People tell Morgan Downey, an Auburn junior, thrift-store lover and owner of vintage clothing Etsy shop ThreeEyedMinx, that they want to go thrifting with her. According to Downey though, they actually don’t.
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“They come and I take forever,” said Downey, who is majoring in Professional and Public Writing. “They’re so ready to go and I’m not halfway done with the store. I have to turn over every single item.”
Downey has a passion for picking retro pieces off the thrift store rack and getting them back onto vintage-wearers’ figures. Thrifting for vintage clothes has been an interest of Downey’s for years.
“I like retro things from the past,” she said. “I think that they have a good story to them and they make an outfit cooler I think when there’s some character to it.”
Recently, Downey decided to turn her passion into a business and sell her vintage finds. While she had been considering this move for a while, she took the step and opened her Etsy store, ThreeEyedMinx, in January of this year.
“It was kind of a New Years resolution for me to just go ahead and actually get it done,” Downey said. “I had all of these pieces that I’d found at antique malls or thrift stores. Sometimes they just don’t fit me or they don’t work or I get tired of them… You like to recycle clothes if you like fashion like I do and the store is just a really good way for me to be creative.”
Downey held a photo shoot for her vintage pieces, getting some of her friends to model for her, and created her store the same day.
“ThreeEyedMinx was born in pretty much one afternoon,” she said.
Downey said she liked the word Minx, an outdated term for a flirtatious, cunning woman. The phrase ThreeEyed was inspired by her interest in crystals and the eye tattoo she has on one of her arms.
Downey knows all the thrift stores in the Auburn area, and said a surprising number of nice pieces can be found in Auburn thrift stores. Digging up good finds is easy for Downey.
“But that’s because it’s such a passion of mine,” she said. “They are like I’m a kid in a candy shop. They’re like a magic world to me.”
Downey also buys at antique malls and consignment shops, especially when she’s looking for name brand or higher-end pieces.
As for picking which stores she frequents, Downey said they’re all hit or miss at different times of the year, and they get influxes of new items in.
“There’s not really a process to picking it because you could find something amazing in some obscure place on the side of the road,” she said. “You just never know when you’re looking for vintage stuff.”
Typically, Downey likes to hit a thrift store once or twice a week, though she doesn’t always go home with something.
With all her experience, Downey has definitely picked up some thrifting tips over the years.
“Get a huge buggy and guard that buggy with your life,” she said. If you like something, throw it in there. Even if you’re unsure about it, because you will go to a dressing room and you’ve just got to try it all on. But somebody will snag it, you’ll go back for it or you’ll lose it in a place like that.”
Downey looks for a category of clothing outside where it’s typically found.
“Like I look down all of the jeans, because people disorganize it and then it never goes back to its original place,” she said. “I really like the men’s section as well for shirts and flannels.”
She also said that patience, passion and looking through every item are key to finding the good stuff at thrift stores.
“I see a lot of people just glance at a rack and be like, nothing here catches my eye,” she said. “But you can’t really tell from all this mismatched mumbo jumbo without individually looking at each piece, and you’re not going to find anything that way.”
Downey’s thorough shopping style pays off. She considers her greatest find to be probably either some Vera Wang booties or her personal denim jacket.
Vintage to Downey means 90s and older.
“The oldest thing in my repertoire right now is a Vanity Fair sheer nighty that I would put at say the 50s,” she said. “And it looks like a baby doll dress but it’s completely see-through with lace.”
Downey preferred to start her business selling on Etsy as opposed to buying her own domain website, partially due to the straightforwardness of Etsy.
“I’d recommend that too for anybody who’s into selling clothes and like me maybe wants to own their own thrift store or boutique one day,” Downey said. “It’s a good way to get the hang of shipping something off and kind of owning your own marketing and whatnot without paying all of the dues yet and throwing all your eggs in one basket.”
Starting her vintage clothing business was not a completely smooth ride, however. Downey tried opening her Etsy store once before, but did not feel prepared enough to continue.
“I had tried to rush it before and it didn’t go through and I actually deleted the account and so this is the second time,” she said. “The first time I did it I only uploaded a couple items, and then I was like, what am I doing? I was like, when I do it, I want to do it right, and so I just scrapped it for a later date.”
The second time, Downey put a lot of thought into the name, photography and other details before she debuted ThreeEyedMinx, and she recommends anyone wanting to start their own vintage clothing shop do the same. She also said it’s important to have a sizeable inventory to begin with.
“Spend a lot of time thrifting and actually curate what you want because your shop needs to reflect what your image is and what your mission is, like you and what you want your customers to be like,” she said.
Now, Downey said she is having a lot of fun. She’s only made one sale, but said that’s due to the store being new. Downey would love to one day expand her vintage clothing business, launching her own website and opening a physical store.
“This is just like a passion project of mine that I wanted to see if I could do it and I’m having a lot of fun with it,” she said. “So right now I’m going to keep doing it until it’s not fun anymore.”
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