Meet the Thrift Store Owner Rescuing Graphic Tees from the Landfill (2024)

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by thrifty entrepreneurs. This lead to the creation of this new series where I interview thrift store owners about their business, pricing resell items, thrifting tips, and more! There’s something so interesting about an entrepreneur’s journey – especially when they are prioritizing sustainability. I hope you enjoy this interview and stay tuned for more.

1. Please introduce yourself and your business to the T&T community.

Why, hello! My name is Camille Lee and I run WearEmOutTees.com which is based out of Dallas, TX, and is an online graphic t-shirt business where all inventory is comprised of pre-loved tees that we then add original graphic artwork to.

USE CODE TAT30 FOR 30% OFF 3/29/23 to 6/6/23

2. What inspired you to create your business?

As a result of seeing clothes at the thrift stores that were new and still had their original tags, I thought it was such a shame that after all of the work and natural resources that had gone into those garments, that if not sold, they’d be headed to the landfill. And, although I couldn’t rescue all the clothes and divert them away from landfills, I could save at least a segment of those things by upcycling them and putting them back into the economy.

3. How would you describe the items you curate for your store?

Our collections include a variety of pre-loved, cotton t-shirts. By nature, the way they’re sourced means that the chances that we’ll find two of the exact same shirt is rare – but not impossible. We look for shirts that have distinct features, whether that means a uniquely shaped collar, a patch of lace on the back or even fringe at the hem. But, don’t get me wrong, the basic tee is also always a good find. Any style in good condition that we can divert away from landfills is a winning style!

4. Pricing is something a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. Would you mind sharing your pricing strategy?

Since the point of WearEmOutTees.com is to re-direct t-shirts from landfill, we want to ensure that our pricing stays competitive all while being affordable. It’s likely that we’ll never sell a $100 dollar t-shirt. We want to rescue as many tees as we can and therefore our focus is on volume. There may come a time, however when we release a special collection where the prices would be higher in order for measurable proceeds to be gifted to a non-profit organization.

Meet the Thrift Store Owner Rescuing Graphic Tees from the Landfill (1)

5. What’s the key to a successful thrift business?

I think the key to any successful business – thrift or not is to choose wisely the things you’re willing and able to do over a very long period of time. If you’re not passionate about it, it won’t last because over time, you’ll lose enthusiasm for it and will eventually stop doing it.

6. What has been your best thrift find personally and/or for the shop?

Professionally? I found a Vera Wang tee. I didn’t even know Vera Wang had a line of casual wear. It didn’t take long for that one to sell. Personally, I thrift as much as I possibly can, so it’s hard to choose a favorite! The most recent find was the dining room table. I was happy to buy it from a retired teacher who was downsizing her lifestyle and planning to relocate across the country. I take such joy in helping support people in our communities versus releasing money freely to corporations.

7. What’s your thrifting secret?

Ooo, secrets! I think my biggest secret when thrifting – and possibly my biggest tip is to make sure that whatever you’re getting ready to purchase ticks all of your required boxes.

In other words:

  1. do you like the shape of it?
  2. What about the color?
  3. Will it fit in your space?
  4. Is the material something that suits your style?
  5. Will it function in the way you intend?

I think that if it meets all of your requirements, you’ll be happiest with the purchase.

8. Any tips for aspiring resellers?

Consider your favorite sections of a store – the sections you can spend hours on end in – those are the items you should consider reselling because you’ll find enjoyment in the work.

Thank you Camille for sharing your story with us! Be sure to check out her online shop and don’t forget to use the discount code TAT30 FOR 30% OFF.

Meet the Thrift Store Owner Rescuing Graphic Tees from the Landfill (2024)

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