Published on November 2, 2017 — Leave a comment

Employee Spotlight: Senior Product Designer Sara Olson Gives Out Pro Thrift Tips (for free!)

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Welcome to Employee Spotlight, a thrEDIT original series featuring real-life thredUP employees. Sara Olson is a Senior Product Designer who designs features for thredUP’s website. Sara just moved to San Francisco from Portland and starting working at thredUP a mere two (!) weeks ago but she’s already influencing outcomes and “nodeling” (what we call it when our photo shoots star employees who are not actually professioanl models!) in our photo shoots. Here, she talks about why she thinks secondhand first and gives out some top tips for shopping thredUP like a pro.

 P.S. We’ve hidden a chance to win $100 to shop somewhere in this post! Tag. You’re it!

What do you love most about working at thredUP?
I only started working here two weeks ago, but there’s already a lot to love. So far I’m really appreciating the friendly coworkers and the sparkling water machine (which I have yet to master because the water shoots out VERY FAST).

How would you describe thredUP in 5 words or less?
It’s an addictive treasure hunt.

What upcoming product initiatives are you most excited about?
My team is working on revamping thredUP’s search filters. I know that sounds a little dull, but when you have tens of thousands of brands to sift through, believe me that it will really smooth out the thredUP shopping experience!

What’s your top secret tip to shopping on thredUP?
Not sure if these are secrets, but this is what I do: I think about the holes in my closet, and do a specific search by brand, and a more general search by fabric. For example, if I was looking for a silk blouse, I’d do one search for Equipment, because I have one of their blouses and it’s amazing. But I’d also do a search for “silk blouse”, because I also don’t want to miss something good and unexpected by only searching for brands I know.

I also make a conscious effort to stay true to my style as I shop. It’s true that you’re spending less than traditional shopping, so you can afford to try something new. But if I don’t reign that impulse in, I end up with a bunch of clothes that don’t feel like me, and so I never wear them. That rule of thumb for shopping sales—would you still buy this if it were full price? Totally applies here.

What’s your top secret tip to cleaning out your closet?
My modification on the KonMari method: I take a handful of “suspicious” clothes (i.e. I’m pretty sure I don’t want them anymore but the hoarder in me still wants to keep them) out of my closet and into a brightly-lit spot in my apartment. Then I inspect each item for damage and think about whether I use and like it.

I do this a few pieces of clothing at a time, because trying to make those decisions all at once can be overwhelming. I slowly gather a stockpile over the course of a few months before I sell or donate it; my reasoning is that if I was wrong and I do actually want to keep that piece of clothing, I’ll still be able to fish it out of the pile. (Although I never do!)

How would you describe your style?
Classic, comfortable neutrals. I feel uncomfortable in prints, colors, and high heels!

What percentage of your wardrobe is thrifted?
30%. But almost everything I buy new is on sale.

Why do you think secondhand first?
Shopping secondhand is the best way I know of to stay on-trend and within your budget without contributing to all the harm and waste that comes with fast fashion.

Where do you get your coffee?
I like to make my own coffee at home, using an AeroPress. I have this whole technique down now, getting the water to the right temperature and everything (although I doubt I could tell the difference in a taste test).

What styles are you looking forward to wearing most this winter?
I love my over-the-knee boots and was so excited to break them out again this fall. I tell everyone that they’re “the pants of the shoe world,” and as a perpetually cold person I really appreciate that second layer of warmth.

Best mindfulness tip:
I have a note in my phone called “Things I Like.” It’s just little things that I notice throughout the day that make me happy (a disproportionate number of them are about my pet bunny). When I’m feeling irrationally grumpy, I always force myself to add something to it, and it really helps!

What are you most grateful for:
I moved from Portland, OR to the Bay Area for this job only a few weeks ago, and I’m so grateful to already have so many friends and family book flights to come visit me soon. I keep joking that I don’t even need to make any new friends because all my old ones will be here so often!

Best thrifty gift idea:
A couple years back I thrifted a men’s leather jacket for $30, and cut it up to make coasters and keychains for all my friends. It was such a hit that they didn’t even realize they were handmade!

What do you keep buying over and over?
Black shoes. Sometimes I think I’m ready to dabble in a nude or white shoe (wild, I know), but then I’ll buy a pair and never wear them. Not only do they go with everything, but black shoes are also the most practical: you can fix almost any scuff mark with either a sharpie or a little dab of black acrylic paint.

Best green living tip:
After the nth time reading some statistic about how livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined, I think one of the most impactful ways to be green is to try to eat less meat. To a lot of people that means being a strict vegan or vegetarian, but if everyone ate just a little less meat it would still make a huge difference. I try to eat about half vegetarian, and honestly it requires almost no work (and it’s a lot cheaper too!).

Leave a comment here and tell us about your favorite thredUP find of all time. On November 30, 2017, we’ll pick one commenter to win $100 to shop on thredUP. 

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