Series on Entrepreneurship: Thrifting to Thrive
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By Advisorsavvy Staff | 790 words | Reading Time: 4 minutes | Date: 2023/04/28
Welcome to the second story from the series on entrepreneurship! Today, we’ll follow Kris Pagaduan and Tlisa Ghany, the co-founders of Loosefade, a thrift store and creator community based in Toronto. Tlisa and Kris experienced immense success in their first year, but didn’t realize the cyclical nature of their revenue until it was too late. Fortunately, they were able to overcome this hardship by widening their revenue streams. Keep reading for the full story!
Kris Pagaduan and Tlisa Ghany started their thrift clothing company, Loosefade, on innocent terms. They simply wanted to get rid of some old clothes in their closet. In the beginning, they used an online platform called Depop. Tlisa and Kris always had a “desire to get out there to connect with people”, especially over creativity, individuality, and self expression.
In the spring of 2021, Kris and Tlisa hosted their first pop up shop out of a laundromat in Toronto. It was a success and the duo continued to run the pop up shops throughout the summer until November of that year. They quickly outgrew the space and began the search for a more permanent storefront location.
In May 2022, they found an opportunity to open a storefront with Stackt Market at Bathurst and King. They have been there ever since. The new space allowed Tlisa and Kris to launch “The People’s Market”. The program connects local artists and creators with the thrift store, allowing them to sell their merchandise and showcase their work. Through these collaborations, both Loosefade and the creators benefit.
During the winter of the 2022 year, Loosefade began to experience financial hardship. As this is Kris and Tlisa’s first business, “everything until this point has been a learning process and a lot of trial and error.” The summer of 2022 was a mega success with all the extra foot traffic coming to their new downtown store. But when the winter came, less were buying thrifted clothes and the co-founders were caught in a cycle of overspending. Since Kris and Tlisa hadn’t realized the cyclical nature of their revenue yet, they didn’t have a financial plan for getting through the winter months. “Had we planned more for e-commerce and events, we would not have had such a difficult time scrambling for ways to make extra money to make up for the lack of foot traffic,” Tlisa said.
The owners of Loosefade reacted to the situation quickly to ensure they could pay the store rent on time. They publicized more discount sales to motivate people to visit the store. In addition, they re-opened their online store to bring in more revenue. Finally, Tlisa and Kris obtained a short term, high interest loan from Shopify to bridge the gap. While taking out a loan wasn’t ideal, they were stuck in a tricky situation with no other options. These three efforts helped them get through the winter months and pay rent on time. “Above all is really just giving ourselves a plan and a budget,” the co-founders said. For next winter, Kris and Tlisa will be much better prepared having gone through this experience. They have made it their goal not to rely on financing again because they know from this experience that it is a slippery slope.
In hindsight, the co-owners of Loosefade realized the cyclical nature of retail businesses. The busy season is during the summer months, up until the holiday season. But the months following are naturally slower until it gets warm in the summer months and more foot traffic comes to the store again. Tlisa and Kris also acknowledge the value of diversifying revenue streams, such as participating in vendor markets and keeping the online store up to date. Both of these activities help them reach a wider audience to bring in more money, while still staying true to their vision and goals.
Despite this financial blip, Loosefade has overcome the hurdle and the duo will be much better prepared for next winter. After all, when operating your first business, sometimes problems arise, but it’s how you handle them that counts!
“At the end of the day we all have dreams and ideas,” Tlisa said. “The only way to bring them to life is by taking the first step of being vulnerable enough to announce to the world that, ‘hey, this is me and this is what I’m about to do!’” Every entrepreneur makes mistakes and that’s all a part of the journey to making your dreams come alive. As you can see, even when you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world! “Take some time with yourself, really dig deep, find that one thing and use it with the intention to serve others. It will bring joy, meaning, and purpose into your life.
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