Thrift & Thimble, a University of Dallas based thrift shop run by Hannah Wilmes, senior business major, and Athena Ralles, senior politics major, emerged as a way to clear out their wardrobes of all the items they had amassed from countless thrifting trips.
Ralles said, “Hannah and I lived together last year and we both loved going thrifting, both as a fun way to spend time and also as an affordable method of shopping under a college budget, so we would go together every once in a while.”
The name Thrift & Thimble was an incorporation of the mutual love of thrift shopping and Ralles’ hobby of embroidery.
Ralles realized there was a demand when people kept asking her where she got her clothes and when some of her friends even offered to pay her to thrift for them. “They’re either ‘not good at it’ or they don’t have the time or patience for it,” explained Ralles.
With that in mind, Ralles and Wilmes worked together to respond to the demand, while still having fun and adding their own twist.
Ralles said, “Hannah and I have such fun thrifting, we jumped at the opportunity to make a time of it and also contribute to the already amazing style of UD women! It also was so satisfying actually being able to buy ALL the things we saw and loved, but that we would not have gotten for ourselves if we were just thrifting for our own closets.”
Wilmes and Ralles also found their new business to be a great way to part with old pieces without throwing them away.
“We had so many cool items in our closets that either didn’t fit right or that we were just ready to pass on. A lot of the items were too good to just get rid of, some were beautifully personalized by Athena’s embroidery work, so it didn’t feel right to just get rid of them,” said Wilmes.
While Ralles used her embroidery skills to add a personal touch to some of the clothing, Wilmes contributed with her background in business.
“From Excel to all of the different financing classes, I think a lot of different things from my business background helped as we kept track of inventory and sales,” explained Wilmes. “My photography business for sure helped me amp our marketing on Instagram.”
Beside buying and managing inventory, Wilmes and Ralles had to decide what would be the best selling platform for Thrift & Thimble. They chose Fall Fest as it was less complicated than other popular online platforms like Depop or Poshmark, with the complications of selling online and dealing with shipping, and more convenient for their target market, UD women.
“On the day of, we were shocked by the initial line and overall support from everyone! We came in with 90 pieces and walked away with only two,” raved Wilmes.
The success of the pop-up demonstrates UD’s enthusiasm for student businesses and that there is a market for used and affordable clothing.
Thrift & Thimble as a long term project was not originally part of the plan. Fall Fest, according to Wilmes, was going to be the only pop-up for the business. However, its immense success has made them consider maintaining the store for longer.
“We can foresee us keeping the Instagram alive with item by item sales and hosting pop-ups in the condos,” said Wilmes about the future of Thrift & Thimble.
“Hannah and I are currently in the midst of figuring out how we want to keep Thrift & Thimble going, but we are planning on keeping people updated via our Instagram, so give it a follow to see what happens!” said Ralles.