Thrifting, vintage community booms in Victoria despite pandemic

Morgan Hass quit her job as a resturant manager to become a full time thrifter after her Instagram page (@whatslostandfound) took off. (Photos by Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Mackenzie Wavryk opened Upcycle Clothing Collective after thrifting her whole life.
Szandi Szabo feels the support in Victoria is not comparable to other cities. (Provided by Szandi Szabo)

When Morgan Hass quit her job in the hospitality industry to become a full-time thrifter she knew she was taking a chance, but felt like Victoria was the place to do it.

Hass was working 70 hours a week, waking up in the middle of the night stressed out and more importantly, she wasn’t happy. After moving to the Island from Toronto with only a few hockey bags full of belongings, Hass began to scour local second-hand stores to furnish her house.

“I started flipping the odd thing,” she said. Hass would go hunt for an item, even if it was something that didn’t interest her, then sell it. “I saw the profit and was like, wow, people want this and they will pay a premium not to have to go find it and to not have to clean it.”

It wasn’t until after a trip to Amsterdam, where Hass noticed items were put out on the street for the taking – similar to her Fernwood neighborhood – that she decided to take the plunge.

READ ALSO: From umbilical cords to Rolex watches – the best and weirdest thrift shop finds

“I was like I need to focus on things that make me happy, I moved across the country already. So why limit myself?”

In February, Hass started an Instagram account called WhatsLostAndFound that has since taken off. Now Hass, who spends at least four or five days a week thrifting, will do a “drop” at least twice a week, posting items for sale.

Mackenzie Wavryk started in a similar way. Wavryk runs Upcycle Clothing Collective on Fort Street, a consignment store that started out on Instagram.

“It was going well but it was pretty intense meeting up with people [all the time],” Wavryk said.

It wasn’t until she hosted a garage sale that got “super busy” that her mom brought up the idea of running a business. With some guidance, Wavryk created a business plan and found the space downtown about a year ago.

Although the pandemic put a bit of a bump in her plans, Wavryk still has big plans for the shop and has been toying with the idea of moving the shop to Tofino.

READ ALSO: Man accidentally donates girlfriend’s 50 pairs of shoes to B.C. thrift store

“Thrifting is going to be the next thing forever, but it has to be tailored to the city that you’re in,” said Wavryk.

For another local thrifter, opening a vintage shop in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t ideal but Szandi Szabo has been amazed by the response and support she’s received. Szabo opened up her Fernwood shop Csinos Vintage (pronounced chee-nosh) in July after “dabbling a bit” online.

“It’s sort of a mood, like when you get together with your friends and they come to the door and you’re already feeling good and they say, oh, you look good … in Hungarian you say you look csinos,” said Szabo.

While Szabo thinks the internet makes it easier to open a vintage or thrift shop in other places, she feels “blessed” to have Victoria as her community.

“We are really an all-encompassing place in terms of like, you know, gender, clothes. So I think that’s why people come [to my shop] instead going to the mall and I think people are really trying to be an individual in all aspects of their life so being able to find something that’s one of a kind and learning a little bit about it gives authenticity to that.”

Hass feels like her business model wouldn’t work anywhere else.

“I mean, I don’t know because I haven’t tried. I don’t think I would have the same support that I do here,” said Hass, adding that Victoria could be the thrift capital because she finds a new shop at least every week.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Shop Local

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police are warning residents that rutting season has begun and deer may get their antlers tangled in items left in yards. (Saanich Police Department/Twitter)
Deer with items tangled in antlers spotted in Saanich as rutting season begins

Police, B.C. Conservation Service warn of possibly aggressive bucks through fall

Police will be diverting traffic between Island View Road and Amity Drive from 12 to 1 p.m. Oct. 23. (Google Maps)
Section of Pat Bay Highway closes for Mi’kmaq fishing rights demonstration

Police will be diverting traffic Oct. 23 from noon to 1 p.m between Island View Road and Amity Drive

Oulette the Great Horned owl was spotted alive just days after her mate, Ollie, was found dead from suspected rat poisoning on Oct. 17. (Photo by Cheryl Redhead)
Great Horned owl mate found alive in Cuthbert Holmes Park

Oulette spotted in tree above where male Ollie died of suspected poisoning

Saanich firefighters were called out to Hartland Road on Oct. 21 to help transport a mountain biker with neck and back injuries out of the woods. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patient with neck, back injuries rescued from Saanich bike trails

Saanich firefighters called in to help paramedics with transportation off Mount Work

Saanich South Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma commits to addressing issues at the five-way intersection of Interurban and Wilkinson roads in partnership with the municipality if elected. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich South Liberal candidate commits to improving Interurban/Wilkinson intersection

‘Confusing five-way intersection,’ needs attention, Rishi Sharma says

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island this week

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)
POLL: Have you voted yet?

As election day quickly approaches, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have… Continue reading

Most Read