Monochrome Dreamy Creams

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Outfit Features:

60's Fred Rothschild of California Button Down Shirt, S $40
Bongo Tapered Denim Jeans, 27" waist, $48

Inquire about purchasing anything by emailing me here.

Model: Atha Davis
Photography/Styling/Creative: Natasha Lo
Location: Berkeley, CA

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Just Some Theories On Business and Sustainability

Before I dive into all my theories and rants, this post is strictly meant to provoke thought, and is by no means the absolute truth. As always, these are just my thoughts. ;)

From our pop-up at McMullen in Oakland.

From our pop-up at McMullen in Oakland.

Now let me start with a couple questions I'd like you to think about.

Can a business value sustainability as it does its culture and company mission?

At what point does company size affect values and culture within a company?

From a career perspective, do corporations and larger business provide better or less impactful experiences than "small" independently owned businesses?

Are you currently in your dream job or career?

Do you find that with scale comes less personalization and more generaliztion?

I start with this because these are some of the questions I constantly asked myself as I entered the world of entrepreneurship. In business school (well at least back when I was studying in college) you were taught that success can be measured through your financial statements, customer happiness, sales and company size, you compared to your competitors in your industry... numbers numbers numbers.

No one really tells you social impact, environmental impact, customer lifestyle impact. Cause does that really make money?


America's success and strength has been built on the concept of consumerism. Consumption drives business and sales, therefore as a culture we've been trained to consume, consume, consume. Because when people consume, they spend money. When people spend money, the economy flourishes. 

In the midst of all of it, we've forgotten what we truly value, lowered our expectations of quality, ignored the impact of the environment, and have found it difficult to really define what is happiness. Is it money? A car? A family? Lots of money?

It can be overwhelming to think about sustainability especially in a world of technology, convenience and all the consumption thats built this country. We are aware of sustainability, at the same time find it hard to take action and focus on change with all the stimulation we put ourselves through.

In the end, we live in a world where money and consumption seem to hold the power. 

I've had my far share of experience working for other companies / corporations. One that was large and one the went from small to large. I can attest that with scale and growth it is very easy to loose focus on the founding values a company originally had. Even more difficult focusing on sustainability in business practice, office management or company decisions. 

I mean, most companies are focused on growth and scaling. What makes us think they can actually care for the environment in the midst of it all?


So here we go. Theory #1.

When a business scales or Becomes too large, it is almost impossible to be sustainable. 

Lets just focus on the Fashion Industry to keep things "simple."

When fast fashion companies push consumers to consume more in order to build sales and make more money, we're confusing people on what they actually need vs. what they want. On top of it all, we're not being transparent on the true cost of the product and what it takes to get it to the end consumer. Child labor? Endless pollution? Shitty quality?

Is it their fault though or is it the enviable fate of being a "large corporation"?


This leads me to theory #2.

If we focused on supporting more local, smaller businesses, these businesses in return could focus on sustainability.

As a new business owner I've realized that there are SO many things to think about when running a business. Even as a company of one person! It is even more difficult to balance the dedication to sustainability all while making a living... if ya know what I mean $$.

Do I just go on Amazon and order all the office supplies needed? It's cheap, prime gets it to me in two days or sometimes even one day and I don't even have to leave the house. 

Or should I go to places like Scrap or Creative Reuse Depot to find what I need where it'll take time to drive there, find parking and then dig through everything to find what I need?

This may seem like a very simple almost superfluous decision, but this just goes to show how easy it is to brush aside the most sustainable option when running a business. Cause time is money and convenience is everything right?

But when you're a smaller business, you can move at a comfortable speed of growing your business and take the time to make the sustainable decision. Whether it is how you decide to manufacture your product or where you'll get your price tags.

Alyce on Grand party they hosted for local creatives and entrepreneurs.

Alyce on Grand party they hosted for local creatives and entrepreneurs.


Now onto theory #3.

Less large corporations mean more market share for the smaller local businesses to thrive and additionally allows for more personalization and specialization for the consumer.

Have you ever tried to hand write a personal thank you card for more than 10 people? It is hard! You start saying the same thing and your penmanship gets sloppy. It is just the nature of scaling something "personal."

The same goes for running a business. You try to create special unique experiences to actually create a positive impact, but once you have to scale that to the hundred thousands and millions, it becomes more robotic and almost "sloppy." Especially sloppy in terms of environmental impact.

Internally as an employee, we've heard time and time again that people prefer to work for smaller businesses that are still dedicated to their mission and that actually care for their people, culture and customer beyond just being a dollar sign. We also hear a lot of people working for large companies just for stability, but in no way is this they're actual "dream job."


Theory #4.

Smaller local businesses mean more entrepreneurs and people doing what they love. And when more people do what they love, we live in a better world.

Happy me in my happy place.

Happy me in my happy place.

And here it comes full circle.

When people are doing what they love, we have more smaller local businesses and entrepreneurs, who then provide quality service and product to the world, which also happens to be achieved through focusing on sustainability, which then allows our planet to give back to us and live our fullest lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing Denim

This past weekend I got to hang with the one and only Skylar Allen. Before I dive into our shoot, I wanted to share a quick story about our friendship.

