System Change & a Hedgehog - the story of Thriftify
When I first had the idea for thriftify I was sitting at the kitchen table in my dorm room in university. I'd just found an expensive college book I needed in a charity shop for one euro. I was trying to relieve myself of the guilt I felt for knowingly buying something worth so much more from a charity. I couldn't find an excuse.
The next best was thing I could do was indulge in some fantasy brainstorming about all the hidden gems lying around charity shops and how much more money they could make. Like a great entrepreneur thought me, I did the maths on the back of an envelope, well actually it was the back of an empty cereal box (my staple diet as a student). It went something like this:
12,000 = Irish and UK charity shops
100 = books donated each week
10% = amount that are worth way more than a euro
€20 = amount they could earn for that 10%
I opened up the calculator on my phone and came up with €2.4million. Ah, I thought, that's disappointing. It looks like it should be more... I'd forgotten to multiply by 50, the amount of weeks an average charity shop is open.
€120m - ok, wow, much better. The next step was to come up with a name.. thriftify. I decided on 'Thrift' meaning to use resources carefully and without waste and 'ify' to bring that concept to life! We define Thriftify as the act of purchasing ethically and sustainably. We believe in a world where every single thing we buy has positive impact on people and planet. Visit our manifesto for a deeper insight in to our values.
Since those early college days thriftify has gone through many iterations and we've now valued over one million charity shop donations. With this data we know that those early back of the cereal box calculations aren't too far off, especially when you consider all the other kinds of items charity shops receive, from clothing to a live Hedgehog (that's a story for another blog post but suffice to say, she lived happily ever after)!
We believe that the charity retail sector has the potential to grow from a €2bn market based on bricks & mortar shops to a €20bn market using the best digital commerce tools to sell online. Our mission is to help charity shops sell more, by reaching people online - and to earn the true value of the donations they get, if somebody is willing to spend €20 on a book instead of €1, the charity is the winner. The biggest complaint I get is that thriftify could take away the joy of finding a bargain in a charity shop, but don't stress, there will always be bargains in charity shops, there's just so many gems being donated. And if you really want to get good at finding bargains why not check out our Top Three Thrifting Tips blog post.
I'm thrilled that we're taking another step in our journey by launching the thriftify blog.
Thriftify has been built with a simple idea in mind; connect the most sustainable sources of goods (used ones) with consumers who care. We've committed to building something that can achieve lasting system-change and this is an exciting next step on that journey. Behind the scenes, our charity shop partners are getting used to using thriftify to get gems uploaded online. And for the first time, you, the consumer who cares, can shop directly from dozens of leading charities. With our blog we want to pull back the curtain and shine a light on our work.
In the face of a climate crises one of the most impactful things we can do is vote with our money. When you thriftify you're buying used and lowering your impact at least 5x on average (it's like buying 200 pages of a 1,000 page book but still getting the full novel).
Most importantly though, the impact of thriftify'ing your spend is that your money goes to sustainable, ethical organisations. We want to make purchasing an act that gives to the planet! The great myth is that corporations can keep growing endlessly - they can't. By developing a solution that enables 100% positive, circular and ethical purchasing we can change the system.