Making Money | Alyssa Streets
Turning a hobby into a part-time job
Welcome to Making Money, a series of conversations with entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers about what they’ve learned about starting and running their own businesses.
We start with Alyssa Streets, 25—currently a social media specialist at Vibrant but also a longtime barista and inveterate thrift shopper—whose passion for thrift shops has become a steady source of income.
When did you get interested in vintage clothing?
I grew up without a lot of money, so I’ve gone thrifting as long as I can remember. That’s just where we bought our stuff. I was very embarrassed about it in high school, but then I discovered this YouTuber—all she did was thrift, her entire closet was all vintage clothing. I was really inspired by her look and started discovering my own personal tastes and wearing really weird out-of-pocket things.
How did you start selling clothes?
I majored in fashion in college, and I definitely have an eye for cool clothes. I started reselling some of my own stuff through Poshmark in college mostly to keep my closet from getting out of control. Sometimes I might find designer brands while I was thrifting, and I’d resell those, too.
I still sell a lot of stuff on Poshmark, but I also have a lot of Instagram followers, so I sometimes sell stuff via Stories. I also do markets a few times a year.
No judgment, but what is your personal closet situation?
I have two full-sized closets plus a clothing rack in my apartment. So yeah. I have a lot of clothes.
How often do you go thrifting?
I probably go once or twice a week. I love to go through the Goodwill bins where they sell unsorted stuff by the pound, and you just have to scrounge through everything. I’ve found a lot of cool things that way, like vintage Harley-Davidson shirts. On the one hand, it’s an incredible bargain, but on the other hand, it takes a lot of time to dig through everything, you get itchy because there’s a lot of dust coming up and everyone around you is sneezing, and honestly, it’s kind of gross.
Another place I find a lot of my stuff is at estate sales. Especially when I was working in the service industry and had Friday mornings off, I would show up Friday morning at 8 a.m. and get a number and wait in line to raid the closets. Those sales are very cheap—like $2 for any item—because people need to move things out, but the quality is often really good, because someone was still wearing it.
Could you ever see yourself doing this full-time?
I've been really inspired by Becca and Red at Abernathy's and would love to have a business like theirs one day. I worked there for about a year and learned so much. (And they still lend me their tag gun for markets!) But I saw just how much work they have to put into it to make it successful. It’s hard for them to take time off. And I’m not really at a point in my life where I’m ready to sacrifice like that.
I’ve made an effort in the past to establish my own brand, like they have, with a shop website and a dedicated Instagram, but at the time, I was also working full-time and going to school full-time, and it was really hard to keep up. I think it would be really cool to open up a coffee shop/vintage resale store one day, but for now it’s more for fun. I have a good eye for thrifting and flipping and I love selling at markets and talking to people. And it’s a great way to make some extra cash when I need it.
How much extra cash are we talking about?
Definitely not enough to support myself, but enough to pay a few bills—and when I’m short on cash, I know I can go into my closet and grab a few things and make what I need.
I think I’ve probably earned about $3,000 on Poshmark since I started selling stuff there, but I have literally never cashed out my account. I just use it to buy other stuff on Poshmark. Like if I need a nice pair of boots or want a new perfume—they have a lot of stuff that you can’t find at Goodwill. But it still lets me shop for it secondhand.
Do you think you’d continue to thrift even if you landed a high-paying corporate gig one day?
I think so, because I do like the thrill of finding cool things. When I’m at the Goodwill bins and I find an awesome shirt, it makes me happy to bring it to someone in my community who’s going to love it.
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