Back-to-school shopping on a budget: Secondhand shops get A+ for deals

Posted at 9:51 AM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 10:37:53-04

(WXYZ) — When it comes to the art of back-to-school shopping, bargains, deals and steals are top of mind this year amid inflation.

"There's nothing better, at least to me, than scoring a good deal, finding something that I could have found at the mall for $4 or, like, a single dollar," said Mary Wright, a parent from Lake Orion.

Wright said she grew up shopping at thrift stores, and it's the thrill of the find that keeps her heading back to secondhand stores like Value World to score things for herself and her 5-year-old son.

"For back to school ... it's no different than what we've been doing," said Wright. "One of our weekly things that we do is we go to the thrift store, because I love it. He likes it because he gets to ... pick out something."

Anthony Marino, president of the popular online resale platform thredUP, said they expect to see more people searching for deals and shopping secondhand.

"On thredUP, we really offer so many options for families who want to do the right thing by their kids, but also do the right thing by their wallets and by the environment," he said.

And the back-to-school wardrobe is top of mind.

"We tend to see on thredUP families, parents searching for items that are appropriate for back to school, everything from backpacks to denim to tops, basically every category of kids clothing, active wear and what generally parents are looking for is a way to spend the same amount of money but leave with twice the amount of things," said Marino.

According to ThredUp's 2022 Resale Report, the secondhand apparel market is booming, expected to grow 127% by 2026.

"The stigma that may have existed for used clothing is gone, especially if you're younger, because you have a real sense for the impact of fashion waste ... so thrift is trending more than it ever has," said Marino.

Right now, as parents across metro Detroit are planning their back-to-school budgets, the hunt is on for sticker surprise, the reverse of sticker shock.

"I've always loved fashion, had a passion for fashion ever since I was younger. But with having three daughters, I love to dress them so cute. So realizing that their clothes were starting to cost as much as my clothes, I'm like, 'oh, that's a problem,'" said Jacqueline Richardson.

Richardson owns Stork Collection, a resale boutique in Farmington Hills that sells baby, toddler, kid and women clothing.

"Me and my husband just had a conversation. I'm like, 'I think we should open up a children's resale store,'" said Richardson.

That was more than three years ago, and now her business is thriving as she enters the flurry of the back-to-school shopping season.

"I've noticed that people are saying they're going to big box stores and they're like, 'oh, they don't have this and they don't have this.' I'm like, 'come on over to resale,'" she said.

With many thrift and secondhand stores, thredUP and Stork included, inventory is ever-changing — so it’s good to check back often for your must-have items.

"Make your list. Know what you're looking for and whether it's by brand or whether you want active wear or tops or bottoms or denim, just have your list ready," said Marino.

Wright says she does just that — armed with the items she hopes to score when she's out and about.

"I have like a running list on my phone of things that I want to curate in my closet, like basic staples. So if you could do that for your kids, you can do that for yourself," said Wright.

When it comes to resale, it's not only aiming to save people those much-needed funds, but it’s also about the circular economy. ThredUP and Stork give shoppers the option to sell clothing to them as well.

"We have three daughters and we want to be able to pass things down. Like, this is our way of recycling, too. So sometimes items have a lot of life left," said Richardson.

Some resale, secondhand and vintage shops to check out around town:

Macomb County

Grace Centers of Hope Thrift Store Warren
26740 Dequindre Road, Warren

Children's Orchard Sterling Heights
44907 Hayes Road, Sterling Heights

The Funky Frog Boutique
433 S. Main Street, Rochester

Oakland County

Stork Collection
22433 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills

23700 Woodward Avenue, Pleasant Ridge

Plato's Closet
43283 Crescent Boulevard, Novi

Goodwill Store: Commerce
3281 Crumb Rd, Commerce Charter Twp

The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center
730 N Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake

Wayne County

Detroit Closet
10236 Fenkell Ave, Detroit,

The Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center
1200 W Fort St, Detroit

Mama Coo's Boutique (vintage boutique)
1701 Trumbull Ave, Detroit

Flamingo Vintage
5449 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit

Vintage Eastern Market
1515 Division Street Suite B, Detroit




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