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Secondhand lingerie doesn’t seem like it’d sell, but this M’sian has made a biz out of it

Thanks to increased awareness of textile waste and sustainability, second-hand clothes have become more popular and are even considered cool. But can thrifted lingerie get the same amount of love?

With Thriftfitts having over 4,000 followers on Instagram and making around 50 sales per week, the answer seems to be yes.

Thriftfitts is a small online thrift store operating off Instagram that sells curated and thrifted lingerie, though items such bodysuits and dresses are starting to make regular appearances too.

Jessica Lee, the founder of Thriftfitts, started the online store at the beginning of the MCO in 2020, but her interest in selling clothes started before that.

“The biggest contributor to this interest in fashion is my mum,” she said. “She has always been a very stylish person with an entrepreneurial heart. She was selling ladies’ accessories and clothing from Korea, and I would tag along with her to buy inventory and also visit her pop-up stores and boutiques.”

Though something like Thriftfitts seemed like a natural progression of what she enjoyed, going into this lingerie and nightwear was a chance encounter for Jessica.

But why thrifted lingerie?

Slip dresses and lingerie-styled fashion was trendy in late 2019 and early 2020, and Jessica noticed that lingerie, in particular, can be really expensive.

Some slip dresses from Thriftfitts / Image Credit: Thriftfitts

“I thought, let’s try bringing in some pieces to see how it’s liked by the audience,” she recounted. “To my surprise, the response was really good, and I just kept going on from there.”

Since her realisation, Jessica has been curating thrifted lingerie pieces that come from budget-friendly brands such as Target and Walmart as well as high-end names such as Victoria’s Secret, La Perla, and Natori.

Is it hygienic?

One of the most common questions when it comes to thrift clothes in general is the cleanliness of the products. This concern is further exacerbated when it comes to intimate apparel.

First of all, Thriftfitts doesn’t deal with panties. But corsets, bras, and bodysuits are still relatively intimate pieces, so it’s understandable to have some reservations.

Therefore, Thriftfitts carries out a strict selection process where badly damaged or dirty pieces are thrown out. Sometimes, Jessica comes across pieces that are new with tags, but most of the time the pieces are preloved, so they come with slight imperfections.

“We just make sure that we put it out there and inform customers about it,” Jessica said in regards to the flaws. “During the packaging process, we would recheck the items for any damages that we may have missed. We will mend it if it is within our means.”

Pieces with different styles and materials can be found on their page / Image Credit: Thriftfitts

Thriftfitts also ensures that pieces are clean before sending them out. They first use a hot steam iron on every garment. If they find any stains, they will proceed to deep clean them. Instead of washing all the pieces in water, they clean each piece one by one to avoid colour transfer.

Concerned customers will sometimes request additional photos and even videos from Thriftfitts to build confidence in their purchase, which Jessica is happy to oblige.

Ultimately, the general rule with thrift clothes is to wash them yourself before putting them on anyway.

At first, Jessica started with selling her own items, but she soon branched out to sourcing from personal collectors to purchase pieces from them.

Is it affordable?

The bras from Thriftfitts can go from RM22 to RM59 based on factors such as the brand, design, and material. These prices are considerably affordable, compared to many lingerie brands on the market.

I searched for originals for these two pieces / Image Credit: Thriftfitts

Thriftfitts doesn’t always include the brand of the pieces, so it might be hard to tell whether or not a piece is worth its price. I decided to search for some dupes for a cropped white corset listed on Thriftfitt’s Instagram to do some price comparisons.

Right off the bat, I see that Cotton On and Revolve carry similar items. Cotton On’s Ultimate Lace Push Up Bustier is priced at RM124, while Revolve’s Lilly Lace Bustier Top costs RM219.08. Thriftfitts’ preloved piece, on the other hand, is RM59.

I also looked for the original pricing for a red and black La Senza bustier babydoll, which costs RM55 on Thriftfitts. I couldn’t find the exact one, but babydolls from La Senza are about RM717.14 (though they do come with thongs).

Like me, Jessica also looks up similar pieces by the same brands when pricing Thriftfitts items.

Is it inclusive?

An issue with thrifted clothes might be the sizing, but Thriftfitts seems to have curated an inclusive assortment of sizes. Just scrolling through their Instagram page, I see sizes going from XS to XL. There are lingerie pieces that fit A-C cups as well as some that fit D-E cups.

Different styles of bras carried by Thriftfitts / Image Credit: Thriftfitts

It’ll probably take you a bit of searching to find something that ticks all your boxes, but Jessica does a great job of including all the necessary measurements for each piece.

Getting good quality inventory was one of the biggest challenges for Thriftfitts, but they seem to have the hang of it now. The Thriftfitts Instagram page is always being updated with newly thrifted products, though some are sold super quickly.

Not just lingerie

In the beginning, Thriftfitts actually sold general ladies’ clothing before narrowing it down to lingerie and nightwear. These days, as they are more established, they’re branching out again.

On their page, you can different types of clothes such as blouses, dresses, robes, skirts, shorts, and more, though what really sets them apart from similar businesses is the intimate apparel they carry.

The store carries dresses as well / Image Credit: Thriftfitts

In the future, Jessica is looking to venture into live shopping. Although Thriftfitts has established itself as a hub for thrifted pieces (it’s in the name!), there’s a chance they might expand into new clothing as well.

  • Learn more about Thriftfitts here.
  • Read about more Malaysian businesses here.

Featured image credit: Jessica Lee, founder of Thriftfitts

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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