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  • Writer's pictureAmanda

In Conversation With: Reloved Living

Reloved Living is a secret that I almost want to keep for myself. Brianne regularly collects

multiple styles of kid’s clothing sized 0-8, as well as books and toys, and resells them on her

Instagram page (@reloved.living) to moms with good taste looking for a deal. She creates

collections such as Zara, Disney, Roots, or Vintage and will list each item she has for that drop on the same night. I have been hooked since I found her. I set timers for these drop nights, and constantly refresh my feed in the hope of being the first person to type “ME” in the comments. It is a race, and with some pieces it feels like you won the lottery when you get the item. When I had the idea to interview local business and people of interest on here, Brianne was the first person I thought of. Her account just keeps growing (21.5K as I write this!), and I am so excited to hear what the plans are for the future of Reloved Living!


 


 Hey, Brianne! When I was scrolling your feed for this, I noticed that there isn’t very much info about YOU on there. This might be on purpose, but is there anything that you want people to know about you, that hasn't been shared?


Hey Amanda! First off, WHAT an intro. Not only is it an honour to be interviewed for your website, but to hear how much you enjoy my page is EXACTLY what this is all about for me.  I’ll circle back and elaborate more about later though.

 

Reloved Living is my third baby that has become my full-time gig aside from being a mother.

My career background is in Event Management, and similar to that, there is plenty of behind the scenes work that people don’t often see or realize. Attention to detail, knowing what your clients or customers really want and having excellent customer service skills are what contribute to my success. Prior to Events, I also studied Early Childhood Education where I worked in elementary schools and daycares with younger children. Throughout my schooling I worked at a few large children’s clothing stores and that is where I began my love for children’s fashion.  


Brianne working at a local market

Have you always thrifted, or when did you start? Did anyone teach you?

 

When I was young, my mother would frequently take us to a thrift store close to where we lived by Gage Park in Hamilton called St. Vincent de Paul. It’s since moved, but I still have fond memories of looking through/hiding under the racks, checking out the toy section and playing on the furniture at the back of the store with my brother. I’d like to say this was by choice, as right now I PROUDLY speak of all the preloved items I score at a steal of a deal when I could have just purchased it new, but my family really struggled at that time so buying used was what we could afford. I can honestly say that I really love that aspect from my childhood. I learned to appreciate all we could find second-hand at a young age and that stayed with me.  

 

Over time things got better. My mother worked very hard to support us on her own, often having a few side gigs herself. Fast forward to pregnancy with my first child 7 years ago and I’m back full throttle into the world of buying second-hand again. Once Upon A Child visits every lunch hour, Kijiji, and of course the biggest of them all, Value Village. Saving money on those big ticket baby items that you need is HUGE.

 

 

Do you have anything else that you are just as passionate about as thrifting?

 

First and foremost, my children but I think that one is obvious 😊 

I will always be very passionate for Event Planning and one day hope to get back into it. Although often busy and fast paced, I thoroughly enjoy working with customers on their vision and tapping into my creative side through the planning and execution of every event. I also love sports, hiking, crafts and DIY’s.


reloved living valentines collection


What made you start your business, and when did it happen?

 

I started my business back in the spring of 2020 at the start of covid and my maternity leave with my second daughter. Since my husband travels throughout Ontario for his job, I knew going back to my position would be impossible. We had a hard time finding childcare and don’t have the support of outside help. I had to find something flexible since I would be the main weekday caregiver for the children. I then discovered resellers online, in particular a page from the States selling preloved children’s items. Seeing the success of this shop while also knowing there was a need in my area was what pushed me to start a shop of my own on Instagram.

 

Luckily, I had been reselling on Kijiji for years as a part time way to make some extra money, so this wasn’t completely new to me. Buying preloved was becoming mainstream and given the state of the world at that time, this seemed like the perfect time to try it. Not only did I LOVE the hunt, but I had enough from my two girls to start and build from there.

 

 

 Someone is walking into a thrift store for the first time. What are three pieces of advice you have for them?


Take your time. Trust me, I wouldn’t find half the items I do if I skipped sections.

This is a thrift store after all and stock is never the same, items change from day to day, and you just never ever know what you will find at any given time. Be patient and keep your eyes peeled!

 

For those parents with babies or toddlers, hit those fill-a-bag bins at Value Village. They have three different size bags to choose from and if you roll those babies nice and tight, you can often walk away with quite a bit stuffed in there. It’s an actual steal. Roll up those sleeves and dig in because it’s worth it!

 

 Lastly, do your research. There are a TON of brands out there and as frequently as I shop at the thrift, I’m still finding and learning about new ones.

Google brands, get a background on company practices and ethics and of course the retail value because I’m going to make sure you aren’t going to pay even half that.

 

 ***One more small tip!

Donate whenever you can when visiting thrift stores. Most will offer a coupon to save a certain amount off your bill, so if you can save more, you should!

 

 


reloved living roots collection

For people who (like me) use unscented laundry detergent, do you have any tips for removing scents from clothes?

 

I use Ivory Snow Newborn Liquid Laundry Detergent. I’ve used this detergent since being pregnant with my first child and found it always leaves the clothing soft with a very light but refreshing scent. I swear by it when removing those musty smells ingrained in some clothing. You know, those ones that smell like it’s been sitting in a box in someone’s basement for a few decades, lol. I’m sure you can imagine all the laundry that is done around here between kids and the shop, but offering clean, ready-to-wear clothing is extremely important to the service I provide. The only items that are not laundered are new with tags, or certain vintage items due to age and/or materials.

