Thrifting has exploded as one of the top ways that many girls and boys use to create their style. Grace Hunter, freshman in relational communication studies and Brooke Evans, junior in plant science, used their creative eye for thrifting to create a “small business” by shopping for other college women. They find the “gems” in thrift stores and then turn around and post and sell them. In December, they created an Instagram account to post their finds and that’s how Hidden Gems was born.
Hunter and Evans met in their physics class and are both in Alpha Delta Pi sorority. They always complimented each other on their thrift store finds they wore to class.
“A lot of our friends would ask us, ‘Where did you get that?’ and we always said a thrift store and they would say, ‘I don’t have the patience to do that’ or ‘I don’t have the time to do that,’” Grace said. “That’s how we came up with the idea to start an Instagram.”
They first got followers by asking their sorority friends to spread the word about their new venture on Instagram stories and by word-of-mouth. Before they knew it, their listings are being bought within minutes of posting.
“It’s better than shopping at a store when you can do it right on your phone,” customer Victoria Orth said.
Brooke and Grace began to form a schedule for when they shopped and posted. They first go out and find the clothes.
“This can take much longer than people think because on many outings we go and don’t find anything so then we will have to go more until we find the “gems,” the good stuff,” Evans said.
Once they find interesting pieces, they wash the clothing and do a photoshoot with friends as models.
“We style the clothes, which can sometimes take a while because we try to think how we can make this sweater look its best,” Brooke said.
After all of that is done, they come up with a witty caption and post the item. Selling the pieces never takes long, then they wrap the product and deliver to the customer.
Gaining followers has not been a huge challenge for the women. They have noticed a natural boost as people tell their friends and share on social media.
The women didn’t expect their Instagram to be so popular. They are thinking about how they want things to go in the future and how they can expand their following. Brooke mentioned wanting to open up modeling to any K-State women to promote confidence and also inviting other women to help them with the process.
“It’s really fun when we ask our friends to model for us because at the beginning of the shoot, they are reluctant and shy about it, but toward the ending of the shoot they are confident and doing an awesome job,” Grace said.
They want other girls to be able to feel this way when they get their picture taken as well.
“On Valentine’s Day, we did our first giveaway and people had to tag three people and follow our account to enter, which brought more people to our page,” Grace said. Over 120 people entered their contest which reached about 320 people through tagging.
Hidden Gems has been a hit with all of their customers. “I love Hidden Gems, but what frustrates me is that I love all of their stuff, but you have to get on it so fast,” customer Laken Horton said. “The girls are really nice. The way they package the product was really beautiful. I’m definitely going to be buying more if I ever catch them in time.”
“In the future, we would like to grow our inventory enough that we are able to post more,” Grace said. “Since we are so new at this, we are still trying to figure out a good routine on what works best.”
The women are extremely grateful for both their friends and all the strangers supporting them in their new endeavor.