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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

business & economy bloomington

'Every piece has a story': Student-run shop Tailored Thrifts opens on Washington Street

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People lined up outside Tailored Thrifts, the new student-run thrift shop in Bloomington, waiting for the door to open. Inside, Sierra Shambaugh, an IU senior and the store’s owner, had meticulously laid out the color palette, built chandeliers, painted walls and arranged fixtures to make sure everything was perfect.

Tailored Thrifts celebrated its grand opening at 129 N. Washington St. on Aug. 18 — a moment Shambaugh described as surreal.

“It makes my heart melt that they found something they like that is also sustainable that they can give a new life,” Shambaugh said.

Shambaugh said she was drawn to thrifting due to her upbringing in Telluride, Colorado, where sustainability was implemented into her everyday life.

When she was a child, she would make her school lunches from the huge community garden at her school. On the weekends, she would venture to different towns with her mom to look through vintage and antique shops.

“I would go to thrift stores and buy these huge dresses to rip apart, cut up and resew them the way I imagined,” Shambaugh said.

She had hoped to one day be a fashion designer, but soon realized she was not the best seamstress. This led her to Bloomington to pursue the business side of fashion by majoring in apparel merchandising.

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Shambaugh used platforms such as Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace to sell her products which includes designer bags, sweaters, skirts and more.

“I didn’t have the money to purchase paid advertising on social media, so I would just make really cringey TikToks,” Shambaugh said.

Tailored Thrift’s website launched in January 2021, allowing users to shop by aesthetics and featuring different styles and trends.

Soon after the launch and success of her website, Shambaugh started hosting pop-up markets in Bloomington and Indianapolis. She said that these pop-up markets gave her the confidence to go forward an make Tailored Thrifts her full-time job at an actual storefront.

Her website features more high-end products, whereas in store, products are sorted by price point, including designated areas for clothes under $5 and $10.

Shambaugh hopes to contribute to the end of fast fashion — the mass production of trendy clothes at a low cost — and overconsumption.

“The nice thing about thrifting and fashion in general is that trends always come back around,” Shambaugh said.

She also wants to combat the stigma surrounding shopping second-hand, so Shambaugh handpicked everything on her website from fonts to photos to give her business a more formal feel.

“You can absolutely change the perspective on your merchandise depending on how you present it,” Shambaugh said.

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Shambaugh said she loves to travel to find her product. In the past two years Shambaugh traveled to Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts and London just to find more one-of-a-kind pieces.

When she is not travelling the world, Shambaugh said she turns to the vintage community in Bloomington to buy and sell products.

“I like to think of Tailored Thrifts as a traveler's closet in a sense because every piece has a story,” Shambaugh said.

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