Value Village is a for-profit thrift retailer selling used clothing, accessories and household items, with over 330 stores across Canada, the United States and Australia. The first store was opened in San Francisco, CA in 1954, and the company came to Canada in 1980. A number of non-profit organizations, (including the Canadian Diabetes Association which is my charity of choice for my clothing donations), benefit by selling donated goods to Value Village, and unsold items are recycled and sent to developing countries.
I've been shopping at Value Village for many years, and have scored some great things there, but had been cutting back on the frequency of my visits, mainly for two reasons: the prices had increased quite significantly over the last few years, particularly on items from "Fast Fashion" retailers, and there were fewer vintage items to be found. I was told the store tries to price items between 10% and 30% of the original selling price, which sounds reasonable, especially for higher quality designer items. However, when I see used dresses from The Gap, H & M and Joe Fresh priced at $18.99, I think it is highly unlikely they were retail priced at over $60. When you can pick up a new Joe Fresh dress for $25 - $30, and The Gap has regular sales of 40% off, why would you pay almost $20 for a used one?
I forgot to take a photo of the store when I arrived around 6:30 pm, so this one was taken around 8:30 pm when I left, and it was getting dark. The exterior is sleeker and more modern-looking than that of the old store, and the interior is larger. The new address is 1553 Dundas Street.
I wasn't sure how many other people would be there as I had no idea who else had been invited, but as it turns out, there were a large number of other shoppers who were "Club Card Members" so I had some competition. I didn't take a photo of the inside of the store, but it looked very similar to every other Value Village I've visited.
Unfortunately, this is my least favourite time of the year to shop at the store, as at least 1/3 of the floor space is taken up by Halloween costumes and accessories. That said, I did grab one of these Dia de Los Muertos ceramic skulls from the Halloween section to decorate my desk at work.
I spied this vintage doll in the housewares section and immediately thought of my friend Krista, who has a few of these in her collection. If her outfit has been more interesting I may have taken her home, but as it was, I left her on the shelf.
I like Mexican pottery and this candle holder caught my attention for a moment, but it wasn't as nice as pieces I already own.
I have no real strategy when shopping in large thrift stores, although I tend to look at the housewares section first, and then veer off to the coats, dresses, and skirts. I throw everything that looks like it may have potential in the cart, and then weed out the "No's" in the change room. Mindful of my $50 budget, there were a few things I liked, but didn't love, that went back out onto the racks. In the end I came home with five items, including the ceramic skull, averaging out to $10 per item.
I waffled over this Made-in-Thailand Kaftan style dress - I loved the colours, and the drawstring gave it some shape but I questioned whether I really needed another long summer dress. Of course, we avid thrift shoppers know that most of our purchases are more about "want" than "need", and after wearing it out of the changing room a few times to hang up unwanted items, I decided to take it.
Thinking ahead to fall, I picked up this pencil skirt to wear with tights and boots. The fabric has a bit of a sheen to it, and I loved the fab colours.
Even though we are nearing the end of Summer, I scooped up these wedge heeled sandals because of the juicy colours and the bunion-hiding twist of soft leather. I have been wearing them around the house today and they are pretty comfortable.
My final purchase was this jacket by the German brand Kapalua. I wasn't familiar with the brand, but I was attracted to the unique styling of the jacket. The back and the sleeves are made of chiffon, and the collar changes shape depending on how far you do up the zipper. This is the kind of piece I would purchase retail - modern, well made, with a simple shape and unusual details.
Many thanks to Value Village for the shopping trip - it was fun, and I found some things that I will happily integrate into my wardrobe.