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Small Business Week: Thrifted Feels ATX wants to uplift the Austin community

Dominique Kirven posed while working a pop-up shop at Coconut Club. (Thrifted Feels/Instagram)

Dominique Kirven began thrifting with her mother and grandmother when she was 10 years old, only slowing down as she began working for big-box stores. Kirven left that job, frustrated with "how corrupt the industry is" and the unsustainability of fast fashion, shifting her shopping to smaller, used retailers.

And she started shopping like crazy—so much so that her friends started seeing Kirven's closet as a boutique and would frequently come over to swap clothes with her, sometimes offering to buy pieces off of her.

"What started Thrifted Feels was just the momentum of me having too many, so many perfect clothes and accessories and shoes and bags," Kirven said. "Eventually I started doing (Instagram) story sales, just as a hobby, and I started making really good money."

Feeling burnt out from her day job while running a boutique out of her apartment, Kirven quit her job once again for the sake of fashion. She now runs Thifted Feels ATX, her sustainable fashion boutique, full time.

"I think 2020 was just one of those moments for me where I was just like, I'm going to be 30 in a year, I don't want to be clocking in and clocking out," Kirven said. "(It was) well worth the risk of like letting go of my 401k and my benefits."

Kirven still frequently sells clothes on Instagram stories but has expanded to a brick and mortar at Gather & Co, the self-described "love child" of two companies, Thrifted Feels and To The Moon, in the Hill Country Galleria.

Now that she is established, Kirven wants to grow into and help the community that lifted her up. Gather & Co promotes local creatives and sustainability; Kirven sources from "mom and pop shops" and other Black-owned businesses around the state. She is transitioning her business to a nonprofit license so she can partner with local programs like LifeWorks, a non-profit helping young people conquer homelessness.

"I made this money despite me showing my old 'grandma' self—this is exactly where I want to be and also dig in deeper into my community, that makes sense to me," Kirven said. "That's my manifestation."

So what do you get when you shop at Thrifted Feels ATX? According to Kirven, you're getting her signature "earthy" aesthetic and a memorable shopping experience. Gone are the days of crowded racks and stuffy aisles because everything inside has already been curated when you walk in.

If you can't make it in person, you can still buy her picks on and @thriftedfeels on Instagram.

"You would not tell that it was a thrift store walking into it," Kirven said. "Not only does it look good but it's affordable. You come to my shop, you spend $100 and you kind of always have at least a decent amount of stuff. I think that's what sets me apart, I'm not really doing it for capitalism, I'm doing it for my community."

It's Small Business Week, read about other local businesses making an impact here.


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