Spend It Better: Get your charity shop fix with online platform Thriftify

Rónán O’Dálaigh has created a virtual space where the shops have the convenience of Amazon but no horrors

Thriftify is a power for good in the frail new world that lies ahead. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

Thriftify is a power for good in the frail new world that lies ahead. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/The Irish Times

 

I sent it back to the universe, the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress picked up for a song on Camden Street. I pushed it down the chute of the clothes bin. Because the Simon Shop, where I honed a hunter’s eye for silk or cashmere in a forest of polyester, was shuttered for the foreseeable.

Working from home has been documented exhaustively but not so much shopping from home. We scroll our stuff now, make the occasional hic and click decision under the influence. The DPD man is definitely judging us.

It all left my beloved charity shops out in the cold until I heard about the brainchild of a young man from Clondalkin. Rónán O’Dálaigh put together Thriftify, an online platform that gives charity shops the convenience of Amazon with none of the added horrors. (On Thriftify nobody pees in a bottle to avoid “time off task” penalties). O’Dálaigh is a social entrepreneur and environmentalist who believes re-use is the future of fashion. Much as we’d like to think the answer is a box-fresh organic T-shirt (or the lineny aprony dungaree garments my Instagram feed feels are the essence of me) the most sustainable stuff is the stuff that already exists.

Thriftify solves the problem charity fashionistas encounter: time poverty. Charity shopping in the old days of 2019 required you to hand over your desires to the godesses. “Need a flower pot? Well here’s a purple cardigan and a West Wing boxset,” they might say. But now Thriftify’s algorithm matches you with stuff faster than you can say Vera Value.

It makes children’s clothes shopping possible, by brand, size, material and colour. And the postage is reasonable so a €3 pair of pyjamas, book or video game won’t come with the delivery sting of €17.83.

My spidey senses that tingle for a high-end bargain are redundant or internet-enabled, depending on how you look at it. When I put the word silk into the search box a new (to me) DVF dress appears. It’s winging its way here now in an An Post van along with two pairs of shorts for the youngest who walked in when I was shopping (aka researching) and announced he was tired of hand-me-downs from his brothers.

Thriftify is a power for good in the frail new world that lies ahead. It has kept vital revenue going to Irish charities while their shops were shuttered. It has the potential to save them rents and other overheads while generating more income. But the true brilliance lies in the frictionless power to get resources that already exist into the hands of people who want them. It’s like The Secret, but better.

thriftify.ie

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