[The SixBalloons blog is full of whimsy; just the way I like my thrifty finds...]
Edit: Well, Damn. I posted this yesterday, but blogger deleted it. Blogger also made comments disappear and other oddities. I'll be back on Monday with regular postings if Blogger permits! Have a nice weekend!
You'll love Vancouver, Canada based thrifter's blog, SixBalloons where she shares her colorful vintage finds and displays a clear passion for the vintage hunt.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, SixBalloons.
I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada where I live with my hubby. We have a little house that we've put a lot of work into, and it's all been worth it - harvesting vegetables from my little urban garden has been one of my favourite accomplishments!
When and why did you start thrifting?
My Dad has always been intruiged by garage sales and flea markets. While the rest of the family groaned in the car when we were kids, I'd jump at the chance to do some serious treasure hunting! The thrill of finding some mysterious trinket or great bargain always appealed to me. When we started furnishing our home, I was disappointed to find that many new items were of lower quality than those I grew up with (i.e. veneered particle board dressers, heavy porcelain baking pans).
With some patience and heavy lifting, we were able to get several main furniture pieces in solid oak and rosewood. This has been a great foundation upon which to build. Then as we started to stock our kitchen and experiment with recipes, I knew that adding some vintage Pyrex and Le Creuset pieces would add quality and character to our space.
What do you think makes thrifting in Canada different than thrifting in the United States or other places in the world?
At least locally in my region, there are a couple of reasons I can see. First, there is a good culture of recycling and reuse. Then there is the convenience of donating used goods. It is very common for people to donate items they want to get rid of, sell them on Craigslist, or hold garage sales. Charities solicit donations and offer to pick up goods from your doorstep and convenient drop off bins are located throughout the city for clothing and book donations.
This high volume of incoming product makes for great shopping for thrifters. I'm sure this is not exclusive to Canada, but our society values convenience, things that function perfectly, and of course, new stuff. Every time I find something amazing, I'm reminded of how wasteful our society can be. There really are hidden treasures to be found at thrift shops here.
What are the names for "thrifting" in Canada?
I can't think of any different terms, but the places Canadians go to thrift are:
Estate sales are not very popular here, which I think contributes to lots of items being donated to thrift shops.
Is there a large thrifting/junking/second-hand shopping culture in Canada?
Vancouver is a big metropolis and it has become very popular to shop thrift. There are several high-end consignment retail stores for vintage fashions, household items, and mid-century modern furniture and finds. The typical chain thrift stores are generally quite busy, and you often see teenagers shopping for clothing, and families purchasing household items. Turnover is high, which is great for finding new items, but it can be slim pickings on a Saturday afternoon.
Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in Canada? Is it seen as dirty or something for low-income families?
Yes and no. Because Vancouver is a fairly expensive city, there are wide income gaps between certain neighbourhoods. As a result, sadly, some thrift stores are shoddy and unkempt, and others can be quite expensive. I have noticed more of a depressing vibe in some stores, but most places are in regular neighbourhoods. The people in these average income areas are fortunate in that they likely choose to thrift.
I would still say that you see the odd kid looking embarrassed about shopping at places like Value Village. You then have the young hipsters who are proud that they are rummaging around for deals and individual style. I think the general population here has gained an appreciation for vintage, and that has really changed the perception of thrifting.
On the garage sale front, there is no such stigma, as it is almost a Spring and Summer past-time to wander neighbourhood sales.
Are there any flea markets in Vancouver, Canada? What are they like?
There is a big flea market in Vancouver on the weekends, and some smaller ones at community centres. There is a wide range of vendors - the vintage-collector-types, the new cheap trinket sellers, and the odd balls selling things like new batteries, shampoos and razors. I think the dollar-store type sellers probably provide convenience for shoppers, but it brings the excitement factor down for me. They also typically charge an admission fee, which further dilutes the experience.
Are there many dumpster divers and curb-side shoppers in your area?
Is there a large thrift and craft culture in Canada?
New TV programs seem to be generating excitement about treasure hunting, and as housing becomes more expensive here, I think that people have less disposable income and more desire to find ways to save money. In terms of crafting, I'm not an expert on the subject of crafting but there are certainly talented local artisans that produce anything from pottery to specialty soaps to handmade knit items.
[A very tidy thrift store in Vancouver, Canada]
What are thrift stores like in Canada?
Generally clean, organized by sections, heavy on clothing and shoes, lots of donated small appliances, furniture and mugs mugs everywhere.
Where is your favorite place in the world to thrift?
I have to say my hometown and the outlying suburbs. I enjoy finding little local treasures that remind me of my childhood, like Expo '86 paraphernalia, or something relating to my favourite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks!
If you would like to be featured in Thrifters Around the World, shoot me an e-mail.
I would love to interview you and chat about thrifting where you live.
Past Thrifters Around The World Interviews:
[2/15/2011] Thrifting Pro Miss P From the UK (Part I)
[2/22/2011] Thrifted Treasure's Alice from Australia[3/01/2011] Thrifting Pro Miss P From the UK (Part II)
[3/08/2011] Switcheroom's Elle From the Philippines
[3/16/2011] eLousion's Cindy From Puerto Rico
[3/30/2011] Ashleigh's Thrifting Tales from Taiwan and Tokyo
[4/15/2011] Kimberly's Thrifting from France to Germany