By Amy Adindu
The affordable clothing movement has gained global attention and acceptance as we’re all trying to look like a million bucks and still have a chance to do other things with our lives, like save, travel or party!
Nigeria’s foreign exchange rates have been in free fall all year and the costs of everything have continued to increase. Now, people take their time to save and consider their necessities before shopping.
A couple of years ago when the dollar traded at a mere 150 naira, Nigerians used to shop without a worry in the world. When I was a student, the prices were so low that I would sometimes buy things I didn’t need just because they looked good and then you either picked them up or had them delivered.
Thrifting is a big business at the moment here in Nigeria and probably in other parts of the world (Alexa, play Thrift Shop), thrifting makes looking trendy affordable, but still, people have to make a budget for thrift shopping due to the current exchange rates.
Thrift clothes, also known as okiririka or bend-down-select are clothes that have previously been used by someone else and sold into the marker to be sold again.
Technology has streamlined the process, now all you have to do is go on social media, type “Thrift” in the search bar and watch the magic happen. There are hundreds, if not thousands of thrift dealers on social media offering nationwide delivery services, and stores that sell every fashion item to the specialized ones.
Through social media and online purchasing, those who have dabbled in the industry have elevated it to a new level! There are several social media pages dedicated to secondhand stores.
Some of these products are never worn, are durable, and half the time one can hardly tell if it’s a used item or brand new, even the wealthy now buy thrift as some individuals prefer to buy thrift than brand new apparel or home items.
The industry has come a long way from opening bales at the crack of dawn and having to wash off that smell (you know the one.) Now, Thrift dealers go through the process of fishing durable and beautiful pieces from heaps of clothing and package them, then they are laundered and displayed in shops and pictures.
Thrifting is one of the few enterprises that doesn’t require advertising and little startup money, although it was accepted at first, in recent times, it has planted solid roots in the clothing industry.
However, the relationship between some Nigerians and thrift shops is not the best. They are either organized storefronts for costly goods or they are also outlets for goods that are overpriced but never live up to the excitement that their beautiful photographs promise, depending on who you ask.
We decided to invite some Nigerians to express their ideas, experiences, and most pressing complaints regarding Nigerian thrift stores online since we know that Nigerians always have something to say about these shops.
The complaints range from poor communication on the part of the vendor to inaccurate size charting and price even.
So, I visited this 5k thrift shop online (you know it sounded and looked very budget friendly), picked a couple of things, finalized and made payment. On the page it says “Delivery; 48 hours after payment”, but I had to wait longer than that to get my items and there was no communication whatsoever to let me know what happened from the vendor. like what sort of poor customer service is that, thankful it wasn’t something I needed urgently or else.
I’m not saying they aren’t great stores, it’s just they have a way of making me feel like my size doesn’t exist, like why would I make an order in a size 6 according to what you posted and get a size 8, and this has happened multiple times and from multiple shops. At this point, they should just get it right. T for Thanks.
“The prices these days, something we could get for 1,500 is now 7k cos of what, packaging!!!, on top bendown select again. It’s ridiculous.”
On the flip side, some vendors also experience difficulties sourcing clothes about the complaints listed by customers above.
“Getting outfits is a tough job, we’re struggling with our competitors to get beautiful pieces and other this is sizes, there are different sizes for different regions/countries, you can be a size 6 in American clothing but a size 12 in UK clothes, that’s a tough thing so you have to be specific when asking so we know what to send,” said a thrift retailer named Shopia.
Most people don’t really know their size and that’s tough, also most times the stress of ordering, sorting and everything we do to make sure the clothes are good enough is tring and quite expensive that’s why the prices are rising. But then again, most of it isn’t our fault as they can’t be controlled.
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