Style on a Budget: 2 Hampton Roads natives are taking social media by storm through their love of thrifting

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HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Most people wouldn’t think to use their grandmother’s muumuu as a trendy outfit for brunch, or transform a graduation gown into a cocktail dress.

“I don’t think everything should look like it came from the thrift store. You know what I’m saying,” said Sjay Regis, owner of Good Girls Thrift.

But for Hampton Roads natives Shay Regis and Iesha Gilchrest, their sense of style makes it easy for them to make designer looks out of hand-me-downs.

“If you can turn something that was deemed as ugly into a treasure, I feel like you have true style at that point,” said Iesha Gilchirst, Owner of ThriftNTell.

Both women turned their love for sustainable fashion into lucrative businesses through social media. Gilchrist, owner of ThriftNTell, now lives in Georgia. She has more than 230,000 followers on Instagram.

Shay Regis, who now lives in Houston, launched her business, Good Girls Thrift in 2020. She already has more than 110,000 followers on Instagram.

So how do they make money? Through brand partnerships, E-Books on building your brand, and seminars. You can also pay them to shop for you.

“People like the idea of thrifting, but a lot of people do not have the patience. That’s where I come in and I just go thrifting for you,” said Regis.

The majority of their clientele comes from social media.

Yuping Lui-Thompkins is a professor for the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. She says since the coronavirus pandemic, more people have turned to their phones to make everyday purchases.

“From the reports I have seen so far, people are not necessarily posting more on social media like in the past. But they are consuming more on social media. And that’s both in terms of the content of what other people are posting or other business are posting, or of consumption in actual products.”

And what sets social media-driven businesses apart from other online powerhouses like Amazon? One word, connection.

“It’s a personal interaction. I’m engaging with you, you post things about yourself, your products, your business. I get to know you as an individual. And I think that’s something that the traditional kind of platform will be able to really provide,” Lui-Thompkins adds.

“Social media took my brand from 75 to 1,500, and it’s still going. I have clients from all over the world at this point. Without social media, I wouldn’t know who those people are,” said Gilchrist.

And through these international connections, these tech-savvy influencers are not only turning their side hustles into goldmines, but they’re doing so in style.

“I want to help people, expose people to the sustainable fashion world and help people to save money altogether ultimately because it has completely changed my life,” Regis adds.

Strome College of Business at ODU, in partnership with Cox Communications, is providing education and strategies to help your business grow. Here’s where you can learn more about the Cox Communications Small Business Growth Academy.

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