Your Next Great Fashion Find Is Waiting At Dray Walk Gallery This Weekend

In collaboration with BRICKS, second-hand fashion marketplace FINDS is hosting a three-day fashion pop-up and panel event this weekend. BRICKS meets three FINDS sellers to hear how they run their stores, why video format works best for fashion resale and how to cultivate an authentic community with your customers.

Resale has never been hotter – your fave fashion girlies have long since replaced their fast fashion for vintage y2k, TikTok second-hand hauls remain an instant viral hit, and even iconic fashion houses have reissued archival dresses, bags and boots, favouring nostalgic styles and sustainable shopping alternatives. 

Tapping into Gen-Z’s love of savvy shopping, conscious consumption and engaging content, second-hand fashion marketplace app FINDS launched in 2022 with the mission to create an innovative and fresh fashion resale platform for users to express and exchange their style together. The app uses a video feed – similar to the hugely-popular TikTok ‘For You’ feed – and a committed, community focus that offers a resale experience that is just as dynamic and engaging as thrifting in real life, no matter where you’re based. “We’ve built this platform with our Gen-Z audience in mind; how they shop, consume content and get inspired is through video content and it’s truly social and community-led,” says the app’s CEO, Jemma Stacey

This week, the app is celebrating the launch of its new live stream feature and feed, enabling sellers to connect with their customers in intimate, informal and interactive ways, further encouraging a community spirit within the app’s culture. The live streams further expand access for sellers based outside of fashion-centric cities like London and Manchester, diversifying opportunities to sell and connect with fellow second-hand shoppers. 

“Our difference is that we’re a video-first social marketplace obsessing over how we can make the experience as immersive, social and engaging as possible,” Jemma explains. “We aren’t just traditional static e-commerce and we also want to offer an experience that goes beyond what the bigger resale apps are currently doing, in terms of discovery, inspiration and connection.”

In collaboration with BRICKS, FINDS is hosting its latest IRL fashion pop-up at Dray Walk Gallery this Friday 14th April throughout the weekend until Sunday afternoon, where the space will transform to host an in-conversation with BRICKS Deputy Editor Madeline Reid and fashion brand owners Darwin Alford aka Reclaimed Vintage, Nicole Stark aka Glow Nic Vintage and Amelia Godel aka Jewelz by Mealz for an in-depth conversation about starting their businesses from their bedrooms, and how you can do it too.

The pop-up continues FINDS’ mission to encourage circular fashion habits and transform the resale experience, inviting fourteen sellers to bring the FINDS world from digital to IRL, meeting new customers and making new friends that share the same sustainable shopping ethos. With a mixture of vintage, second-hand, independent designs and handmade one-of-a-kind treasures.

One such seller is 19-year-old Ty Harris-Pitt, who started her online jewellery brand Introverted during lockdown shortly after teaching herself to make jewellery. “I’ve always been creative so it was a new way to spend my time alongside my other hobbies,” she explains. “At the time, I didn’t know other people were making jewellery, and I wanted to try something new to fill the time. I started selling my necklaces online, and the rest is history!” 

Ty admits that growing their brand during early lockdown was “lucky in terms of timing” as so many prospective customers were idly scrolling online looking for something new. “It definitely gave me a nice kickstart to my growth and I still have repeat customers that have followed me since 2020,” she says. “I think fellow artists are attracted to my work because it’s so different compared to typical jewellery, and so my community has become full of other artists, designers, and fashion lovers.”

Similarly, professional dance artist Rosalie Bell of Rosalie Bell Vintage found her dance work postponed overnight following the pandemic-enforced lockdowns, and took the opportunity to discover new creative skills. “I’d always wanted to experiment with starting my own small business but never had the time to fully commit in the past,” she explains. 

Meanwhile, Annie Hibberd, the founder of Retro Rail Vintage, has been re-selling her old clothes online since she was a teenager. The 24-year-old started selling through various online platforms to make some extra cash while studying at university, but it was only after discovering the horrors of the fast fashion industry while researching for her dissertation that she started changing her habits. 

“This set a very clear sustainable ethos for not only my business, but in my personal life as well,” she says. “Around this time, I wanted to express my own individual fashion style and being in London was the perfect place for this, discovering the many vintage shops and markets the city has to offer. It was easy to make the switch to second-hand for my personal wardrobe and, in turn, my shop too.” 

While Gen-Z’s shift away from the high street and onto second-hand marketplaces has been a huge win for the sustainable fashion movement, with one in three 16 to 24-year-olds using resale apps to shift old clothing. But in recent years, there has been criticism of thrift-flipping trends leading to inaccessible sizing and less-than-kind customer service – with stories of mysterious missing packages, inexplicable excuses for delays and false product pictures impacting the resale industry’s reputation. 

It’s opened me up to a huge network of other creatives and business owners which is so lovely because they’re hard to find in my small town. FINDS uplifts the sellers so much and it makes me feel so appreciated.

Ty Harris-Pitt

However, all three sellers are quick to sing FINDS’ praises, citing that the community engagement is unlike other platforms they’ve used previously. “I’ve only just started selling on FINDS and the community is so welcoming,” says Ty, who is based in West Sussex. “It’s opened me up to a huge network of other creatives and business owners which is so lovely because they’re hard to find in my small town. FINDS uplifts the sellers so much and it makes me feel so appreciated.”

