the original price of the time was, how long it was used, if there are any defects, and also send pictures of the items. “We judge the quality based on pictures. We then compare the product prices to what’s available online and set a rate accordingly. We try to keep the rate lower than 40 per cent to what’s available as these are second hand,” says Sankholli. Once the rate is negotiated, they then post the item on the page and promote it to get a buyer. Once a buyer is found, they pick up the item to be donated/sold from their seller’s residence. Then it reaches the respective buyer. COVID precautions are followed.

“We have a return policy where you can return the item if you call within 24 hours of the delivery and state your reason. We are also planning to create an option where the seller can physically mail us the item before we promote them,” says Sankholli

However, she does admit that given that they are students at the moment it is a little difficult to manage studies with this venture. They also have issues where people try to negotiate higher prices to sell their items.

Apart from this, they have also started a series called ‘Afterthought’ which is an awareness programme on the effects of purchases on different aspects of the environment.

“Slow fashion is taking control of your life as a person. It is freeing not to get carried away by marketing gimmicks that play us and the environment for profit. If every individual does this we can be closer to actually making a difference about climate change,” says Sankholli. And some ways in which one can try to be more conscious about fashion choices, she advises, is to care more about local brands then multinational ones, and about the material. “Buying natural fibres is recommended as synthetic fibres will wash down into oceans and kill marine ecosystems,” she says.

Going forward, Your Little Shop wants to get more involved in promoting sustainable living. “We are trying to promote volunteering to NGOs and have started to post DIY recycling projects. Once this pandemic is over we will also try to have clean-up drives and promote local sustainable products,” says Sankholli.

Seconds to Go

Another new born online thrift store, Seconds to Goa (StG) is an initiative started by Tarika Kiran and a friend. They have now branched out into a group of five.

The aim of the store, says Kiran, is to give conscious consumers an opportunity to shop sustainably, save money and find some great bargains. “In the process, clients become active earth-healers, too!” she says.

StG accepts all kinds of things from books, clothes, personal accessories, kitchenware, home décor, electronics, sport gear, etc.

“People who have preloved goods call us. We ask them to first send us details of the items along with photographs. We then mutually agree on the quality and confirm which items will be picked up. The owner packs them in an open box for easy visibility and minimum contact. Then we go through the process of cleaning, sorting and washing if required. Photography of the items follow, before the final listing,” says Kiran. In coordination with the owner of the item, a suitable price is set.

So far, they have had a very good response, she says. “I think people have started viewing life in a different and more sustainable way, these days. With the new normal being fashioned daily, society has started to at least consider alternate options and alternate living. But as a race, we humans still need to do more,” says Kiran.

Free Give Away Stuff Goa

If you’re looking to donate or get free second hand goods, one can check out Free Give Away Stuff Goa, a Facebook group which began in June and has a membership already hitting 9.3K.

“In COVID times with finances being constrained for many, instead of buying stuff this is a perfect platform to find second hand goods. We also believe that a clutter-free space is a positive space,” says Carol Mathias who started the group together with her husband Llyod Rebello.

To donate, one simply has to click pictures of the items you want to give away. Those interested comment on the post and later fix a convenient time and place for the exchange to happen.

Given that one is interacting with strangers online to donate or get the second hand items, Mathias states that they educate members not to allow strangers into their homes but to hand over the stuff to the complex security, or at another location so the collector won’t know their exact address. “For large items we ask members to have a known person around with them in the house when items are being collected. We also have a strict policy on harassment and remove the member immediately upon receiving valid proof,” she says. COVID safety measures are also advocated.

Being an online platform, the admins also instruct members to be courteous in discussions. Trolls are immediately removed. But this rarely happens, says Mathias.

And the duo has been amazed at the generosity that they have witnessed on this group. “Anything and everything is finding a new home and owner and that’s proof enough for us to know that Goa is ready for preloved stuff. We have a range of free stuff posted by members such as newspapers right up to laptops, washing machines and even a motor cycle given for free,” says Mathias. And they are also constantly learning through the group members.

“We love our group and have built some great friendships along the way already,” she says.