I knew something had to be done when my parents started remarking, “OMG, another Shopee package?” or “Don’t you have the same top in three different colours?”
Ashamedly, I have been a part of the fast-fashion epidemic, readily and repeatedly discarding or donating hardly-worn purchases as well as brand new pieces that I had picked up just because – kee chiu if this is your favourite four-letter word too – SALE!
According to waste statistics by Singapore’s National Environment Agency, textiles and leather made up about 3.4 per cent of the mind-boggling 7.39 million total solid waste generated in the Republic in 2022. The percentage might seem small, but that’s actually a staggering 254,000 tonnes. What’s worse, only a dismal two per cent of textile/leather waste was recycled. It’s heartbreaking to imagine how many garments were disposed of – probably enough to dress every Singaporean in a different fit every day for the whole year.
Fortuitously, while scrolling through IG one day, I stumbled upon an environmentally-conscious alternative to simply throwing clothes away – a thriving marketplace to resell clothes and other miscellaneous items as part of #sustainablefashion. Say hello to The Luggage Market (TLM). Bae and I decided to check it out.
With over 40 booths, TLM is the biggest thrift market in town. Located inside Aperia Mall (near Lavender MRT), this bustling marketplace for second-hand garments takes place every Sunday, and is a game changer when it comes to giving your old clothes a new lease of life. All you need to do is rent a booth (spots are allocated randomly), and simply turn up with your goods!
A booth costs $69 in total, and you have to select either a “Fashion Only” booth or “Miscellaneous” one. The latter just means you can also sell used toys, books, kitchenware, and more, on top of second-hand clothes. Take note of the restrictions for your booth (for example, using tables to elevate your luggage is not allowed).
TLM usually opens up the following month’s slots two to three weeks leading up to it – check their IG regularly for details on when you can secure a booth for yourself. Make sure you camp at your computer, because the slots go as fast as Taylor Swift tickets. Yep, slots get fully snatched up within one to three minutes of being released!
If you manage to secure a booth, here’s some advice (based on our first-hand experience) that will make it more appealing to potential customers:
Tips to sell almost anything
1. Give buyers a bargain they cannot resist
Bundle deals like “Buy two, get one free” are super successful – people usually end up buying quite a few pieces since it’s more “worth it”. But play it by ear, and up the ante when the time comes. Remember you’re there to clear as many of your items as possible, so as 6pm approaches, you can even price each piece at $1 or less. Just get ready for your booth to be flooded with hordes of bargain hunters.
2. Spice up your signboard
With so many booths to choose from, making yourself stand out will be super helpful. Put fairy lights on your signboard, go crazy with the colours and design – the sky’s the limit really – and watch buyers be drawn to your attractive booth like moths to a flame.
3. Summon your kakis to help
Making your booth appear packed works wonders for sales. Ask family and friends to pretend to mill about your booth; people naturally flock to a more crowded booth because they assume you have the good stuff. My partner’s parents even acted like they were customers by asking how much our items were – that definitely helped pull in actual customers!
4. Mess is best
Funnily enough, a chaotic booth is more effective than an organised one. Don’t bother unpacking your stuff and arranging them neatly, be prepared to get swarmed the minute you pull up with your suitcases. We had people looking through our items before we even settled down. And people really love to dig through heaps of clothing to find something that suits them – ah, the joy of thrifting.
5. Shout and holler
You know how it is when durian season rolls around, and fruit sellers start bellowing their best prices? Rinse and repeat this technique at TLM (or any other thrift market you set up shop at) until you have a sizeable crowd around your booth. Then, be generous with your compliments: Tell individual customers eyeing specific stuff things like, “Wow, this shirt looks amazing on you!” “That totally goes with what you’re wearing!” “Not everyone can pull off that colour – but you can!”
6. Cash is king
Finally, prepare loose change because cash is easiest. We printed a QR code for PayLah transactions, but trust us, you won’t have time to let someone scan it, check that the transaction went through, and negotiate with other customers.
What to do with leftover items?
At TLM, you can just leave them in the donation bags there. The lovely people at TLM will kindly pack them for you and send them to donation centres at no cost.
ALSO READ: The ultimate guide to thrift stores in Singapore for second-hand clothes, bags, furniture and more
This article was first published on Wonderwall.sg.