High fashion shoppers spend $950 for a pair of Versace jeans or $480-$3600 for a Prada handbag. However, if you are a member of Sassy Thrifters, you know better. Sassy Thrifters is a group of fashionable, cents-saving shoppers affectionately known as “Sassies”. They are practical purchasers, polished and perfectly put together and they only pay a tiny fraction of the cost for those top-selling brands. Tameka Thompson founded sassy Thrifters in April 2015. Her passion for thrifting grew into a movement of over 31,000 like-minded members.
Kimberly Durden (KD): Tameka, you are a proud Chicagoan. What side of town are you from, and why do you love our city so much?
Tameka Thompson (TT): I am from Rockwell Garden Housing Projects on the west side. I love Chicago because it is my home. The culture, the vibe, our summers are the best, the grub, the sound – the place where house music originated, the steppers, the skaters, the different communities, the overall energy – it’s all Chicago, it’s only Chicago.
KD: Why did you create Sassy Thrifters?
TT: After my mom passed, I gravely missed her and needed a way to keep her spirit alive in me, so I started thrifting as a way to connect to her. Ironically, thrifting was therapy for my mom, but as a young girl, I did not understand this. I hated that she purchased my items second-hand. I gave her the hardest time for thrifting my stuff. It was embarrassing. As I got older, thrifting became my passion. That catalyst pushed me into one of my purposes in life. I believe in being a resource to bring people together to connect, network, support each other while build lasting friendships through the love of thrifting. I am forever grateful for the gift of thrift that my mom passed on to me. Through Sassy Thrifters, I get to honor her by sharing her love of thrifting with the world. I know my mom is somewhere smiling down on her hardheaded child for finally embracing thrift.
KD: When did you know that this was your purpose?
TT: When the group grew to whopping five-thousand members in just a few months, I knew without a doubt that this was so much bigger than me. This was my calling.
KD: What is your overall mission and vision? What do you plan to accomplish via this group ultimately?
TT: My initial mission was to dispel the myth that only “poor” people thrift. I ultimately plan to build a community of people who live an amazing lifestyle without breaking the bank & draining the trust fund money (smile).
KD: How has Sassy Thrifters affected your life?
TT: I have met so many great women from different walks of life and developed new business partnerships and some real true friendships. I learned to listen to what women, Black women, especially, truly wanted from a group like Sassy Thrifters. Consequently, new groups were launched to meet the needs of what we heard from our members: We now have a philanthropic group – Sassies Care, a fitness group, S.W.E.A.T (Sassy Women Exercising and Training); as well as a book club – Sassy Thrifters Book Club.
KD: What is one of your proudest or most-impactful milestones to-date?
TT: There are so many! I would say my proudest would be the plethora of messages I receive from complete strangers thanking me for helping them be unapologetically themselves.
KD: What message would you like to send to Black women, especially those who are passionate about their purpose but are fearful of taking that first step or even next step forward?
TT: Feel the fear, but do not allow it to paralyze you. You would not believe how many are waiting for you to share what you have to offer. Give the people what they want and need.
Sassy Thrifters is not just a group of people who thrift shop all day. Sassy Thrifters is a group of people who love to care for and help others. Members who make positive marks and impacts on whomever they come in contact with; who continually circulate dollars within Black communities by financially supporting Black-owned businesses in Chicago and across the nation; and who all just so happen to “get high on low prices.” Sassy Thrifters is a celebration of a lifestyle of shopping with a purpose for a multitude of uses, all due to the selfless, awe-inspiring vision of Tameka Thompson. She is someone you should know whether you love thrifting or not.
To participate in or support Sassy Thrifters and any of the other Sassy brands, please follow these links:
Sassy Thrifters + Sassies Care + Sassy Travel Takeovers + S.W.E.A.T. (Sassy Women Exercising and Training) + Sassy Thrifters Book Club