How It Started

Kayla here - RETROVE Owner, and avid secondhand shopper! I would like to share with you the events that inspired the creation of RETROVE...

My interest in shopping secondhand started as a teenager, when it was an economical choice that stretched my dollar, while also adding interesting and fun pieces to my eclectic wardrobe. Over time, I waned in and out of secondhand shopping, periodically opting for more "convenient" alternatives, like big box stores or mall stores. However, as the years passed, and I gained more awareness of sustainability issues, I made a commitment to extend this awareness into action, and to make an effort to choose secondhand goods whenever possible. This effort included opting for secondhand clothing, furniture, decor - really ANYTHING I could possibly find used before resorting to another option.

Additionally, I worked for a non-profit thrift store for a few years, which gave me some harsh insight into the problem of clothing waste. Each week, carts overflowing with perfectly wearable clothing were tossed into dumpsters because they had surpassed their lifespan in the store, and donations would flood in faster than the store could clear out inventory. It was heartbreaking to witness all the needless waste. This experience deepened my motivated me to assess and alter my own wasteful habits. In the coming years, I incrementally made more shifts in my lifestyle to be consistent with my sustainability goals.

Fast forward to Summer 2020, when the world is on lockdown, and we are all spending plenty of time inside with our thoughts. During this time, I decided that for my birthday, I wanted to celebrate by visiting a local thrift store to find a good candidate for a clothing up-cycle (of course I wore a mask, and kept a respectful distance from others in the store). I found a 2-piece set from the 90s that, upon first glance, was not incredibly attractive. In fact, I thought to myself that this would be exactly the kind of item that would eventually end up in the dumpster. So, I bought the set, and altered it to make it more suited to my personal style and taste, and I was pleased with the outcome! Here is the flip:

This experience is ultimately what inspired me to start RETROVE, which would become the name of my online secondhand shop offering vintage, modern, mended, and up-cycled clothing and accessories. It seemed that the venture had the potential to beautifully integrate many of my interests (self-expression through style, re-purposing, sustainability, ethical business) into one project. Thus, here we are! I have felt incredibly overjoyed at the words of encouragement and support for RETROVE offered by friends and family, and I sincerely thank everyone who chooses to "Think First. Dress Second."

Big Smiles,