I was just starting to launch The Consistency Project as a full-time time gig and my first business of order was planning Closet Marketplace, an event where individuals could re-sale their clothes, bond over up cycling activities (ie. embroidery, patching, etc) and just connect with good company. This was all in February of this year.

Considering I didn't really have a strong following and wanted to have some "new" friends in the mix, I cold - DMed a bunch of people in the Bay Area. Lots of bloggers or anyone I felt may connect with what I was doing. I was really taking things back to my sales days... But honestly it was one of the best things I did. Many people didn't get back to me (surprise surprise...) but a few did. Skylar was one of them that got back to me and so did my now good friend, Praise who is pushing ethical weddings & took my engagement photos. So proud of her.

Throwback to the event in Feb 2017. Skylar to the far right. :)

Throwback to the event in Feb 2017. Skylar to the far right. :)

Anyways. Skylar was the only blogger that ended up coming to my event and here we are today collaborating and making cool shit happen. I am so grateful for her support since the beginning.

Social media sometimes gets a bad rep, but I am grateful for the accessibility it has caused and for the new friends I now have from it.

 


Now onto our shoot...

The one thing I've really learned about photographing someone over these past couple of shoots with friends, particularly more in a lifestyle setting, is that it's a relationship between you and the one being photographed. It can be your chance to showcase something special about them. Emotions, past experiences, thoughts, who they are... and the undiscovered.

It can also be a learning experience. With Skylar I felt like I learned more about her all while connecting with her in a different way than previous times.

Once I saw her moving like a dancer in some of the photos, I was like "What you danced?!" and  "YESSS. Give me MOREEEEE." She honestly just kept taking the direction, didn't push back and let herself explore and open up.

Mind you, I had her jumping, twirling, and more... All in the hot blaring sun in a long denim coat. Not one peep or sign of letting that bother her. Honestly another aspect I admired/learned about her that day.

Check out the first look. The inspo for this was showcasing a mix of some classic, yet feminine touches. From the 50s head wrap to the long denim coat to her movement.

Same word. 3 times.

LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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Outfit Features:

Cream Deadstock Tee, S $18
Vintage DKNY Wrap Skirt, Size 8, ~ 28" Waist  $45
Long Denim Coat, Fits up to XL $80
Silk Polka Dot Scarf, $15

Inquire about purchasing anything by emailing me here.

Model: Skylar Allen
Photography/Styling/Creative: Natasha Lo
Location: Berkeley, CA

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Flirty & Thriving.

Literally TOO GOOD working with Atha yesterday.

I got to do everything from the styling to the creative work to the photography. The perks of being a self entrepreneur, you find ways to build skills in other areas besides just the business. I say perks but lets be real. Little funds, means finding ways to make it happen. Luckily Atha is a professional. ;)

This shoot screamed flirty and thriving. On one hand you think cute, innocent and flirty and on the other hand you got a boss lady, thriving and making shit happen.

Where my flirty and thriving ladies at?!

<3 Natasha

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Outfit Features:

Nike x TCP Embroidered Shirt in Cream, M $40
Cropped Pinstripe Trousers, Fits 26" - 28" Waist  $35
Wool Red Beret, $20

Inquire about purchasing the trousers or beret by emailing me here.

Model: Atha Davis
Photography/Styling/Creative: Natasha Lo
Location: Berkeley, CA

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Roses are Red.

From cropped cream denim to bloom sleeves to roses. There's something romantic yet carefree about this shoot that I just adore.

Happy Friday.

- Natasha

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Outfit Features:

Inquire about purchasing the blouse by emailing me here.

Model & Styling: Michelle Blanco
Photography & Creative Direction: Natasha Lo
Location: Oakland, CA

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Stop Junk Mail

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I've been on this journey to continually find new ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle and been really inspired by all the resources out there. The internet is amazing for these reasons. 

At the same time it's been a little overwhelming.

Finding a starting point. Switching out all your plastic for wood or aluminum. Making your in-home cleaners. Remembering to always have our reusables. Avoiding packaging and disposables. Knowing everything you can actually recycle. Eating locally. Composting. Changing laundry habits. 

I mean the list can go on.

If anything I've learned that it just takes approaching everything one at a time. Taking on 1-3 transitions a month and creating those good habits. 


So lets see if you're up for a sustainable lifestyle change this month.

What if you could Stop getting Junk Mail?

You know all that junk mail you receive in your mailbox? Not the digital one... we got filters for that. I'm talking about your physical mailbox. Why are companies still sending that junk?!

Catalog Choice is a donation based service that helps you opt out of junk mail.

All you have to do is:

- Take note of all the companies you receive junk mail from.
- Sign up for an account with Catalog Choice.
- Start going down the list of companies and opting out of their physical mail through Catalog Choice's website.

 I promise it'll feel real good having a mailbox junk free and saving hundreds of trees.

Here's to making changes one baby step at a time.

 

The One Weekly Newsletter You Need

I've mentioned this before but I'm mentioning it again.

SIGN UP FOR GOBLU'S NEWSLETTERS.

You can do so by clicking here!

And I promise this isn't sponsored. Although, Hey GoBlu!! This is Natasha from The Consistency Project! Holla at yo girl!

I just choose to promote it because every week the articles they put together are SO insightful and really push me to be better and do better in the land of sustainability. 

