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Thrift shop for shopaholics and fashionistas

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMJanelle Oswald
The aim is to save the environment and also give back to charity.
Lauren Brooks inside her eco-friendly thrift shop.
Low priced items available at the thrift shop.

You might have thought about giving back to Earth this coming Earth Day, but did not know what to give. You could consider thrift shopping.

If you are hearing the fashion term 'thrift shopping', it is the new vogue phrase on every eco-shopaholic's or fashionista's tongue.

Offering amazing gifts to give back with a special, unique yard sale/recycling party, the queen of Jamaica's thrift shoppers, Lauren Brooks, who launched her online thrift boutique Thrift Link - Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp: 876-285-9466, is calling on all shopaholics and fashionistas to unite this Earth Day and bring items they would like to "clear out with intentions of trading, selling and donating" with others.

Advocating that this is the best way to give back to the Earth, especially for those who do not consider themselves green-thumbed enough to plant a seed/tree as a give-back gift, Brooks, tells The Gleaner, "Thrift shopping is the new vogue in Jamaica."


popular trend


Gone are the days when shopping at second-hand stores was primarily a way to stretch small pay cheques. Thrift shopping has become an increasingly popular way to find clothing or furniture that is unique, well-priced, socially responsible and eco-friendly.

She was inspired to set up shop and launch her eco-friendly fashion online boutique, Thrift Link, after a year of doing yard sales, clearing space and raising money for her own tuition.

Brooks said, "Once I began to save, I could broaden my horizons, which enabled me to realise how many more possibilities and opportunities there were. I went from being self-motivated to community-inspired, wanting to share the treasures I had unearthed clearing properties and storage, thus helping to preserve Mother Earth."

The young fashionista, who declares the '20s and '70s as the best era for fashion and design, said, "I want to benefit as many people as possible. The idea is to provide a Thrift Link, which is so much more than a shop. It's a small haven where small businesses and creative minds can have a hub to sell their works, promote their ideas, and share their resources as a community instead of in competition. Part proceeds of all sales from Thrift Link benefit the Jamaica Environment Trust, which played an important part in my prep school garden (St Hugh's Preparatory) where we as students learned the benefits of cultivating our land."

Defining what a thrift shop is, Brooks said: "A thrift shop is a place where somebody can go and find treasures of all kinds at an economical price compared to a commercial shop."

Pointing to her teachers, friends, family and artistes as her collective icons, Brooks, who is also known as 'Jamaican gypsy', told The Gleaner, "The word 'thrift' suggests using resources carefully and not wastefully.

"Thrift Link applies this in every way we can. Showing the community different ways to think outside the box, we have learnt to see our world through."




Sharing her creative, fashionable methods to help save the planet, Brooks explained how old tyres and scraps of plywood can be transformed into display tables or stools for the shop, or an old curtain rod can be redesigned into a stylish clothes rack. Other trendsetting ideas included recycling plastic

bottles and aluminum cans to make fashionable earrings, or using copper scraps to make fine jewellery.

With items ranging from $50 from the glad box to bespoke pieces selling at $15,000, Brooks told The Gleaner what the prospective shopper could find.

"Expect the unexpected at Thrift Link. We are all about RE-thinking your RE-cycle - promoting an environmentally aware community, one step at a time.

"So you can find simple things like vintage accessories to new shoes, to repurposed jewellery to handmade crafts and much more."


charity donations


Donating to charity such as Missionaries of the Poor, Stella Maris Church, Wortley Home and the Salvation Army, Brooks sources her treasures through the traditional word of mouth theory among friends and

family and using social media like Instagram - #876Thrift - and


Accommodating pick-ups and welcoming drop-offs, Brooks explained that thus far, the

hardest challenge as an eco-entrepreneur has been getting the word out to the masses to "think thrifty" and find a physical space to hold the shop. Thrift Link mostly takes part in pop-up shops instead of having a main shop space.

Encouraging other eco entrepreneurs to start their own business, Brooks advises, "Put your mind where your heart is; work with what you are passionate about and persevere, don't stop."