S05 Episode 256 | Shilla Kim-Parker of Thrilling on the digitization of secondhand & supporting small business

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In episode 256, Kestrel welcomes Shilla Kim-Parker, the co-founder and CEO of Thrilling, to the show. The first dedicated online marketplace for secondhand and vintage stores across the U.S., Thrilling has already helped digitize more than 600 stories across the country.

“We put a lot of thought into — how do we present vintage and secondhand, because I don’t want secondhand to be thought of as a lesser, marginalized shopping experience. The goal is to get everyone in the habit of shopping secondhand and vintage, and I really believe you can’t force people to like spinach — you have to make it delightful.” -Shilla

So, we’ve definitely touched on this in the past, but when it comes to the secondhand market — there is no doubt that the sector is going through a GROWTH SPURT.

According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, the $36 billion secondhand market is projected to double in the next 5 years, reaching $77 billion, while the fast fashion market share is expected to stay relatively flat.

As you may have seen, many brands are now building an in-house secondhand arm into their businesses, as everyone seems to be trying to find a way to capitalize on some of this explosive market.

Is this helpful or is it just another way for bigger brands to make another buck off of us?

There are a lot of hands reaching in to try to grab a piece of this secondhand pie.

This week’s guest isn’t solely looking at secondhand as a *profit opportunity* — as an advocate for small business, she’s very intentional about how secondhand is presented, because she doesn’t want it to be thought of as a lesser, marginalized shopping experience.

Her platform has already helped digitize over 600 thrift stores across the U.S. — 95% of them being women and/or Black and Indigenous People Of Color - owned. As she shares, vintage and secondhand can be exciting not just to the vintage shopper, but to every shopper.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

  • “There are more of these stores across the U.S. than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined, easy. And they collectively have billions of already hand picked, curated inventory. Each store has thousands of individual items. And getting them online for a store owner who is usually the sole proprietor, they’re usually the sole bread winner of their household. You know, the store owners that we work with are 95% women, People of Color. They’re the janitor, they’re the accountant, they’re the customer service, they’re the sourcer for the stores, they’re already juggling so much, they don’t feel like they have a lot of time.” -Shilla (15:28)

  • “We want to offer products that are going to last for decades and for generations and that are well made, and those are the values that we want to enforce and support as a company. And so, we have made that choice — that’s the kind of promise that we want with the products that we sell. On the other hand, I don’t shame anybody who feels that they need to shop some of these [fast fashion] brands, because sometimes, the people who are the most price-constrained, they are the best at taking care of their clothes for a long time.” -Shilla (29:00)

  • Thrilling’s Website >

  • Follow Thrilling on Instagram >

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