They compile a bunch of sustainability / fashion related articles into one weekly email and in categories like Brands & Retail, Reports, Guidelines & Standards, The Supply Chain and Manufacturers. 

I look forward to this email every week and spend a decent amount of time reading every single article. Honestly it can get a little depressing at times to read about the pollution, labor issues and lack of care from a lot of big fashion brands. But in the midst of it all, there are also a lot of research being done, action being made and sustainable brands that are pushing things forward.

Either way, staying current is just step one to making a difference. 


I want to leave you with this one article titled: Is Sustainable Fashion Completely Pointless? by HighSnobiety that was in GoBlu's most recent newsletter.

It provoked a lot of thought for me personally but I won't preach anything here.

I will say that whatever you're doing to try and make a difference, it does contribute to the bigger impact and thank you for doing it.

Baby steps people.

Now go subscribe to GoBlu's newsletter. 

 

The Insider Series: Denim + Workwear

So here I am with more for the insider series to hopefully give you continual insight on The Consistency Project - what I'm working on, our business focus, theories on sustainability, and more. To be honest I'm seeing it as an ever evolving outlet to just provide more transparency. ;)

As I mentioned in my last insider post, I wanted to share more about why I chose to focus on denim and workwear as a vintage seller. Doesn't seem like much of a topic, but I felt like it touched up on a lot of the underlying values that I wanted to have when starting this "business."

So here we go.


In case you haven't read the "About" section on my website, this project started with a focus on travel, apparel and how you can do more with less. When you traveled with less "baggage," this allowed more focus on the experience. And lets be honest, your experience is the most important and impactful part of traveling. 

When you travel, you pack your favorite pieces, what is comfortable and what is versatile even within seasons. Preferably all in one carry-on. This thought process of choosing what to pack also inadvertently taught us what we truly needed and valued within our closets.

This concept of "doing more with less" did hover around the whole "minimalist" lifestyle except as I thought about it more, I realized having less stuff was just part of the battle. You wanted to do more with less stuff, but you also wanted to make sure anything you purchased was sustainable.

In the end, consumption is inevitable so how you can consume sustainably and be thoughtful on what clothing items are essential, comfortable and versatile all at the same time?

Hence the focus on denim and workwear was born.


Denim is classic.

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No one will ever argue that and it has been around for decades, never really falling out of “trend.” It is the essential to everyone's wardrobe and is extremely versatile for different seasons.

On the other hand it is also one of the most taxing pieces of clothing to produce on our environment. The amount of water, cotton, pollution and waste that is created is enormous.

Focusing on denim touched up on three goals.

First, it allowed me to try and create the biggest impact environmentally.

Secondly, with denim being an essential for everyone, it brought me back to my original values of encouraging people to think about doing more with less.

Lastly, it has allowed me to focus on a broader market and attract those customers that normally don't purchase secondhand. I could really be a “gateway”vintage shop to a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

Workwear is practical.

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I will admit that workwear has been trendy, but to me workwear represents something more. It has always been designed for durability and utility. You know stuff you WEAR to WORK... get it? Workwear? haha. 

But in all seriousness, I love that about it. There's something about bringing back practicality to our everyday wear and is a subtle reminder of why clothing is worn. For function, utility and comfort. Cause sadly being naked isn't practical for our modern day. ;)

Considering its practicality and how popular it is now, I felt it was a timely focus. 

 

Bonus: Denim + Workwear are my essentials.

So how could I not focus on what I love? It would defeat the purpose of making this a business in the first place.


Thanks for reading till the end. Hopefully this was a simple yet insightful read into the brain of Natasha Lo aka The Consistency Project aka my personal business diary. ;)

I find writing things out and sharing my thoughts are the best way to really solidify and understand meaning behind why I do what I do internally. Truly an insightful process for myself. A suggestion I recommend to everyone. 

Peace for the Summer of Love,

Natasha

Spicy Sportwear

I had so much fun shooting with Teresa in my "makeshift" home studio the other day. Teresa is a friend I met through a Fashion Hackathon in SF where we worked on a sustainable project idea together. It was "complete stranger to friends" destiny.

We're excited to jump back on our app idea we originally connected on and soon share it with y'all but for now I'll just share some of the photos we took.

She is one of my more "athletic & healthy" friends so its not a surprise she gravitated towards the sportswear I carry. I was however, surprised at all the colors she pulled to style since she happens to curate a pretty nice Instagram with a more monotone feel. ;)

But check out the first look. I call it spicy sportswear.

<3 Natasha

Outfit Features:

Silver/ Maroon Tennis Bomber Jacket, $45
Red Mesh Sportswear Tee, $18
Cropped Levis 517s, $70

Inquire about purchasing the Levis or jacket by emailing me here.

Mode & Stylingl: Teresa Lai
Photography: Natasha Lo
Location: Oakland, CA

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The Insider Series: The Beginning

Always keep that window of opportunity open.

Always keep that window of opportunity open.

There's something about being an insider or "behind the scenes" that seems so cool and glamorous but in reality what's really actually special about it is the opportunity to see how things get created and to learn and be inspired. 

Learning and inspiration. What all us millennials want nowadays.

I wanted to start sharing all the "inside scoop" on The Consistency Project & take you on this journey with me. What's going on? What're we up to next? Why do we do what we do? 

