This past Tuesday I headed over to Tightfisted Fashion for their $50 Fill Up Event (every 2nd Tuesday of the month) and spoke with owner Zakiya about her shop and the future of thrifting in Baltimore.
How did you get started in this business; being a consignor?
I was living overseas and when I came back [to the states] I found myself jobless and in need of income so I sold my possessions for money. It was a great way to update my wardrobe and you know, be an adult. Eventually, I started my blog and was able to market myself online as an expert in the field. I made it a business, I offered classes and workshops and it just grew. I eventually had a launch and invited my friends and supporters. I did a lot of vending but I found that I really wanted to give people a set space to get involved in the thrifting culture. I opened the store and had a grand pre-opening to gauge the interest. I also allowed other vendors to do popups in my store. It was a start, and it was mine.
Who shops at your store?
Young professionals, individuals with a unique style. I feel like I fit into that mold. People call me fashionable, I don’t think I’m fashionable, but I do like fashion. I try to find pieces that are unique but not too over the top. If you’re looking for something to stand out in and maybe you work in an environment where you may have to maintain a certain image; its great to come in and get a piece to really make an outfit pop or add some kick.
Can you speak a little about the thrifting and consignment industry in Baltimore?
Its ironic that people haven’t caught on to it considering the amount of people in the community who have grown up shopping at thrift stores. It has been hard, I think the instinct is for people to always donate. [Which Tightfisted does !!!] Also, a lot of people are skeptical of the consignment process, like you’re playing a trick on them. What they don’t realize is that the money we get helps support local business and develop the [thrifting] culture.
I know you’re a big supporter of black business and you host Black Business Saturdays. Can you speak to that a bit?
Well, I started the Black Business Saturdays in response to an article I read that said black women are starting businesses at 6 times the national average. The article also said that small business makes up 40% of the workforce. Many times, these businesses only have the ability to employ one or two people. If each business had the capacity to add just one more employee, that would add that many more jobs to the economy. Black Business Saturdays is an opportunity for local businesses to come together and pool resources to possibly employ someone. People (predominantly black businesses in particular) were looking for opportunities to collaborate with other people, make connections and gain opportunities to do more business , you know, start a co-op or even a collective. Its a chance for people to think beyond their business and increase the circulation of black dollars in black communities.
Who are you’re personal go-to’s in the area?
I like Keepers Vintage they have nicely curated pieces. I really like 2 Chic Boutique its great for more professional, suited wear. Some other vendors that I frequent are Bartered Threads (actually in D.C); and Revolution Vintage.
A huge thank you goes out to Tightfisted Fashion! I met Zakiya and it was like I was meeting my long lost cousin or a best friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. She’s an old soul. Her shop is awesome. Check them out at 2114 North Charles Street. They even have an online shop!
Bottom line, support the economy. Thrift local. #charmcitythrift #thriftlocal