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Feature: Asian pieces boosts thrifty online store


Kalavati Sanskrit Art Form Dress

Kalavati Sanskrit Art Form Dress

 

 

Thrift-clothing online store: A haven of exquisite, hand-picked Asian pieces

By: Pola Del Monte

Quezon City, Philippines

 


At first, it was the desire to stretch her allowance that propelled Filipino-Chinese Jean-Marie Isabelle Lau, then a student, to start selling thrifted clothes on her online shop. As her college days swept through however, she realized that she was committed to her brainchild Your Cup of Tea not merely because it was a utility for financial gain but because it had become her advocacy to showcase the “beautiful aesthetics” of Asian-inspired clothing.

 

Cute handbag!

Cute handbag!

 

Why did you decide to venture into reselling thrift clothes?

I decided to start selling clothes mainly because I needed the money. I was a student with little financial support from family so I decided to find a solution I can commit to. Clothes have always interested me but it was the advocacy of Your Cup of Tea that made me follow through. I only sold Asian-inspired clothing. The concept made it more difficult to find clothes in stores — it would take days to complete a collection sometimes — but it was worth it because the intention was to make people more aware of how beautiful Asian aesthetics and designs are. We’re a very-oriented culture. It’s a shame we don’t even know that much about our neighbours. Your Cup of Tea is offline indefinitely until I earn enough to actually give it a good push. I intend to set up shop in the future. Possibly in Teacher’s Village.

 

Why do you think is it beneficial to buy clothes in this manner?

Well of course it’s really the price. That was what was convenient to me at the time. Also, we know that clothes from thrift shops are often one-of-a-kind. Clothes from different places would come together at thrift shops and that somehow made it easier to find Asian-inspired clothes. When you go to a mall, you’ll only find one or two stores with a lot of options — usually pretty expensive too.

 

Gorgeous pieces!

Gorgeous pieces!

 

 

Kalavati Artist Sanskrit skirt

Kalavati Artist Sanskrit skirt

 

 

How do you go about selling/marketing your items?

Social networking and word of mouth from friends. And I think being featured on a radio station helped.

 

What is your personal fashion style and how is this reflected in your sort of business?

With any business, especially with selling online, one always has to be prepared for the possibility of not breaking even. The policy for Your Cup of Tea was I wouldn’t sell anything I wouldn’t wear. For one, that assures the customers that all the items are in good shape. Second, I would never feel bad about not being able to sell everything because unsold clothes would end up in my closet. For someone who didn’t have much money, that was a win-win situation– money or new clothes, with an important advocacy.

 

Go to http://www.yourcupoftea.multiply.com to have your own taste of Jean’s remarkable hand-picked Asian-inspired clothing collections.

 

Photography courtesy of Jean Lau

 

 

*Pola del Monte works as a Corporate Communications Specialist at a large business corporation in the Philippines, while spending a considerable time performing on stage in different countries with a world-renowned choral group. 

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