It's that opportunity share my learnings, hopefully be inspired and to challenge yourself to think through things whether it's your own business, your passion project, your job, your life. Anything. Whatever you take from it, will be yours to keep.

Part of connecting with a brand is getting to understand their values and what's actually behind the scenes. Things are so well fabricated for the public eye that sometimes words in a blog post can be the best route to be as straightforward as possible. So here we are.


Although I'm a one woman show, I still sometimes use "we" vs. "I" or "team" vs. "me" because when you work by yourself, you start to see those you collaborate with as your team and companions regardless of being under the same "business" or "company."

We traditionally think that a business is made up of a team or teams and everyone has a role. But doing this solo has forced me to seek building a team through collaborations with other businesses, projects and individuals. We all get to work together like any other "team" for a greater cause, learn from different perspectives and contribute to each other's success, but at the end of the day you still have your own brand and business you can call your own. This is pretty cool and this approach to self-entreprenuership has become more and more apparent nowadays.

I have been blessed to have worked with many different people already. I just want to take the time to thank everyone that has worked with me, whether taking the time to reach out, collaborating with me, answering my random requests, helping me develop my business or believing in what I'm doing. For anyone else out there who's looking to collaborate, holla at yo girl. When we help each other, success is that much sweeter. 

Lesson of the post: Success can't be reached alone & relationships do matter. 

Stay tuned for my next BTS Insider series post which will get a little more granular on why I focus on denim and workwear, and my thought process behind that decision. Sounds so fun right? ;)

- Natasha 

Sequins & Plaid

Layering sheer dresses and trousers.
Pairing sports tanks with designer heels.

Opposites attract. My favorite.

- Natasha

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Vintage/Secondhand Featured:

Inquire about purchasing the dress or trousers by emailing me here.

Model & Styling: Teru Murao
Photography & Creative Direction: Natasha Lo
Location: Oakland, CA

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Summerrrrrrrr Collabs

A lot has happened since I last wrote, but ya know. Life moves quickly. ;)

Wanted to check in cause it's the summer and I'm looking to get werk done!

I'll have events at least once a month to check out the new new and get fitted in the classics. I'm also committing to beefing up my Etsy shop with more styled photos and a range of pieces and even accessories. Hope you peep out those channels and show some love.

But really when I say werk this summer. I mean collaborations. 

1. Looking to produce some photoshoots with all the clothing I have. Also just got a new camera. Say what? Calling all "models" or anyone who likes to be photographed, fellow vintage sellers, bloggers, photographers, CDs, stylists, MUA and more. Lets work together and build our portfolios.... oh wait should I say Instagram? ;)

2. Carrying more upcycled designs. If you're a designer or just like to design cool shit, lets work together. Not going to spill all the beans here so if at all interested, holla at yo girl.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for another post where I just spill out my heart (and soul) on The Consistency Project & continue to share what it's all about.

Peace. 

- Natasha

 

 

April Showers Bring May Flowers - Lookbook

I'm super excited that our first retail pop-up is already this weekend at Viscera in Downtown Oakland on 4/7 and 4/8! I'm not as excited about the rain forecasted... but instead took that as inspiration for a new lookbook, April Showers Bring May Flowers. 

I was inspired by the idea of floral like textures and shapes as well as this transitional period of warm and cold/wet weather. Although I'm not much into music festivals, I did take a little inspiration from there as well considering people are shopping for "festival season" or whatever that means. ;) 

All items will be available at our Viscera pop-up this weekend so if its your size, I hope you'll come down and get it while you can. 

<3


Black Lace Embroidered Jacket Size  S/M $60

Black Lace Embroidered Jacket
Size  S/M
$60

Light Grey Wide Leg Trousers 28" Waist $30

Light Grey Wide Leg Trousers
28" Waist
$30

Cream Italian Wool Sweater Size XS $40

Cream Italian Wool Sweater
Size XS
$40

Patched Suede Mules Size 7.5 $30

Patched Suede Mules
Size 7.5
$30

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Pleated Long Sleeve Blouse Size S $35, (very Issey Miyake inspired)

Pleated Long Sleeve Blouse
Size S
$35, (very Issey Miyake inspired)

Light Wash Vintage Wrangler Jeans Size 3 x 34, 26" Waist $50

Light Wash Vintage Wrangler Jeans
Size 3 x 34, 26" Waist
$50

Pink Boho Shift Dress Size L/XL $40

Pink Boho Shift Dress
Size L/XL
$40

Hope to see you this weekend @ our Viscera pop-up!

Don't let the rain stop you. With rain comes flowers. The weather is bringing rain, we'll provide you the "flowers." ;)

 

 

Part 3: The True Cost of Vintage

Photo Credit: Shannon Zurawski

Photo Credit: Shannon Zurawski

Welcome to the last part of series.

This is the part of the series that I've been dying to share because it was something I misunderstood before getting into the business. How do you price vintage? How do you make a living off of it? Why do people think vintage cost so much?

There's two parts to this conversation so lets just dive in.


Perception

The first part I want to address when it comes to vintage pricing is perception. Perception is what causes us to think that vintage is expensive. Why would we pay $40 for something "used" when you can buy something for $40 new? Therefore vintage becomes "expensive" but lets be real. You'll spend more than $40 for one piece at Zara but won't buy a vintage top for $40?