Across the internet, many of us have faced the wrath of online algorithms, exhausted by the increasing expectation to publish consistently and disappointed with the dwindling engagement as carefully curated posts get lost in the ether of neverending content. Rosalie says that FINDS’ unique video format in its fashion marketplace has been a game changer. “It feels fun and interactive, buyers can see more details of each piece and watch how it naturally moves and falls on the body when modelled,” she says.

The three-day event celebrates FINDS’ new live stream feature and feed, which allows sellers to connect with their community in real-time. “This new feature is a great way that I can talk directly to customers, answer questions and give a more informal, chatty and detailed description, sharing personal stories and information about each item,” says Annie.

Annie Hibberd of Retro Rail Vintage

Community spirit is at the heart of the FINDS app, whose app replicates the personal experience of sifting through rails and pulling out your favourite pieces to ask for your friends’ opinions. “I put a lot of time and love into my social media,” Annie says, explaining that she makes sure she’s approachable and can answer any queries or suggestions that come her way. When she’s not sourcing or curating her store, she’s filming behind-the-scenes content and sharing her experiences as her brand grows.

Annie explains that FINDS’ video format means she can offer a range of styling tips ad videos experimenting with different ideas on how to piece outfits together. “This is an area that I am really looking forward to developing further in new and exciting ways, sharing more ideas on how you can be savvy with your wardrobe, mixing and matching outfits, and giving new life to the clothing you already have, sharing and encouraging ways to responsibly look after your clothing, how to wash safely and sustainably as well as mending and upcycling,” she says. “Fashion holds so much power and personality for each individual. I want to bring joy and fun into people’s outfits.”

Fashion holds so much power and personality for each individual. I want to bring joy and fun into people’s outfits.

Annie Hibberd

But as the ever-growing community of sellers on FINDS and across the market’s various platforms continues to expand, how can new sellers stand out among this well-dressed crowd? 

“I think having a strong brand identity is really important,” says Ty, stressing the importance of being the tastemaker of your online store. “If people like you and your vibe, they’ll most likely buy into whatever you’re selling. And don’t be afraid to show your face or talk on camera – the more people get to know you, the more they can connect with you and your store.”

“There’s a lot of love and soul that goes into Retro Rail – it’s an extension of my personality, and because it’s individual to me, no one can replicate this,” says Annie. “I’m very specific about the eclectic collection I curate, only sourcing unique items that I love and style to my personal taste.”

Rosalie agrees that leading with your personal style is the best way to curate an authentic presence on fashion marketplaces. “I think it’s really important to source pieces that I love and would personally wear myself,” she says. “This can definitely help with standing out as a small business. People notice when you’re having fun with styling and selling things that are true to your own aesthetic.”

Rosalie Bell of Rosalie Bell Vintage

It’s clear that for these sellers, FINDS has added the fun back into fashion resale. For new sellers, Rosalie explains that centring playfulness and creativity in her content helps to remind her why she loves running her store. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be open to inspiration from many different places, you never know when a creative idea might pop up,” she adds. 

“Just do it, go for it, don’t stop at the first hurdle as it doesn’t come overnight,” warns Annie. “It’s a journey of learning, discovering, mistakes and great joy. Do your research, know your customers, clearly showcase your brand and your ethos. One of the best moments for me was when I branched out and met others who were interested in vintage and were doing this as their job just like me. I created a community of friends around me, and having that network of support and collaborating together has been the best.”

I think it’s really important to source pieces that I love and would personally wear myself. This can definitely help with standing out as a small business. People notice when you’re having fun with styling and selling things that are true to your own aesthetic.

Rosalie Bell

Finally, I ask each seller what items they’re obsessing over right now. For Ty, it’s all about footwear: “I think 2023 is the year of crazy shoes for sure. The MSCHF big, red Astro Boots were the start of it and now I’m seeing loads of funky kitten heels, I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of New Rock boots for ages now, and I’m obsessed with the Simone Rocha platforms. Even just accessorising shoes with pins and ribbons works just as well.”

“Maximalist lace!” says Rosalie. “It’s really having a comeback in the chicest of ways.” She adds that she’s always keeping her eye out for early 2000s archival shoes ie. Miu Miu or Prada kitten heels, and has been inspired more recently by layering leaning into the sustainable ‘trend’ of using your existing pieces in refreshing ways – think, skirts and dresses over jeans, waistcoats overtop jackets, and legwarmers over boots.

Annie says she’s currently loving 70s velvet blazers: “I think they’re so versatile, easy to dress up smart or take it down to a more casual style – an all-season wardrobe staple. They give that real bohemian vibe which I love. I’m always on the hunt for good-quality staple bohemian pieces and I’m currently loving sourcing clothing with beautiful patterns and bold prints, I am 100% a pattern clash lover.”

The FINDS x BRICKS pop-up will be held at Dray Walk Gallery, Shoreditch from Friday 14th April at 12pm and will be open throughout the weekend, closing with a panel hosted by BRICKS Deputy Editor Maddy Reid and featuring independent businesses Reclaimed Vintage, Glow Nic Vintage and Jewelz by Mealz. Get your free tickets to the panel talk at 4pm on Sunday 16th April on Eventbrite here.

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