Teenager’s online thrift store takes off
Kaliyah Jordan’s love for shopping was getting a bit out of hand.
A few months ago, the 17-year-old had more clothes, shoes and purses than she knew what to do with.
“I kind of have a problem,” she laughed. “It didn’t all fit in my closet. Most of it was just lying around everywhere.”
Some of the items she had purchased on shopping trips overseas, and other things were gifts that did not fit or suit her any more.
“I was just trying to get it out of the way,” she said. “I thought I should sell some of this stuff instead of just giving it away.”
At first, Ms Jordan thought she would sell her gently used things through online websites such as Etsy, but they were not geared towards Bermuda entrepreneurs.
“Then I thought okay I will just sell my own stuff through Instagram and it just came from there,” she said.
She launched her own thrift store, Jordan’s Kloset, on Instagram on July 31.
To learn more about setting up a business she took part in the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s eight-week summer student entrepreneurship programme.
“The BEDC helped a lot with marketing and building the foundation and showing me how to stay on top of things,” she said. “They were very helpful.”
When she first set things up, she was not sure how things would go.
“I didn’t think a lot of people would be interested because I don’t really see a lot of Bermudians wanting to get thrift stuff,” she said. “I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it.”
She was pleasantly surprised when orders started coming in.
“Things have been going well,” she said. “I have had about 12 clients so far, more than I expected. A lot of people like to request things. So far, my typical customers tend to be in their late 20s and early 30s. I do sell the clothes for a lot less than they would get regularly, so it is probably the cost that is attracting them. Some people have come back for more stuff.”
She said the greatest interest has been in the many purses on offer at Jordan’s Kloset.
“My mother is more the purse person,” she said. “I’m more into shoes, particularly Jordans.”
Organising everything has been a challenge.
“I have a rack of clothes in the living room, one in a corner and another one in the hallway,” she said. “It has also been hard keeping up with all the direct messages through Instagram.”
She sometimes gets as many as eight inquiries a day.
Keeping up with the business and balancing the courses she is taking online can be hard.
“I am trying my best,” she said. “I need to figure out a schedule, but I haven’t gotten there yet.”
Ms Jordan most enjoys the marketing aspects of things, and has been working on her product photography skills.
With the money made from the business, so far, she bought a backdrop to use when taking merchandise photos.
“I can do different set-ups and stuff,” she said. “I have been experimenting with different lighting to help with the pictures. My house has low ceilings which can be tricky for photography. I just have to try to go with what I have.”
Sometimes she spends an entire day setting up for a photoshoot of her products. Other times she is more focused on talking with potential customers and posting on her Instagram page.
“I am still working on my communication skills,” she said. “I don’t know if I am great at that. I have learnt good marketing skills, and I have learnt more about handling money.”
She is not worried about running out of stock. She has not yet sold her current lot of items, and already her friends and family want to give her more stuff to sell.
“I said hold on, I have to sell the stuff I have first, before you can give me more,” she laughed.
And she does not think a physical store is in the cards.
“I prefer to keep Jordan’s Kloset online,” she said.
Her dream is to one day have her own website, and create space for other people who also want to run their own thrift stores too.
For more information see JordansKloset on Instagram.