It all has to do with perception.

Putting things into perspective is one way to change your perception. Watching documentaries like The True Cost brings visibility into cheap, fast fashion clothing. Yes the new item costs $40 but the cost to the planet and the people's lives that are sewing each piece? That adds up WAY beyond the price tag you see. 

Time

The second part of this conversation is the time it takes to curate, find and sift through the billions of pounds of clothing that are donated. This doesn't even include the 26 billion pounds of clothing that gets thrown away and in our landfills.

There is A LOT of clothing on this planet. The majority of it is cheap, poorly made items that people don't want. But sometimes like a diamond in the rough, there will be a piece of clothing that was donated that has the potential to be loved again. This is what vintage sellers do. They find the best unique items in the sea of unwanted clothing and re-conceptualize it to be purchased and used again. But this take time. It doesn't help that more and more cheaply made clothing will continue to make it harder to find quality items that people would want to wear again.

Lets use an example to show some numbers.

Person A makes $60,000 a year which is close to the average salary in the US. That breaks down to $31.25 an hour before taxes for a 40 hour work week. So in the end the pay per hour is actually less than that, but we'll keep it simple for the sake of this example.

Person A decides to leave their $60k job and open up a vintage shop. Person A will still value their time at $31.25 an hour based on their previous job just to try and make the same living wage.

  • Sourcing Vintage: Person A goes to a thrift store to pick up some items to resale. If you've ever been to a thrift store you can easily spend 2-4 hours looking through everything because that's just what you have to do to find the "good" stuff in the sea of cheap clothing. Lets say its a good day and Person A goes home with 10 items and it took 2 hours. That's $62.50 towards the cost of each item for resale.
  • Cleaning Vintage: The items still need to be cleaned, pressed and prepared for sale. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Let's just add 1 hour of $32.25 to the total cost.
  • Creating an Inventory: Then the items need to be inventoried. With vintage, each item is unique and needs to be documented as so. Many sellers take the item's measurements, write up a description and note the condition. This can take another 2-3 hours. Let's just add another 2 hours of $62.50 to the total cost.
  • Photographing/Selling: Then the item still needs to be photographed and styled if going online or it'll go into a brick and mortar shop. Photographing, styling and selling can estimate to be around 4-6 hours and for a brick and mortar, you're paying for rent, employees and potentially still photographing it for social media. Lets just say this all accounts for 5 hours ($161.25) that will be added to the total cost.

So lets calculate the total cost of each item based on a pre-tax $60K salary.

$62.50 (finding the item) + $32.25 (cleaning the item) + $62.50 (inventory) + $161.25 (photography/selling) = $318.50

$318.50/ 10 items = $31.85 additional cost for labor.

Average item might cost $10 so each item could have a total cost of $41.85.

This ends up being ~ 4x markup just to cover all the work and time you've spent on the items. The average markup for new clothing is 3x to 10x depending on the brand. Newer clothing of course has a much higher markup due to the cheap labor issues.

This is all based on a "good" day for a seller. Sometimes you spend hours and get nothing. Sometimes you go to estate sale and each item you purchase averages around $15 instead. Or maybe you drive to a vintage warehouse, average $20 per item and need to additionally factor in the drive or shipping for those items. 

AND... this is all assuming each item sells. Many sellers have to take a loss for some items that don't sell so many add that into their markups and pricing as well.

AND... this example was only for 10 items. Many vintage sellers need at least several hundred items at the very least. So multiply all that time and money by at least 30x.


So in conclusion, putting things into perspective and acknowledging it takes a lot of time and work to sell vintage clothing is the key to understanding the price tag on vintage.

Some may say, "Why don't I just go get the "vintage" myself at thrift stores?" We say, be our guests! We love the idea of people shopping secondhand on their own. The more people that do it, the more we can cater to people who avoid thrift stores. Cause we all know you're out there. ;)

The price tags for vintage are normally honest. Key word... normally as some resellers charge WAY TOO MUCH, but just do your research, know that you're doing something good for the planet and in the end supporting a hard working vintage entrepreneur that went through pounds of cheap clothing just to get the good stuff.

We appreciate you taking the time to learn and build awareness.

Now keep spreading the word. 

Part 2: Where does Vintage come from?

used clothing warehouse - the consistency project

I'm excited to continue this series with the golden question that many are curious about, yet resellers are hesitant to share... Where does vintage come from? We'll be sharing a decent amount so get ready for a good Sunday read.

Lets demystify this all for you.


The cycle of donated clothing

So did you know that most clothing you donate to smaller charities or those drop off locations around your local city actually gets sent to used clothing warehouses, organized by categories then sent back to thrift stores to resale? Clothing you donate gets bought by these used clothing warehouses for cents a pound which is how these charities and non-profits get money to support their cause. You might want to think that these charities are actually giving these clothes to the homeless or some other noble cause, but most times they're just getting sold to these warehouses.

Most thrift stores buy clothing by the pound that have already been organized by category. This helps the shops stay current on seasons. For example, you'll notice that there's more shorts or skirts on the racks during the summer seasons vs more coats in the winter. Normally people donate off season therefore need to sell then re-buy the clothing when needed.

There are the exceptions like Goodwill where they'll pick out clothing that is ready to sell and put them straight on the racks. More about this when I talk about Thrift Stores.

