Today we’d like to introduce you to Emma Shoup.
Hi Emma, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
During my senior year of high school, I took a job working for Goodwill. I loved it! I worked for roughly 5 months there, then left as I was graduating early and preparing for a gap year abroad. Well, my gap year was pushed back so I had all this new time on my hands. I decided I would work for myself and use my love for thrifting and the skills I obtained from Goodwill to create my own secondhand store.
Growing up, I would thrift with my grandmother, and looking back she definitely put the love of thrifting into my heart. The school was never my favorite and I didn’t want to take the traditional path. Thus, my store was born. I opened Secondhand Spice on January 25, 2021.
I am an online store and sell off of platforms including; Poshmark, Instagram, and my own website through Shopify. I do also attend pop-up events all over Knoxville. March-July I have/will attend 15+ pop-up events in Knoxville.
I love the versatility of working online but I love the connections and environment of pop-up events more. I will say it hasn’t been easy and I’m not honestly as big as I projected I would be. However, I plan to push forward and really put myself out there.
Thankfully, I have started becoming friends and on people’s radars in the same seller community as me and that has been so helpful. The dream is to open a storefront and I’m shooting for sometime in 2024! I love thrifting, and love working for myself.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Money. It is so hard to open and maintains a business when you have little to no money. I have and continue to work several jobs on top of running my store.
I will also say making connections with people. Once you are accepted and a part of the community, you know all the events happening and have the resources to promote yourself.
However, if you are an outsider it is a lot harder to get plugged in and knowledge of events happening in Knoxville. Thankfully, I have finally turned a corner and feel like I have made lots of good connections and friends.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I sell secondhand clothing, shoes, hats, bags, you name it. I carry all sizes! I am known for secondhand items. That is a huge reason I named myself Secondhand Spice. I wanted people’s first impressions to know I was a secondhand store. I am most proud of how far I have gotten.
I took a passion I had and turned it into a store! I am also proud that I am helping the Earth. By selling secondhand clothing I am giving clothes a new cycle of use reducing the need for fast fashion. The majority of my packaging material is recycled. I would say I stand out because I am a female-owned business, and I try to price my items as low as possible to allow anyone and everyone to afford what I sell.
I see far too often secondhand stores and sellers jack up their prices to make a profit, but by doing so they are lessening the pool of people who are able to purchase. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to help fight fast fashion and afford the clothes they want.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Secondhand stores are booming. As the days and years tick by they gain more and more popularity. I love it! The dream is to have a storefront in the next two years.
In 5-10, the dream would have possibly two storefronts. I would also love to be able to hire people and have the ability to pay 15+/hour starting out. I love what I do and want this to be my full-time and only job!
- Website: secondhandspice.com
- Instagram: @secondhandspice
- Facebook: @secondhandspice