Saturday, February 19, 2011

T2 - Think Twice Secondhand Chain

Oude Graanmarkt 57, Brussels, Belgium

This Friday I skipped over to Brussels to see the newly opened branch of one of my favourite shops: T2. The current branch in my city of Ghent, Belgium has regular sales and I recall a spree that rendered me both exuberant and ashamed - not because of the spending but because of the pile that I had to strap onto my bike and lug back home with me.

Our wonderful source of info: Natalie!
The Thursday night opening of the new branch in Brussels had been populated by around 50-60 customers, a DJ and the lovely
staff. Curious, I spoke to Natalie, the cashier, who was more than willing to offer information about the inner-workings of the chain. Having long-suspected that there was no way that they made any profit given the prices their sales boasted (everything for €3? Then €2 the next day? THEN €1?!), I ensured that I questioned Natalie about the store's business model and she did not disappoint. For anyone who loved T2 before, prepare to swoon deeper into that love; and as for those who don't have one nearby, hold tight - it might be coming near you soon!

Humana is an organization that deals with humanitarianism through clothing. By collecting clothes from 14 different countries, mostly Finland, Germany and France, they then ship all of the donated items to Lithuania. Here, it is all sorted into: Great quality, good quality and poor.
  • Great quality items: are sent to Think Twice branches and sold. Profits from these sales are then used to fund great humanitarian projects and efforts. More information on this later.
  • Good quality items: are donated to people in developing nations in Africa and other needy areas.
  • Poor quality items: are collected and labelled as scrap.

Of the shops receiving 'Great quality items', there are two sorts: Red T2 shops contain streetwear and vintage while the Green T2 'Family' shops contain more modern clothes.

Humanitarian projects include microfinancing set-ups. For example, a loan of around €3000 is given to a woman in India to buy a cow or a sewing machine in order to set up a business in selling milk or clothes and she pays back this loan slowly. In this case, the women are not being given fish but instead the dignity of a fishing rod along with a few helpful pointers. These projects are always a better option if the aim is to stimulate a healthy economy - because there has to be economic activity not just economic simulations in order to set a family or community back on its feet.

The next pressing question was how does it all work on a day to day basis in terms of getting stock - and HOW DO YOU GUYS MAKE ANY MONEY when you have SO MANY SALES??!!!

Natalie was very patient. Every six weeks, she explained, there is a new collection of clothes, a new batch so-to-speak. So after 4 weeks the sales begin. Here's the breakdown of how it goes:

  • Mon-Tue: 30% off
  • Wed-Thur: 50% off
  • Fri-Sat (and Sun in Ghent, woot!!): Absolutely Everything for €3 unless marked as being less
  • Mon-Tue 6th week: Absolutely Everything €2 unless marked as being less
  • Wed-Thur 6th week: Everything €1 unless marked as being less
Furthermore, declared Natalie, there are about 100 new items on the shelves each day, give or take, as sold items are replaced and 20% more items are added on top of what was sold.

Next stops for this amazing secondhand chain?
Breda, Netherlands and maybe another in Brussels. However, according to my source there are plans for 5 new shops by the end of 2011.

So, if you still aren't convinced that you need to go to this great shop where you can find stylish, great quality secondhand items at very low prices and yet know that you are doing good even as you shop, then I just don't know what I can tell you to make you happy.

Know other places we should check out? Want to show off your secondhand and vintage finds? Send suggestions and photos to:

1 comment:

  1. wow I am just heading to Ghent for a weekend, had no idea about T2, thank you!!!