Recycled fashion

Madi Nesham, senior, was inspired to start an Instagram business, which has now turned into a website, Thrifted Brand.

In Madi Nesham’s, senior, sophomore year, she was assigned a final project in entrepreneurship, requiring her to create a fake business. For that assignment, she created Thrifted Threads on Instagram. Now, Nesham has completely rebranded and built her company into a full-blown website.

“Over time I found a passion for the business so I made it a real thing,” Nesham said. 

In April of 2019, Tessa Miller, a former Liberty Live Wire staff member, wrote an article on The Live Wire “ Making ham on the gram”, about Nesham’s Instagram business. The article states that “[s]he shops locally and cheap, making sure the clothes are in good quality and good condition. Each item is listed with its condition, alerting the buyers exactly what they are purchasing.

The stores she shops from include ‘mainly goodwill, but also places like Stuff Etc. or thrift stores in Iowa City that I go to sometimes,’ said Nesham.”

My main [goal] is keeping clothes out of landfills or making old items look new again.”

— Madison Nesham

Starting a business takes a lot of work and there are lots of things to consider when planning and creating, as to how the owner will fund the necessities for it to run successfully. Having a business it takes passion to want to do and being willing to throw in the extra workload. There are no “scheduled” hours when it comes to owning a business.

 “[It’s] not an easy thing in the start-up phases,” explained Zachary Hammes, one of Liberty’s business teachers. “It takes many hours of work.” 

Nesham made her website for Thrifted Brands to make payment and processing easier. When using an Instagram page, there is no programmed way to pay and take off items as they sell, and Nesham did all communication with customers through Instagram DMs.

“With switching to the site, I don’t have to DM back in forth with customers about paying with Venmo or Cash App. It’s a lot easier and organized for people to see my items and checkout is easier,” Nesham said.

The biggest priority when Nesham was making her website was making everything easy for customers to navigate the website with categories, access to coupon codes, and for Nesham to keep track of items sold.

Thrifting is a great alternative to buying new things at a cheaper price. Watercalculator.org states, an average American throws away  70 pounds of clothing every year and those items end up in landfills. 

“My main [goal] is keeping clothes out of landfills or making old items look new again,” Nesham said. 

Thrifting uses less energy, gives back to the community, and is cheaper. Nesham has been doing this for close to two years and has found and sold some very unique and trendy items like funky jewelry and purses, and even offers free shipping.

“Thrifting is way cheaper than buying new and you can actually find good stuff if you know what you are doing,” Danielle Christenson, senior and one of Nesham’s friends and customers, said.

Nesham used a lot of customer discovery when restyling her brand, trying to find out what types of marketing and items attract the most traffic and sales on the site. 

One item featured on ThriftedBrand.com

Nesham said, “It’s a struggle to find quality items that people will be interested in and taking good pictures to show off, plus the editing.”

How Nesham finds them is very time consuming and takes focus and creativity. 

Once the items are purchased from thrift stores Nesham takes them home to fix sewing and stains. One thing Nesham does when preparing items for the website is to alter them to give them a new look in life, this is how Nesham adds a personal touch.

Christenson has been a part of the website photo aspects, helping with putting pieces together to appeal to new and returning customers. Christenson has also modeled clothing on the site.

“[Thrifted Brand] has items for anyone, you can find lots of items for any style making it a very ‘open’ style place to shop. And all the items are in really good condition,” Christenson said.

As Nesham’s company, Thrifted Brand, has excelled, she has expanded her company base. Thrifted Brand has sold and shipped items to places in the US and Canada, and hopes to continue improving her customer base and marketing.