Now is the time of thrift. As the economic paradigm is shifting rapidly toward reuse and repurpose, more individuals are frequenting thrift establishments like Goodwill for bargains. What has always been a financially conscious and environmentally friendly choice is now becoming cool, as evidenced in part through Macklemore's Billboard-topping song, "Thrift Shop."
The numbers support this trend. According to USA Today, approximately 20 percent of consumers regularly shop at thrift stores, compared with 14 percent in 2008. And, according to the Association of Resale Professionals, the industry has grown 7 percent each year for the past two years.
Many thrift shoppers are teenagers looking for affordable and unique finds to fill their closets. Instead of running the risk of wearing the same department store outfit as a classmate, teenagers are instead turning to thrift stores like Goodwill to maintain fashionable looks without high-fashion price tags. My son is a prime example. As I have previously mentioned, he's an avid fan of thrifting and enjoys scouring the racks for one-of-a-kind items. Some teenagers also enjoy the hunt for that perfect item, turning the trip into an activity with friends.
Although 60 percent of teenagers receive money from their parents, 27 percent earn money from odd jobs and others from gifts. According to the American Press Institute, shopping at thrift stores also allows teenagers to stretch their money while growing their wardrobes. Some of our local agencies have even partnered with local schools to host fashion shows using goods found at Goodwill stores.
But these goods are much more than just items on store shelves. According to Jenna Isaacson -- independent visual journalist, Goodwill blogger and lover of all things thrift -- second-hand shopping not only helps the environment while offering bargains, it also helps tell the story of America's communities by observing things they once owned.
From now until April 30, 2013, Isaacson will travel across the country as part of her documentary photo project, All Thrifty States: A Visual Journey through America's Collective Closets. She took her first trip in June 2011, traveling 10,200 miles and visiting more than 60 thrift stores, including 32 Goodwill stores in 30 states. During this year's trip, she will complete 48 of her 50 thrifty states.
I am proud to say that Goodwill Industries® is an educational partner and a sponsor along with BALCON Enterprises, Inc. of the project and upcoming book. Isaacson intends to highlight the positive aspects of second-hand shopping in local communities while also demonstrating how donating used items helps shrink landfills, reduce clutter, save money for municipalities and boost the economy.
I'm looking forward to learning more about the life-cycle of these used goods and how they showcase the lives of those who donate them, and I hope you are too.
Follow Jim Gibbons on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@jdgibbons