Thrift stores are on the rise these days, and especially with the lockdown, many locals are looking to buy or sell thrift and pre-loved clothes on Instagram.
Some wear them as is, while others get a little more creative and turn them into something else to wear or sell. A popular local example of this is GHOSTBOY, which turns second-hand clothes into qipao Tops.
But when Fitriyana launched her online thrift store, all she wanted was to get rid of her favorite clothes and make some pocket money from them. Today, what was once a closet clearing store is now a place for people to pick up hand-painted anime clothes.
Finding a new hobby during the pandemic
“I never thought of myself as ‘artistic’ and initially, believe it or not, I wasn’t very interested in art. However, when the first lockdown was imposed last year, I decided to give it a try and started painting, ”Fitriyana, the founder of 1800 Frugality based in Kota Kinabalu, told Vulcan Post.
It gradually became something pleasant for her, and she found herself using her free time on it. Outside of her spare time, Fitriyana is a full-time college student and just graduated from high school after completing SPM earlier this year.
1800 Frugality actually started as 1800 Love Cats in June 2020 when it simply sold pre-loved clothes. “The reason being, I was a huge fan of The Cure,” she explained. (The Cure has a song called “The Love Cats”.)
It was when she stumbled upon hand-painted clothing stores like UNCLE DAN AUNTY and Mittens 750 that she found inspiration and began to think about hand-painting second-hand clothes.
Fitriyana started hand painting all kinds of art like Playboy bunny, cow prints, band names etc. It wasn’t until later that she turned to the style of Japanese anime that fills her diet today.
“I turned more to anime after doing a poll on my Instagram, asking my followers what they would like to see more of,” she recalls. “There has been an overwhelming response for cartoon-inspired pieces. The clothes that belonged to the art of anime were always the ones that were sold first.
Its first piece faded in a single wash
R&D was tough. When she first started she was not told the correct paint to use and her first drawing completely faded after just one wash. She paid the price by repainting from scratch and procuring a new item of clothing that she could paint on.
“It was definitely a lesson learned and I make sure to check my fabric paints now as well as hand wash every garment I create before sending them to clients, to make sure they don’t wash out. “she thought to herself. treat.
Her hand painted work is now mostly black and white, as she has found it to last longer on cotton and denim.
“With pigmented paints, I have found that they don’t cure as well as B&W colors. However, I have tried different brands of textile paint to find the best one, because I absolutely want to venture out and use more pigmented paints for my designs, ”explained Fitriyana.
A creative process that takes a week
On the time it takes to complete a piece, Fitriyana said, “It depends on the difficulty of the design (size, details, shading, etc.). It also takes a few extra days after completing a piece to leave the paint completely cured and hand wash it before sending to customers.
In his experience, realistic paintings or portraits tend to take longer, but on average, each piece takes around 1 week to complete.
Her inspiration usually comes from Pinterest, Google, her friends, and of course her own light bulb moments. After ideation, she will start painting a white base and then outlines.
“I will gradually add more detail to the piece and improvise a bit along the way. Everything comes together after a few coats of paint and touch-ups, ”explained Fitriyana of her work process.
She paints on second-hand and second-hand clothes, but since it is quite difficult for her to visit thrift stores these days, she usually gets her clothes online or chooses clothes that are rarely worn in her own closet.
“Online thrift stores are usually more expensive because they are organized, so the price range is around RM25 to RM60. [per piece]. I stick to a budget of RM200 every time I save, ”she said.
From this base price, she sells her works using a general rule of profit of RM30-50 for each piece. It might not be much considering the time taken to make a piece, but she wants her clothes to remain affordable for her customers.
Deceived once, but never again
So far in her sales experience, she’s grateful that she only met one difficult customer, but it was enough to teach her a lot about business.
“The client was interested in some pants that I painted on and asked me to reserve them for her for a few days until she cleared her bank account for payment. But these few days lasted 2 weeks until the actual payment was made. I shipped her package the next day and she complained that the delivery was slow.
“When it was delivered to her, she gave feedback saying it was okay. But a month later, she sent me a DM again to request a refund because the pants were not in her size, ”said Fitriyana. For this reason, she no longer holds reservations for more than 2 days.
Although based in Sabah, most of Fitriyana’s clients are from West Malaysia, especially KL. Because she paints on denim which is a heavy material, the shipping cost can go up to RM25 which cost her a few customers.
“So I switched to another courier and made sure to charge everyone a flat shipping cost regardless of weight. Any additional charges will be out of my pocket. Even though this decreases my profits, it is a small gesture to show my gratitude for my clients’ support for my small business.
Currently, she does not make any commissions as it would be difficult to juggle her studies, and Fitriyana also personally finds the commissions a little risky as customers can change their orders or cancel them.
His proudest moment with this small business so far was selling his first hand painted piece. “As I was preparing this first track, I felt so anxious. “What if the customer doesn’t like it?” “Or” What if they ask for a refund? “”
“But when I got their comments saying they loved it, I was extremely happy and I had this great sense of accomplishment. There is no other feeling like that, ”she shared with Vulcan Post.
Although she still plans to work on art inspired by cartoons, she also wants to venture into modern art as she has recently been inspired by artists like Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, etc. Certainly, it will add its own touch.
- You can find out more about 1800 Frugalité here.
- You can read more about the Malaysian startups we’ve covered. here.
Featured Image Credit: Fitriyana Adeera, Founder of 1800 Frugality
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