Used clothing warehouses & their vintage departments

Most used clothing warehouses have "vintage" departments. These vintage departments pick out vintage clothing or anything they think may be valuable and end up reselling it to vintage shops by the piece or by the pound. Most times the prices are actually higher than a thrift store, but the thought is that they've done all the hard work of finding the "best" items therefore can charge more.

This brings up another point, that sometimes thrift stores are already picked through by these vintage departments so it becomes harder to just find items on your own. Once in a while you'll find that amazing designer piece, but humans make errors and its humans that are organizing the donated clothing in a warehouses. Not machines. Remember that when you're buying a cheap piece of clothing. The cheap and illegal labor doesn't end after the clothing is made. It actually continues throughout its lifecycle.

Vintage Warehouses

So there's another smaller category of warehouses that specifically specialize in vintage clothing and don't necessarily just purchase donated clothing straight from charities. I actually don't know where they purchase their items from, but I do know they purchase in bulk. And by bulk, I mean BULK. 

Some cater to specific categories of clothing like denim or workwear and some focus on eras and styles of clothing. These vintage warehouses normally supply vintage shops all over the world, but they're main volume comes from bigger companies like Urban Outfitters who sell vintage as well. There's very few of them out there but they are definitely growing and becoming more of a demand as "vintage" becomes mainstream.

Pricing is definitely on the higher side, but again, they're doing a lot of work on their end by organizing and categorizing similar items to buy in bulk. This doesn't discount the hard work still put in by vintage resellers though.. More on this in the next series on vintage pricing.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are still a great sources for vintage or everyday secondhand basics. With thrift stores it is always unpredictable. For anyone that thrifts themselves, you know it is hit or miss. You either come back with LOTS of amazing items or nothing at all. But when you're a vintage business that relies on consistent inventory, this can be tricky. Sacrificing the time needed to find enough items for your shop can be hard to balance with everything else you need to get done.

As I mentioned about Goodwill, they will go through donated clothing and put them straight on the racks as they come in. So this can cause you to find some jackpots especially if there was a whole lot of good stuff just donated. Many say you can visit multiple times a week and potentially find good stuff each day, but even I personally can't find the time to do that.

So as a reseller you need to diversify your sources. But for those that love the hunt, thrift stores are one of the best consumer facing options to find vintage yourself. 

Estate Sales

Estate sales have been growing in popularity and IDK if resellers are happy about it (haha). These are basically sales of someone's personal goods that may have passed away or needs downsizing. You'll find all types of treasures from furniture to everyday home goods to clothing. This is sometimes a bit tricky for vintage shops because it is always hard to tell what you might end up getting in the end. It can be just as time consuming as thrift stores due to the increased competition of resellers and the location of where these sales take place.

If you've ever been to an estate sale, you'll sometimes find yourself walking straight into the house and finding nothing at all. Sometimes you'll be waiting in line for hours just to get into the house to find that all the good stuff had already been snatched up or you'll find yourself standing in line by 6 or 7AM for a 9AM sale just to be the first round of people to get into the house. Or once in the blue moon you'll get lucky and spend 2 hours at a local estate sale and come home with a box full of goodies.

Just like thrift stores, estate sales can be unpredictable. But this is another consumer facing way to find some treasures and is fair game for everyone.


We share this all with your because we believe in transparency, awareness and education. As much as we care to sell a lot of vintage though our shop, we care more about promoting this lifestyle. Whether you buy from us, straight from the thrift store or from another vintage shop. We support you. 

In the end, we all win when we join a secondhand lifestyle. The planet, the animals, local entrepreneurs, you, me and our future families.

Next up is the last part of our series which goes into why vintage costs the amount it does. 

 


Disclaimer: This is all based on research I've done on my own. If there is something inaccurate. Please let me know! I'm only here to spread awareness and help people understand the secondhand/vintage industry as a whole. Thank you!

Part 1: The Meaning of Vintage

theconsistencyproject_wranglers

Vintage clothing has been a misunderstood and mysterious space in the world of fashion. What does "vintage" even mean? Where does it even come from? Why does it cost so much?

I hope to demystify all these questions through a 3 part blog series over the next few days:

Part 1: The Meaning of Vintage
Part 2: Where does Vintage come from?
Part 3: The True Cost of Vintage

I hope to bring transparency to an industry that really is the future. Vintage and secondhand will be more and more relevant in the years to come. The planet can only sustain so long to support our consumer needs so I'm excited to share more about it in hopes you'll start supporting it.

So here we go with a simple read before you head out for your saturday night plans.


What does it even mean?

The term vintage is used to describe anything 20 years or older, but it has also been loosely used to describe "qualities" of an item.

As each year passes, another year is opened up with items to be considered "vintage." It is constantly evolving which is funny to think about since as consumers we always seek the new styles, which is why we buy new clothing. But actually, you can always find new styles or pieces with vintage as it technically changes each year.

You'll see many items replicating "vintage" clothing with "vintage" in its description, but it's still essentially new. It can get confusing at times when it comes to what you're actually buying. Our advice? Sniff out this deception and just go with buying the real deal.

