This is eco-fierce
Kari Shipman turned her pink slip into a new career by starting a fashion blog, http://juniperjames.wordpress.com, as a way to focus her (overly) creative energy. Shipman channeled her love for shopping at thrift stores into a local blog that inspired people to join her in her quest to save the world, one adorable article of clothing at a time. Part therapist, part stylist, part personal shopper, Shipman teaches readers to embrace fashion while saving money and being eco-friendly. Going green has never been so fierce.
What advice would you give to someone who just started thrifting?
Call me. We can go shopping. Just get involved, take people with you and have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have to go completely eco-friendly and green and thrift everything. Just feel it out and have fun. I have a thrift and vintage directory on my blog and I would love it if people just went and tried it.
What would you say to someone who can’t get over the secondhand aspect of thrifting?
It’s not for everybody. If that’s something that’s going to be hard for you, it’s going to be hard for you. I think it helps going to a store like Thrift Town that’s super clean and bright and organized, and it doesn’t feel like a secondhand store. I mean, if you think about it, people at department stores try stuff on and put it back all the time. There’s nothing to say that that hasn’t be worn by someone else or returned.
Tell me how your blog, Juniper James, was born.
A friend said I should start a blog and not even necessarily show it to anyone, but just kind of write about the things that I love and the things that I care about, try and get focused for what I wanted to do, now that I didn’t have a job. …
I started last April. … I’m a musician, I’m an artist, I’m a lot of different things, and so I was trying to get that focus on where I wanted to put the most amount of my energy that would be the most effective and be something that I love.
How did you turn your passion into a business?
I book appointments to meet with people who want a style and closet overhaul. I come in and meet with them try to get to know their personality, try to figure out their style hang-ups. I work with them and figure out their style ideal. Then we donate all of the clothes they are not saving, and [later] we thrift and vintage shop. We come back and work the stuff that we bought into their wardrobe.
Why is thrifting eco-friendly?
I recently wrote an article about H&M and a couple other stores who were found destroying their merchandise when it wasn’t sold. The thing about thrifting is that it’s not going into a landfill and it’s also not being shipped from China or wherever it’s being made. Being able to repurpose things that would normally just be thrown away or discarded—or even just cluttered up in someone’s house. It’s not just eco-friendly; it’s very socially responsible.
What percentage of your outfit is thrifted?
One hundred percent. I mean, you take out things like underwear and tights and the stuff that you would never buy at thrift stores. But other than basics like that, even the furniture in my house comes from a thrift store or a vintage shop.
Do you have a go-to item?
I really love heels. I like finding fun and interesting heels. [The ones I’m wearing now] are Steve Madden, and they have a little blue. I thought they were fun.
What’s the best deal you’ve discovered?
I got a leather coat a while back, a couple years ago, and I found it for four or five dollars. I took it to a tailor and had it fit to me. It was incredible.
Do you have a favorite brand?
I have a couple brands that I end up realizing that I buy a lot, but I’m really not into brands and labels, just because I’m not shopping at regular stores. I’m used to going through and I shop by colors that are good for me and I shop by fabric. I find that I end up with a lot of Free People stuff, which I wasn’t even aware was a really expensive, high-end brand.
How did you get into thrifting?
My mom was a really, really creative person. I had no idea until I was, like, mid-high school that there was even a stigma involved with thrifting. It was just what I did and where I got my clothes. And then I found out, “Oh, this isn’t something that everybody does.” This isn’t something everybody is into. That’s weird.
What’s your least favorite part of your new business?
Not having enough time for all the projects that I want to do.
Plug your blog.
It’s fun. I post new outfits every week. It’s just a new perspective I haven’t seen a lot of. There are a lot of fashion blogs out there, but I don’t see a lot of people who are taking on civic responsibility, how fashion can be responsible and how fashion can move you forward as a person, as a society, I think that’s important.