Get to Know: Kindred Thrift

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I still haven't quite figured out why, but I am really drawn to Kindred Thrift. Perhaps it's the amazingly curated selection of thrift store finds at really, really affordable prices. Or maybe because it just seems fun for them, something these two friends do together to stay connected. It could be because Tessa & Rita are so kind and down to earth when you meet them, and they bring that energy to their events. They are unapologetically themselves, and their shop is like raiding your cool best friend's closet. Either way, I love what they are doing. I've gotten some amazing pieces from them that have quickly become staples in my wardrobe. Their selection varies from vintage to high end to thrift store gems, and you can find them at markets, pop-ups, local stores (like the Livery) or in Rita's studio at home. Fun fact: they just opened up their Etsy shop, so now allllll of you have the chance to check our their goods and get some for yourselves!

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How did you two meet?

Well, we are both originally from Saskatchewan, from small towns that were 40 minutes apart. We went to the same high school parties, and hung out with the same crowd. But we actually met officially for the first time,when we were both attending Red Deer College and a mutual pal made plans to meet us in Sylvan Lake and then didn’t show up. It wasn’t awkward at all though, we just ended up making a night of it. And I think we snuck into some sort of ‘Wake Fest’ or ‘Gnar Fest 2006’ or something. Either way, it was fun.

Haha – That was September long weekend 2006. 10 YEARS AGO! The rest, as you say is history.

Why did you start Kindred Thrift? Why thrifted clothing?

We’ve both always thrifted for ourselves and most of the time together, so mostly we started Kindred to turn our second hand shopping addiction into something meaningful and a little bit profitable. We both kind of have weird style that works with thrift thankfully, and it really is the most affordable way to keep your closet fresh.

Kindred has been a creative outlet for us as well, outside of our day jobs, that keeps us connected to each other and to the whole market community that is getting so large in Calgary. We spend time finding the clothes that fit into our collection, we alter some pieces to make them slightly customized or more modern fitting and our favorite part is helping our customers work our pieces into their wardrobe and style.

Why thrifted clothing? We think mostly because it was already a habit of ours and we are seemingly ok at finding things that can pair with modern pieces. Plus, it’s the best feeling when you find a great bargain!!

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How do you decide when something you find is worth selling?

Haha - We can’t give away our secrets!!

Any tips for those of us shopping previously loved clothing?

  1. Spend the time.
  2. Quality materials – check the labels
  3. Try it on. You really never know until you try it.
  4. Check for stains – and rips!
  5. Go with a friend, it’s more fun that way!
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Best thing you have found while thrift shopping?

Every time we go shopping we think we’ve found the best thing that we’ve ever found! That’s the thrill of it.

Most recently we found this crazy, amazing, designer, wrap style dress that was seemingly made for our friend, Kelsey. She mentioned that she needed something for a wedding and we found it the next day! It was very exciting for all of us!

On a road trip to Portland, two years ago, we found this unique oversized quilted denim vest that Tessa still wears often. And this week, we found some mom jeans with an embroidered cow skull on the left thigh. The best find happens often, and it's what keeps us shopping!

What is your philosophy?

Keep things thrifty. We want people to buy the gems that we find, so part of that is to keep things affordable and 'thrifty' for everyone, and allows us to update our collection constantly.

Also, we were careful about naming ourselves ‘Thrift’ not vintage. We totally appreciate the true meaning of vintage, and therefore standby that our pieces don’t necessarily have to be from a certain era or be for a certain niche.  We are ok with them just being cool and thrifty.

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What inspires you?

We get inspiration from a lot of different places, but mostly each other and our friend group – somehow we ended up with the most stylish friends, we think.

Thrifting is a huge inspiration for us as well, because every time we find something cool we have to think about how it could get styled or what type of person could wear it.

And the other thing that is super inspiring is when we see people on the streets or out and about wearing and really rocking something that they bought from us! That’s inspiration to keep it up.

What are your goals, both personally and professionally?

We both have very different career paths, so professionally I think we have our eyes set on different sights. Personally though, we are fairly on par with how we both want to develop, keep getting better and stay relevant and stylish.

Our goal for Kindred right now, is to figure out a way to keep it going even though we will be in different cities.

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What advice do you have for those starting their own endeavours?

Find a way to start and start. It’s ok to not have every small detail figured out before you get started. Just start doing it and things will fall into place as you go.  Trust your vision and yourself to make the right choices as you go.

It’s ok to start small and to maybe even show up to markets without the bolts for your rolling racks. You’ll figure out a way to keep them standing - haha.

Also, ask a lot of questions. This community is so helpful and great, someone will have an answer for you.

Biggest reward being an entrepreneur? Biggest struggle?

Are we entrepreneurs? Haha!

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How do you define success?

Success for us is, in one year from now, to know more than we know today. We are still learning so much, every time we buy and sell something, every market that we attend and every person that we meet is part of that process. That sounds so cheesy, but it’s true.

We also feel pretty damn successful; every time someone is really excited about something they buy from us. One specific example is, at one of our Kindred Thrift yard sales someone bought a pair of overalls and went home immediately to put them on, so she could walk around in them for the rest of the day. Best feeling!

What does balance look like to you? How do you find it?

Still trying to figure out what balance looks like, but it really does help to have a creative outlet outside of the normal day to day. It forces your energy to be spread into different places and it forces us to figure out our individual priorities.

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What do you feel is the most important thing in life?

The people that you surround yourself with.

How are you trying to make a difference in our world?

Well, we definitely didn’t start Kindred to make a difference in the world. Like we said above, we started it to mostly hang out with each other - haha.

However, every thrift store we go to and see the piles and piles of clothing and textiles that are donated every day it is a reminder that, in our own small way, we are recycling the goods that already exist in the world instead of purchasing new. Everything that we buy has, essentially, been recycled.

We are by no means experts in this area, but we are eager to learn more about this issue and possible solutions as we go, and very glad that we are contributing in even the smallest of ways.

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How do you navigate having both a friendship & business partnership?

Well, we still like each other if that is what you are asking - haha! Kindred has actually become a big part of our friendship, keeping us connected!

We think the biggest thing is trust. We know each other very well by this point - a lot of things can happen before we even talk to each other about it. And we really trust each other’s judgement, so it hasn’t been that tough.

The biggest downfall is that our schedules don’t always allow us to shop together as much as we would like to.

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What are your plans now that one half of Kindred Thrift is moving to Victoria?

Honestly, we don’t really have a plan outside of that we both really want to keep things going. We understand that things might slow down for Kindred during this transition time, but are making plans to continue doing markets in Calgary annnndddd also in Victoria.

So, essentially we are expanding our territory but we don’t really know what that looks like yet.  We are open to Kindred becoming whatever it is that is going to become.

Any upcoming events? Where can we currently find or buy your pieces?

We are not sure what our next event is going to be. Tessa is moving to Victoria - we are currently answering these questions en route there in the car right now, so again we are just figuring out how that will look. Rita will still be doing markets and events in Calgary.

Our friends at The Livery Shop in Inglewood carry our pieces and we surprisingly sell a lot of stuff from our Instagram page. So if you see anything on there that you might like, please do send us a note. We usually have people come to the studio once or twice a week.

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