Recycled Trends

The interesting thing is that in fashion, we're now at a point where trends are just recycled over the years. Many styles and trends aren't really 100% original anymore. If anything its the production and materials that are still evolving. An example being using recycled bottles to make synthetic fabrics. But if you study the history of fashion, you'll see that many designers take inspiration from the past and the same trends find themselves coming up again and again.

In the end, vintage clothing is more relevant than everyone really thinks. Someone could be wearing something new and someone wearing something vintage and they could both look the same.

Secondhand vs. Vintage

Now the difference between secondhand and vintage?

Some vintage items were dead stock or essentially never used so it doesn't quite fit into the secondhand category but in our opinion it falls under the saying, "same same but different." It was already produced a while back and is still being kept out of landfills so that's really the goal.

The majority of vintage clothing is truly the definition of secondhand. Secondhand is used to describe something that has been used by someone else and has the potential to be reused & recycled, which is what we're all about.


We hope you found this pretty straightforward. We felt like it was a nice way to ease into the rest of the series. 

Check back with us tomorrow for Part 2: Where does Vintage come from?

Happy Saturday!

Spring Blues - Lookbook

Peep at some looks we put together. Inspired by the thought that wool can be worn in any season including spring and that blues are as timeless as black.

All these pieces will be at our Viscera pop-up on April 7th & 8th in Downtown Oakland or available for purchase via email, hi@theconsistencyproject.com. View each photo description for details.

Who said secondhand couldn't look good? In my opinion it's one of a kind and better than any new trendy fast fashion. Cost about the same or sometimes cheaper. So what's stopping you?

Happy Spring Blues.

Oscar de la Renta Wool Skirt (Union Made) Size 10, 28" Waist $155

Oscar de la Renta Wool Skirt (Union Made)
Size 10, 28" Waist
$155

Lined Denim Button Down Shirt or Jacket Size 14/16 (Lrg, Womens)/(Sm/Med, Unisex) $40 SOLD

Lined Denim Button Down Shirt or Jacket
Size 14/16 (Lrg, Womens)/(Sm/Med, Unisex)
$40
SOLD

Chanel Striped Blue Quilted Purse $1,200 (for all the big spenders out there)

Chanel Striped Blue Quilted Purse
$1,200
(for all the big spenders out there)

Quilted Floral Pattern Silk Jacket Reversible to Black as well Size 14 (Lrg, Womens) $55

Quilted Floral Pattern Silk Jacket
Reversible to Black as well
Size 14 (Lrg, Womens)
$55

 
 
1899 Yukon Railway Crewneck Sweater Size L (Unisex) $25

1899 Yukon Railway Crewneck Sweater
Size L (Unisex)
$25

Cobalt Blue Wool Trousers Size 9, 27" Waist $30

Cobalt Blue Wool Trousers
Size 9, 27" Waist
$30

Chanel Striped Blue Quilted Purse Condition: Fading & wear due to age, which is why we love it even more. Its like Chanel and workwear had a baby. Truly one of a kind and fits our aesthetic perfectly. (swoon)

Chanel Striped Blue Quilted Purse

Condition: Fading & wear due to age, which is why we love it even more. Its like Chanel and workwear had a baby. Truly one of a kind and fits our aesthetic perfectly. (swoon)

Wrangler Jeans Size: Various in Mens/Womens $55

Wrangler Jeans
Size: Various in Mens/Womens
$55

"Made in Hawaii" Vintage Bandana $5

"Made in Hawaii" Vintage Bandana
$5

We'll be sharing more lookbooks leading up to our pop-up.

Feel free to email us with any questions or purchase requests: 
hi@theconsistencyproject.com

<3

Secondhand doesn't stop at clothing.

My fiancé was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about Urban Ore. If you live in the Bay Area and haven't heard of it, you should be ashamed. Just kidding, but you should look it up right now.

Urban Ore is a general store within a warehouse that strives to find the reuse potential of reclaimed items and building materials.

They carry everything from vintage clothing to recycled doors. It's truly a beautiful thing to go into their warehouse and see all the amazing treasures that were kept out of landfill.

The NPR story was about Urban Ore's owners, Dan and Mary Lou and their next step of retiring and potentially selling or closing Urban Ore. Their concern has been the lack of expertise in this area of business amongst potential buyers, especially since they aren't a non-profit that accepts donations, but instead they are a for-profit business that buys unwanted items from people directly or from salvage yards.

building_resources _tcp

This made me realize that we are in a transitional period in the world of secondhand.

The past generations who have really pioneered this world of reuse are looking to the newer generations to take the torch. But how do we make this more mainstream? How do we make a general store like Urban Ore be considered instead of going directly to new retail options? How do we get more shops like Urban Ore?

All questions I hope we can think about.

Prepping for Jack of All Trades flea was gratifying for me as I was reminded that there is ALWAYS a secondhand option that meet you purchasing needs.

For example, I needed moving blankets for my truck. My first instinct was to check out craigslist. I was scoured craigslist for a couple of days but didn't find any good, economical options. I even stopped by Urban Ore but there wasn't anything so in a panicked and turned to Amazon.

The next day I decided to stop by Urban Ore again since I had some time. Not only did I find two moving blankets at half the price, I found a jute rug that was perfect for the booth, a vintage samsonite folding card table for future events and several wooden crates. WOW. I'd like to say it wasn't luck but more determination. 

That was life telling me, never give up on finding a secondhand option before turning to buying new. In the end you save money and the planet. 

