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Student-run shop Tailored Thrifts opens on Washington Street



Bloomington, Indiana – People waited in line outside Bloomington’s new student-run thrift store, Tailor Thrifts, as it was about to open. Owner and senior at Indiana University Sierra Shambaugh had methodically planned out the interior’s color scheme, created chandeliers, painted the walls, and placed fixtures to make sure everything was just right.

On August 18, Tailored Thrifts held their grand opening at 129 N. Washington St. Shambaugh regarded the occasion as unreal.

“It makes my heart melt that they found something they like that is also sustainable that they can give a new life,” Shambaugh said.

Shambaugh claimed that her childhood in Telluride, Colorado, where sustainability was incorporated into daily life, is what drew her to thrifting.

She used to prepare her school lunches from the sizable communal garden at her school when she was younger. She would go to other locations on the weekends with her mother to browse antique and vintage stores.

“I would go to thrift stores and buy these huge dresses to rip apart, cut up and resew them the way I imagined,” Shambaugh said.

She had dreamed of being a fashion designer one day, but she quickly discovered she wasn’t the best seamstress. She decided to major in garment merchandising in Bloomington to explore the business side of the fashion industry.

Shambaugh sold expensive bags, sweaters, skirts, and other items on websites like Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace.

“I didn’t have the money to purchase paid advertising on social media, so I would just make really cringey TikToks,” Shambaugh said.

The website for Tailored Thrift went live in January 2021, allowing customers to purchase based on aesthetics and showcasing various trends and styles.

Soon after her website went up and became popular, Shambaugh began conducting pop-up markets in Indianapolis and Bloomington. She claimed that participating in these pop-up markets gave her the courage to launch Tailored Thrifts as a full-time business with a physical location.

Her store’s inventory is divided by price point, with special sections set aside for clothing under $5 and under $10, although her website displays more high-end items.

Shambaugh wants to help put an end to overconsumption and fast fashion, which is the cheap mass production of popular clothing.

“The nice thing about thrifting and fashion in general is that trends always come back around,” Shambaugh said.

Shambaugh hand-selected every element of her website, from the fonts to the images, in order to give her company a more professional vibe and overcome the stigma associated with shopping second-hand.

“You can absolutely change the perspective on your merchandise depending on how you present it,” Shambaugh said.

According to Shambaugh, she enjoys traveling to find her goods. To find more one-of-a-kind items over the past two years, Shambaugh has visited Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and London.

Shambaugh claimed that when she is not traveling, she shops in Bloomington’s vintage market for goods to buy and sell.

“I like to think of Tailored Thrifts as a traveler’s closet in a sense because every piece has a story,” Shambaugh said.


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