I’ve been the Queen of Used for a while now. Why buy new when there’s plenty of beautiful, like-new stuff out there at a fraction of the price? Still, I was cautious about who I showed my latest vintage score to. Plenty of people looked down on what I bought, equating it with garbage. My own mother was completely disgusted that my kids have worn used dresses despite the fact that they were designer duds that cost a fortune when purchased new. Lately, however, I have been less cautious about sharing my thrifty finds, especially since many of my friends and neighbors have jumped on the vintage bandwagon, too.
It started last year. Someone created a Facebook group dedicated to selling used stuff. It is limited to those who live in my town and one or two of the surrounding towns. There was already an existing Facebook mom group in my town, so the selling group filled up quickly. (Today there are close to 3,000 members.) Suddenly, people started posting their used Louis Vuittons, Coach bags, and Tory Burch flip-flops along side of kid clothes, baby gear, American Girl dolls, and barbeques. And suddenly I was watching my neighborhood friends snapping up martini sets, pretty designer tops, and Ugg boots. As the “mines” proliferated (the first person to comment on an item gets 12 hours to pick it up), the street cred on vintage kept rising. Today, nearly 80 of my 478 Facebook friends are on “the market,” as it’s called, and I’ve seen most of them posting items and saying they are going out for pickup runs.
The most interesting thing about the market is that it’s creating friendships and camaraderie. The best thing, however, is that now, when someone needs something they check the market first. Some even post their ISOs (in search ofs) before heading to the store. The lure of vintage and used is even catching on with the guys in my town. There’s a dads’ selling group, too!
Me? I’m thrilled that my little one has an American Girl like her sister and I only paid $40 for it including a carrying case, hair styling equipment, and a book and I can brag about it. I’m also glad to have unloaded all my baby and toddler gear. For instance, someone is coming within the hour to pick up my playpen and drop of $50. I’m also excited that I have a place to find gorgeous, high-end dresses for the little one. She is SO MUCH HARDER on her clothing than her sister is. While I loved vintage shopping for the big one, I was also known to hit Denny’s or Gymboree for her — and that happened a lot more often than I would care to admit. This one will wreck a new outfit within 20 minutes. I’ve timed her. I still feel bad about the brand new white and yellow gingham outfit she ruined in September. That day I clipped off the tags and put it on her. She spilled black poster paint all over it before I could put the tags into the garbage. Sigh. But now, thanks to the market, I don’t have to feel bad anymore when she spills paint or gets market on her pretty clothes. After all, I only paid a few dollars for it, right?
I wish there was a way to quantify the benefit of the market on our environment. (And I do wonder if all those moms driving around is impacting the air quality!) In the meantime, though, I will just enjoy knowing that the air conditioners, Buddha charms, and sofas and loveseats in my town — those are the things that were on top of the page when I just clicked over — are finding new life and staying out of the landfill just a little while longer.