I'm proud to say that 90% of our business has been supplied and running through secondhand items. From our shopping bags (which has a closed business's name on it, we don't care) to our price tags to our booth decor.  We're about that secondhand lifestyle. 

This is what this project is all about. Applying the lifestyle not just with clothing, but to the many other parts of our lives which in return will provide consistency.

I've compiled a list of short list of my favorite reuse spots in the San Francisco bay area below. If you live outside the bay area just look up "reuse shops" in your area. You may be surprised what you have locally. 

Hope you check them out. Here's to reuse!


urban_ore_theconsistencyproject

Come Here For: Just about anything! Furniture, building supplies, clothing, records, books and more. It truly is a general store and has new stuff everyday.

Location: 900 Murray Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am - 7pm, Sun 10am - 7pm

Contact: (510) 841 - 7283

 

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse

east_bay_depot_theconsistencyproject

Come Here For: Craft supplies or any type of creative project. From fabric to egg cartons to recycled patches. They also carry a lot of smaller furniture.

Location: 4695 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM - 6PM

Contact: (510) 547-6470

 
scrap_sf_theconsistencyproject

Come Here For: Even more craft supplies or any type of creative project. They're similar to East Bay Depot but instead located in San Francisco and they have more office supplies and other random goodies.

Location: 801 Toland St San Francisco, CA 94124

Hours: Mon-Fri 10AM - 6PM, Sat 10AM - 5PM, Sun Closed

Contact: (415) 647-1746

 
building_resources_theconsistencyproject

Come Here For: Building resources (surprise!) You can also find some cool pieces and furniture to upcycle or use for a creative projects.

Location: 701 Amador St, San Francisco, CA 94124

Hours: Mon-Sun 9AM - 4:30PM

Contact: (415) 285-7814

My Visit to New York

Last week I was in New York. Immersed myself into the ever so fast paced lifestyle and the city center for fashion. So fab.

Views from where I stayed in East Village

Views from where I stayed in East Village

While in NY I visited warehouses, shadowed a buyer meeting, met with professionals in the industry, went to a music/fashion event hosted by a friend, caught up with more old friends, learned that I don't walk fast enough when getting around the city, and really just came to the realization that there is so much this project can provide beyond a shop or just events.

Through all the different conversations there it was apparent that this project is much more complex because what currently exists in the space of secondhand apparel are vintage shops, resale companies and flea markets.

Do we fit in one category?  
Kinda, but not really.

Is there more to be discovered and created in the space of secondhand?
Most likely.

In the end we want to give people other avenues to consume, share and dress sustainably. We want secondhand to be a norm and we want people to see character, a story and a blank canvas in things that are "used" vs. see it as trash. There's plenty of work we still need to do but we're continuing to learn from what exists, whether participating in flea markets or opening up an Etsy shop.

We don't consider ourselves part of the fashion industry, nor would we say we're about "fashion" but as The Consistency Project develops from concept to business, it was important to try and understand the fashion industry directly from a city like NY to understand how we fit into the bigger picture.

No matter what, it just comes down to the same goal of apparel and how we clothe ourselves.


We'll continue to see what's possible to then hopefully create something new. Time will tell and we appreciate you following along and always welcome feedback.

To everyone I spoke to over this NY trip and the friends that supported me through treating me out to meals, a place to stay or kind words, thank you thank you thank you for investing in me and this project.

Used Clothing Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY

Used Clothing Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY

New York was amazing and I look forward to finding a way to make this project relate to everyone no matter the coast.

After all, we all share the same planet.

 

 

Breaking down walls.

The soft launch of Closet Marketplace.

First and foremost thank you to everyone who came and supported us on Saturday, January 28th for our soft launch of Closet Marketplace where we are reinventing the world of resale and building a community. It was a success only because of you so we couldn't be more grateful. For those who couldn't make it but shared your support, you were there in spirit and we can't wait to host you next time.

As we build our community, we are breaking down walls in the world of fashion by making it approachable to all and sustainable for our planet. So thank you for being apart of it.

I  look forward to reviewing the feedback, learnings and experience and will make sure to provide transparency and insight to how we're going to move forward for future meetups. So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime you can view photos from the meetup courtesy of Teresa Lieh in the gallery below.


Switching gears a bit.

I couldn't just write this post and ignore what else happened this past week. Although we've pushed forward this past weekend as a project, we've sadly moved backward as a country.

This country has always provided a realm of freedom and equal opportunity for everyone and I've been fortunate enough to have taken advantage of this by being the first generation in my family to be born American. This past weekend we've seen that there is no longer freedom and equal opportunity for everyone and our own founding values are being threatened. We know many of you were protesting this weekend and we want you to know that we were there in spirit. 

With all of this, we have decided to donate 10% of all sales that we personally made from yesterday's meetup to the American Civil Liberties Union. Going forward all sellers of our Closet Marketplace series, including us will agree to a 10% commission of all sales that will go to ACLU as we fight for our values in this country.

This should be a reminder that every little bit counts and taking action is what we need to do. Please also consider donating directly to ACLU here.


Thank you again for all the continued support on The Consistency Project and we're excited to keep building a community where we change the world of secondhand and resale, all while protecting our values and the freedom in this country. 

Till next time.

Natasha