A Q&A with Kylie Aucoin of Magpie Thrift Shop.
H: What inspired you to start Magpie Thrift?
K: After years of swearing I would never step foot into a Value Village because it was stinky and overwhelming, I finally started to see the draw for people. I started to like the unique pieces you could find and the fact that you wouldn’t bump into anyone on the street with the same outfit. It was also a great way to save money and be nice to the earth! Also, I couldn’t find anything I liked in the big box stores as it’s hard to create a unique style with only cookie cutters clothing to work with.
I was inspired to start Magpie due to the simple fact that I had the desire to keep finding these unique items but there was no way I could keep it all! So it was time to start sharing the finds!
H: Could you tell me more about the pop-ups you are part of?
K: There is definitely no shortage of markets to be a part of. I took part in the first annual May Day Market, which showcased 70+ vendors from the Quinte West region. Pop-ups like this are really helpful for people like me who own a small business with no set location. It gives us the chance to be face to face with customers and the community.
For the better part of the summer, myself and a few local business owners are collaborating on a major artisan market for the city of Belleville that will occur every Saturday alongside the farmers’ market and in connection to the Artisan Collective Market.
H: Do you think collaboration within the community is helping you be more successful?
K: Without a doubt. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve been having if it weren’t for the amazing folks of this community. I’ve learned so much from them; by reaching out and asking questions, I’ve been able to successfully navigate this new business venture.
When you’re a true small business without a bank backing you or a shop to do all the necessary things in, having friends in the community makes a major difference. As an example, I like a white backdrop for photographing new items but my walls aren’t white, so a friend in the community lets me use her home whenever I need!
H: Now that thrifting has become more popular, do you find that it’s more competitive or difficult to find stuff?
K: Not at all. I find each of the styles are different, and something I might gravitate towards would never be something they would gravitate towards. It’s cool to see the distinct styles showing in each thrifter’s page. As for competitiveness, I’ve actually found it to be the opposite. If I see something that I know is really cool but won’t fit my shop’s aesthetic, I will send a picture to another thrifter in the area or hold onto it for them!
H: Where is your favourite place to thrift shop in the area?
K: In this area, I tend to stick to The Mission and The Salvation Army, but my major go-to is Talize in Kingston or Peterborough. They are amazing! I always tell people to check out Talize, especially if they don’t particularly like secondhand things. Everything is super clean, organized, and colour coordinated! It’s a dream, truly.
H: What tips do you have for young entrepreneurs?
K: KEEP GOING. IT WILL BE WORTH IT! If you truly have a passion for something and you have the great desire to share that with the world, DO IT, and let your passion shine through. People want to be happy, if you’re happy about what you’re doing and talking about, they will naturally gravitate towards you and wish to be part of it!
Reach OUT to people you are inspired by! You might be surprised how forthcoming they are with information and support. Do not be afraid to say you DON’T UNDERSTAND or that you need clarification. I have a social work degree, so I never stepped foot into a business class. I have asked many questions and by doing so, I’ve learned a lot and felt more confident in my ability.
It is not about knowing the answer, it’s about knowing where to find the answer.
H: Do you feel like you’re changing the area?
K: Yes, every time I speak with a younger person about whether they should stay in the area after finishing at Loyalist, I see myself. I see the same girl who wanted to run away from this place because I didn’t feel it had anything to offer me. I want to make this area a place people want to be. I now see the potential, and that is what’s lighting the fire under my butt to get our ventures going, such as the Side Hustle Market.
I want to celebrate the fact that so many folks and young families have these amazing side hustles as well as work full-time jobs. The middle class is coming back stronger than ever and I want to trail-blaze a path for their future success.