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How Thrift Stores Can Win This Secondhand September

by Zahra on

What is Secondhand September?

Secondhand September is a campaign launched by Oxfam to encourage consumers to not buy any new clothes for the duration of the month. 


And much like “Veganuary”, or “Plastic Free July”, this issue related month gives mission-oriented businesses in the space the chance to educate about the mission behind shopping secondhand while also getting new customers and converting stale ones. 


Increase Your Thrift Store Sales

The month of Secondhand September is a perfect time to try out new ideas to increases your thrift store sales. Here’s a few strategies that will help you do so. 


Host a Fill a Bag Sale

Thrift stores like Urban Exchange Project (Philadelphia) and Looks Vintage Clothing (NYC) have seen massive success from having “Fill a Bag Sales” or huge discount sales. Not only are they a great way to attract new customers and have a line wrap around the building, but a smart way to clear out some inventory before the new season. 


Educate on the impacts of secondhand fashion

Whether it is through social media or in person efforts, leverage the attention that “Secondhand September” is getting through educational campaigns that teach consumers about the true cost of buying first hand and how secondhand fashion minimizes the labor abuses and environmental sins that are so rife within the typical linear fashion supply chain. 

ThredUp-New-vs-Used- Clothing-Footprint

Thankfully, Oxfam has created some amazing resources and graphics around Secondhand September that businesses and consumers in the space can use. Check them out here

Make a big announcement

Whatever plans have been on your heart, Secondhand September is a great month to announce them. 


Beyond Retro, the iconic UK vintage store, just celebrated the grand opening of their Cardiff location, and Thrifted Threads, the Houston, TX based store, celebrated its new College Station Location. 


Whether it's opening up an online store (we can help with that!), offering styling services, or even something as simple as sourcing more Y2K inventory, tell your community what you’ve been cooking up - they will appreciate the transparency and get excited for the future!


Share your impact

In an age where consumers value transparency and social responsibility, highlighting the positive environmental and social impact of shopping secondhand can make a significant difference. Share statistics about how much water is saved by buying a secondhand shirt compared to a new one, or discuss how purchasing pre-loved items diverts waste from landfills. Furthermore, you can emphasize the jobs you're providing in the community and any charity initiatives your thrift store may be a part of.


For instance, Shop Repurpose, a NYC based nonprofit and thrift store, talks frequently about the charitable causes they support and the mission they are working towards on their social media channels and website. Engaging visuals, stories, and testimonials can make these messages more compelling and shareable on platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

General small business tips


Work on your SEO! If people don’t come across your store when they search “thrift stores near me”, that’s a problem. But, it's not just about being discoverable online. Customer reviews play a significant role in influencing new shoppers. Encourage your loyal customers to leave positive reviews, perhaps offering discounts or incentives for doing so. 


Additionally, invest in a user-friendly website and an engaging social media presence. Sharing daily 'outfit of the day' posts, featuring new arrivals, or having weekly live-streamed 'thrift hauls' can generate excitement and keep your store top-of-mind for potential customers. 

Get Your Thrift Store Online.. Without Lifting a Finger



Lastly, network with other local businesses. Hosting community events or collaborating on joint promotions can introduce your thrift store to new audiences while also supporting fellow entrepreneurs. Building these partnerships can foster a community-centric business environment, beneficial for everyone involved.