Goodwill hunting

Junior Maia Gagar poses in front of the mirror. She leans forward slightly, changing the position of her shoulders to get a better angle. With a click, she’s done. However, the star of the show isn’t her, but the clothes she’s wearing. They are to be uploaded onto her Instagram shop.

As an avid lover of fashion, Gagar has accumulated a collection of clothes over the years. These, along with the clothes she finds on her shopping trips to Goodwill or Savers, are sold on an account titled “maiazcloset.” At the thrift stores, Gagar looks for on-trend items, such as crop tops, vintage clothing, jeans or accessories.

“I’m always really excited to find accessories like belts, chains or hats. Accessories are really fun; I feel like they always help to put together an outfit or make an outfit complete,” Gagar said.

Beginning in January 2019, Gagar was inspired to open a shop by a friend. Although Gagar has made quite a few sales, she operates without a posting schedule. With the arrival of school, it has become more difficult for Gagar to find time to run her store.

“School has been a priority because grades are really important, but I try to set aside time for posting on the weekends,” Gagar said. “During the summer, it was a lot easier because I had all the time.”

The summer of 2019 also marked a humanitarian crisis for the Sudanese. The news had extensive social media and news coverage, and Gagar became aware of the struggles of the Sudanese children. With her shop up and running, Gagar decided to help out by donating 30 percent of her sales.

“I felt like I needed to do something, especially because I had this shop and I was making money,” Gagar said. “I can use [the money], not just for myself as an income, but for things that I feel are important.”

Other than her donations to the charity Children of Sudan, Gagar has seen the environmental impact of recycling clothes. With climate change as a substantive current issue, the trend of thrifting and flipping clothes has become prevalent. Combined with the far-reaching influence of Instagram in today’s social scene, a market for social media shops has been created.

“My favorite thing about doing this Instagram shop is that it’s good for the environment because of the sustainability,” Gagar said. “It’s a really good way to clean out your closet or give your clothes a new home to someone who would wear them a lot more.”

While Gagar enjoys running her Instagram page and sees no foreseeable end to her shop, she occasionally has issues with customers, similar to any other retail environment. She combats this by posting the rules of her account as a story highlight and instructing all customers to read through them before contacting her.

“Sometimes, it’s hard to deal with people that are rude because you always have to be nice. Customer service is important,” Gagar said. “You need to be aware of people who try to lowball you on prices when you don’t want to sell it for that price.”

In the future, Gagar is considering going into retail or some other fashion-related occupation.

“It’s not that difficult. I feel like it would be really fun for my future, and I’d enjoy that,” Gagar said.

Without a doubt, Gagar has improved the world with style.

By Nicole Chiang, Manager and Copy editor-in-chief
Photo by Isaac Le

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