When their entrepreneurship class charged them to think of a problem worth solving, Elon University junior Grace Granger and sophomore Jakob Reuter wanted to tackle an environmental issue: clothing sustainability. The duo created @ElonUThrift to provide convenient clothing solutions for students while lowering the amount of waste on campus.
“We saw a big problem with waste in our community, so we wanted to solve that issue,” Granger said. “We looked into different solutions, and the one that stood out to us was a thrift shop for students so that they could reuse and find old clothing, furniture, things that were getting left behind.”
Granger and Reuter, who is a staff photographer for Elon News Network, both believed a thrift business would fill a gap in the Elon community.
“I think thrifting brings a lot of convenience to the students, and it’s ultimately a way to lower waste,” Granger said. “We are trying to help out the students and give them an outlet for their items that they no longer need or want rather than just tossing it on the side of the road.”
Granger, a theatre design and technology major, never saw herself starting a business. However, her class, knack for thrifting and passion for the environment propelled her and Reuter to launch ElonUThrift.
Granger and Reuter use their Instagram platform, @ElonUThrift, to list clothing received from students looking to sell.
They hope to provide convenience and quality service to their clients. Students directly message the account to list items to be sold, then Granger will collect, clean, take pictures and post the items to the business’s Instagram account. Sellers receive 30 to 60% of the profit sale depending on the price and condition of the item.
In addition to conducting business online, Granger and Reuter have strived for ElonUThrift to have an in-person component, similar to a retail shop. Like other student entrepreneurs, the two paired with Marketplace Under the Oaks and hosted their own pop-up event. Pop-ups allow students to see the clothes in person rather than online.
Elon students are the main client and customer base for ElonUThrift. Both Granger and Reuter have seen positive reactions from students who choose to buy and sell from the small business.
Junior Carly Kleinwaks said she is very satisfied, having already sold three items through ElonUThrift.
“Although it’s not that much money, it feels good to get something out of your closet and get some money for it, especially in college,” Kleinwaks said.
Granger is excited for the future of ElonUThrift and believes this project will extend far beyond the classroom. Granger hopes to venture into upcycling — reworking clothing into a new piece — along with launching a website.
“I think ElonUThrift has a lot of potential, and we plan on continuing to grow it and make it better,” Granger said. “Right now, we’re mostly doing thrifting and trading, but hopefully, down the line, we can do more upcycling. Possibly collaborate with other Elon student entrepreneurs too.”
In fulfilling her newfound interest in entrepreneurship, Granger hopes her business can inspire other Elon students to follow their passions.
“Anyone can be an entrepreneur,” Granger said. “It’s more of a mindset than anything. If you have an idea, I think you should reach for the stars and go for it.”