 

 

What is the thrifted find that you are most proud of finding? Something you could never let go of?

 

 SO I’m a huge fan of boho décor and furniture. I wish my entire house could be rattan, peacock chairs and macrame. Alas, my husband feels differently, and we have young kids.

My favourite find to date though is my vintage boho wicker + rattan peacock chair and side table set that proudly sits in my bedroom, where the kids are not. Found in PRISTINE condition at my local small town thrift. I usually have no problem selling anything I find (I don’t really get attached to material things) but this one will certainly stay.

 


I have my thoughts on this (the photo editing, steaming items, scrubbing shoes etc), but what do you think separates you from other businesses like yours?

 

Well to start, this is not a side gig for me. Running this shop is my full-time job. Over the past 3.5 years of Reloved, I’ve gained a good idea of what it takes to make a name for my shop and stand out. Sure, I find a lot of great stuff but that certainly doesn’t come easy. I source from stores across many different cities, even including trips to the US. There are many days ‘thrift hopping’ as I like to call it (hitting up as many stores as I can throughout a full day), but also stopping in quickly to stores as much as possible whenever I can.

 

 My shop offers a wide variety of sizes, brands and styles so there is something for every kid. If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know my drops are often themed. This takes time to collect, but the appreciation expressed in doing so from customers is well worth it.

I work very hard on making my page appealing and fun. I want my customers to feel like they’re on a website similar to a box store where there are multiple clear pictures of each item with a honest, detailed description. Presentation often requires cleaning, scrubbing, treating stains, editing etc., but it goes a long way.

Lastly, I believe in always offering exceptional customer service. It’s important for me that my customers trust in me and feel as though they are appreciated and valued at all times.

 


a sample of Reloved Living drops

Shipping is the BIGGEST headache for small businesses. We have all gotten used to “free shipping”, but it’s impossible to offer that as a small business. I have always taken advantage of local pick up, but for anyone who is outside of Niagara, what can they expect to pay for shipping?

 

This is a huge pet peeve for me as I want to save the customer money in any way I can, but it’s out of my hands when it comes to shipping. When I started out I had only one flat rate fee for shipping but that quickly added up and I was paying out of pocket often. Currently, the majority of my shipping goes through Canada Post’s flat rate box system (four different sizes are $17-$32). I use Canada Post for all my shipping because I find they are the most reliable and provide tracking and liability coverage. If I can alternatively use one of my own boxes (for reasons such as closer location, central hub/large city or just lighter in weight), I will explore that option and offer a cheaper rate if possible. For 1-2 smaller items, letter-mail ranges from only $3-$5

 


I described a little bit what it feels like as the consumer trying to get one of the pieces in your drop, but I’m curious what it is like on your end. Is it as stressful for you as it is for us? Do you get overwhelmed with the bombardment of messages? Is someone helping you on drop nights to keep track of everything? Haha I have always wanted to know this!

 

Drop nights always are a bit wild. What you guys see is the tip of the iceberg when I drop. There are hours of prep involved treating the clothes, taking pictures, editing, researching and writing meaningful descriptions. Prior to the drop, all my notifications are silenced. I reference my notification page for time stamps on claims and my husband cross references them on the actual post for those bigger drops. (He is an absolute angel) Sometimes Instagram loads comments out of order so having two people definitely helps with really popular items. I also screenshot for further reference, which has come in handy often.  After the drop ends, there’s usually another hour or two of messaging back and forth, answering questions, confirming payments and storing the items in their respective cubbies.

 

 

 Is there a part of your business that you wish you could do differently?

 

Chasing people for payments is always the hardest part. Unlike a store or website where you pay up front for an item- when my customers claims an item, I have to rely on them to act in good faith and pay on time. The time spent chasing and waiting to potentially be ghosted can be discouraging and quite draining at times.  

 


I know from experience that running a business is HARD work. What gives you the motivation to keep going?

 

This started as a hobby and grew into something lucrative that I can provide for my family with. This shop offers me the flexibility to make own schedule, drop my kids off at school and pick them up every day which is a huge perk and something I don’t take for granted. Also, having happy, appreciative customers goes a long way. My husband, mom, kiddos and close friends are a huge source of encouragement and contribution to my growth.  

 


Brianne and her family

 

Do you have any big goals for Reloved Living? Dreams of owning your own shop or website plans?

 

A website would be amazing but would come with its own set of challenges. A store even more so. I am not tied to an open/close time of a store and have the freedom to do Reloved Living on my own terms. As I previously said, I love to be able to be as involved as I can with my kids, especially while they are young. As of now, I plan to keep offering the same great items and services!

 


Thank you SO much for doing this with me! Before we go, what can we expect to see in the future for Reloved Living?

 

Things have been going great for my shop and I think I owe a lot of that to the consistency I’ve established over the years. I love doing what I do and I hope it is evident when a potential customer sees my page for the first time. I’m passionate about the world of second-hand and try to promote environmental stewardship as much as possible through this platform. What you can expect in the future from Reloved is more of the same high-quality items at always fair prices.


 

You can find Brianne on her main Instagram page @reloved.living or her Vintage Instagram @relovedkidsvintage 

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2 Comments


Courtney
Courtney
Feb 11

Can't wait to read the rest of this series. I found Reloved living through your page!

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Amanda
Amanda
Feb 11
Replying to

Isn't she great?! There are quite a few people I would love to interview, but let me know if you have anyone in mind that you would love to learn more about!

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