One of my quarantine finds was small-businesses with young aspiring entrepreneurs who support sustainability. As a preface, we need to understand what second-hand fashion is and its significance. Second-hand fashion is the art of repurposing clothes that would have collected in dumps and landfills. This is an eco-friendly and sustainable way to help the environment while fostering the growth of businesses. I realize there are many teenagers who have created a successful business from scratch, however, I have decided to focus my list on small businesses founded in Michigan. Each business has a purpose with the aim to make a difference. While this is only a short list, my goal is to showcase small businesses with a goal and give them some publicity to promote their message. I encourage you all to look into supporting sustainability and eco-friendly second-hand fashion!
Owners: Abby Williams and Andrea Johnson
Michigan College Thrifts is a small business owned by two University of Michigan students who sell thrifted college apparel with a focus on colleges in Michigan. Both young owners became passionate about sustainability in the fashion industry after discovering the devastating impacts of the textile/apparel industry. Their aim through “Michigan College Thrifts” is to educate others on the impacts of their buying habits and encourage students to shop more sustainably. Moreover, both students have grown a business supporting a mission they feel strongly about. Abby and Andrea use their small business as a platform to donate to the “One Tree Planted” organization where for every dollar donated, a tree is planted. One Tree Planted is a non-profit organization with a focus on the environment. They are dedicated to creating a healthier climate, protecting biodiversity, and helping reforestation efforts. It was important to them that they choose a charity that promoted sustainability and the preservation of the environment. They are currently working to become a formal partner to One Tree Planted and hope to have first-hand experiences with planting the trees in the future.
Owner: Chloe Jean Walters
This small business was initially started by Chloe Walters at the age of 16. Chloe, who always had an eye for the latest fashion trends, formed a business by doing something she is very passionate about. Although her Instagram business started at the age of 16, Chloe had been thrifting, reselling, and supporting second-hand fashion from the ages of 13 to 14. From first selling on different platforms such as Poshmark, Mercari, Vinted, and Depop, she decided to create an Instagram business with a cause. Starting in 2019 Chloe decided to give 10% of her proceeds to Pine Rest in the West Michigan area. Pine Rest is a Christian-based facility that helps people recover/deal with any sort of mental health issue that they battle. Pine Rest has a ‘Patient Assistance Fund’ that is a donation-based fund that goes to help people receive the mental health treatment that they need. 100% of the donations to that fund goes directly to help those who are not financially able to receive treatment. Chloe believes mental health is very important as she had battled with it herself, hence, she chose to donate some of her proceeds to an organization that has treated her loved ones. She hopes to continue supporting them to her ability.
Owner: Courtney Miars
Courtney is a senior at Michigan State University studying hospitality business. She founded her business in the inspiration of her sister who also owns a similar thrift clothing account over quarantine. Courtney believes, “Thrifting is really fun! It’s rewarding to find good pieces and really exciting to see how many people are interested in what I’m able to find.” She is a supporter of second-hand fashion and is a teenager who aims to give new life to clothes that might otherwise go to waste. In addition, Courtney has transformed her platform to one with a purpose: engaging with students and offering advice. She loves hearing about the majors and plans people have and hopes her account gets incoming students excited about Michigan State. She posts short Q&A segments on her story to help describe life from a senior’s perspective and also participates in discussions where she can work with clubs when possible to spread knowledge on second-hand fashion and thrifting. She hopes to continue to help fellow Spartans whether that means selling them apparel sustainably, giving them study tips, or extracurricular recommendations. She hopes to continue to support students as her business grows.