Rarity, Charity, and Sustainability: Laramie’s Nu2U

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A light snow falls on Nu2U’s exterior as shoppers hunt for pieces inside on Saturday.

New to Who?

There’s always been a market for vintage and thrifted fashion, but the industry has grown into much more than a way to find unique pieces of clothing. Although there are some fans, other people find the negative stigmas surrounding second hand shopping to be true.

Those in Laramie who are in favor of used goods often shop at thrift chain Nu2U. The company has two stores, Nu2U and Nu2U Sports, both located in downtown Laramie.

Nu2U employee Star Siedenburg said Nu2U’s business goes beyond accepting donations and reselling them. The store features a consignment resale program with over 10,450 members and frequently makes donations to those in need with the goal of contributing to the reduction of waste and supporting the community.

“It’s so awesome how the whole community regularly brings their clothes here. We’ve cut down on a ton of waste in town,” Siedenburg said.

Fast Fashion vs. Thrifting

The fast fashion industry makes clothing that is trendy and inexpensive. Environmental activists think lowly of the practice and encourage buying second hand instead. According to Attitude Organic, shopping mall staples including Forever 21, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret all partake in the selling of disposable clothing, sacrificing quality, ethical labor practices, and environmental consciousness.

Additionally, according to The Green Hub, a sustainable fashion and lifestyle magazine, eighty billion articles of clothing are purchased globally every year. This vast amount of material requires a multitude of resources, all of which are minimized when purchasing previously used clothes.

Siedenburg explained that Nu2U tries to do its part by donating extra articles of clothing to the Clothing Cottage in Laramie. Also, any clothing that is not fit to be sold is restored and sent to clothing banks in Africa.

Another point of interest for thrifting is the price differential. With profit in mind, fast fashion retailers will often charge high prices for clothing that costs pennies to make. Thrift stores like Nu2U, however, sell clothing for a fraction of their original price.

“I like the discounts of thrift shopping and its uniqueness. Now that I live in little old Laradise, I never shop at chain stores!” Emily Dyson, Nu2U shopper, said.

Avid thrift shoppers feel that buying cute clothing and supporting sustainability are not mutually exclusive. They admit that rummaging through racks of random clothing in thrift stores may take more time, but they consider the benefits to outweigh the costs for the sake of the environment and their wallets.

“Thrifting is a great hobby! It’s super fun to go see what’s out there and it’s a good opportunity to be creative with what you buy and wear,” Katrina Norris, Nu2U regular, said.

Boots and pants await their buyers in Laramie’s Nu2U.

The Joy in Minimalism

Beyond shopping, many thrift stores like Nu2U, offer consignment and donation programs. This process starts with people bringing in used clothing, then employees pick (depending on brand, quality, and season) what they find up to par for the store.

At Nu2U, upon sale, the seller receives fifty percent of the store chosen price of the item. There are also donation options for those simply wanting to do a quick closet clean out.

Following the popularity of the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” minimalism has been on the rise. Kondo’s philosophy on organization features asking yourself if the item on the chopping block sparks joy. If the answer is no, ditch it! When asked about Kondo, Norris said she tried to implement the strategy in January, during her last purge.

“Clothes and possessions aren’t permanent. Purging is so cool because when you’re tired of something, you can go get something else that does bring you joy,” Norris said.

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Step In and Stand Out

Upon walking into Nu2U, customers are faced with walls of fringy leather jackets and racks of funky dresses. By accepting so many clothes through consignment and donation, the shop has an ever changing supply of one of a kind pieces.

“My absolute favorite item I’ve found thrifting is a sweatshirt with the word ‘ski’ stitched across the front. There’s also a little man skiing on the front of it!” Dyson said.

Every item that is accepted through consignment as well as some donations are housed in the upstairs portion of the store. They live there for about three months and then move downstairs to the fifty percent off section. The purpose of this is to give buyers the best chance to find items that they love.

Nu2U’s pursuit to offer the Laramie community a source of uniqueness will continue until the donations and consignment stop. The business is hopeful that items once loved by previous owners will continue to feel truly new to you.

“Life is too short to care whether or not you’re spending ‘enough’ money on clothes. Who wants to look the same as someone else anyways?” Norris said.

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