‘Golden Rags’ owner is changing the way you thrift

Tamara Baskin is bringing upscale style to the thrift store experience

Golden Rag is all the rage.

Dancers for the likes of Justin Bieber and Britney Spears frequent the LA thrift store in search of stylish garbs and pieces that will give them the ultimate standout look.

The woman behind the upscale thrifting experience is store owner Tamara Baskin.

With Golden Rag, Baskin is changing the way people think about thrifting, which is often believed to be too difficult and time consuming. With her online service, Baskin also shows you how to pair the clothing and serves as your very own personal stylist.

Get to know more about her thrift empire below.

What year were you founded?

2010

What inspired you to launch your business?

I’ve always been a big fan of going to thrift stores growing up. My mom always taught me how to make sure you look nice on a budget. Growing up in a single parent household we couldn’t always afford to go to the mall or department store, so thrift stores where my way of shopping and finding cool stuff to wear.

I actually didn’t even know [thrift] stores were taboo until I was in middle school. I thought it was normal to shop in thrift stores. I didn’t know there was like a stigma attached to it, and even when I found out, I still continued to do it and embrace it.

I am only 3 feet tall so it’s difficult to find clothes for my budget, and also difficult to find clothes for my height. Thrift stores also helped me discover my style by playing around with clothes. But what will tend to happen I would go around to these thrift stores and see these amazing clothes that I can’t fit.

I didn’t really want to leave them there so I thought, ‘What if I just buy them and restyle them on my friends.’ It was my creative outlet to restyle and collect the vintage I would find because I wasn’t able to wear it myself. I was able to put it on a model, style them, take a picture, and then from there I decided to sell the items that I would find.

That is how Golden Rags started.

Limitations on clothing

I think if you open magazines [you will see] we are slowly making transitions to include more sizes and more types of women, but in the past you only saw models. Designers kind of took what they felt was aesthetically pleasing–which is a 5’10 girl who a size zero. In actuality, that doesn’t even represent half of the market. I think now they are starting to realize that women come in so many different sizes. We are petite, tall, we are in the middle. I think brands are recognizing that more.

Golden Girl and Golden Boy

The Golden Girl is a bit more eclectic with her styling. In a way she is kinda my alter ego. She is not afraid to wear bold colors, but at the same time, she’s a girl who understands she’s on a budget. She might mix her Forever 21 piece with a crazy, colorful statement blazer from my store. She goes against the grain a bit. She likes to create her own styles instead of [sticking] to the styles that are out there.

The same goes for the Golden Guy. I like to describe him as the Golden Girl’s boyfriend. He’s the guy who might not necessarily go and buy the clothes himself, but he likes dressing differently than most guys. He wants to wear a bit more than t-a shirt and jeans. He might wear a jacket on top of it, but he doesn’t know where to get it so his girlfriend gets it for him.

They are both very artistic people. The Golden Guy or Golden Girl might be a photographer, artist, a stylist they are very in touch with their artistic style. They are very confidant people as well. They don’t mind playing with colors and patterns.

What makes your brand/product unique?

I want Golden Rags to be more of a service rather than just a store. We cater to those who love the thrift culture, the vintage culture. We want to thrift for you and make a very curated store. If you don’t have time to thrift and go in to Goodwills and look through those clothes, we are not only giving it to you; we are showing you how to style it. In LA we have a studio where they can come in and shop in person and we style them. We also have another service that allows you to put in a request for items you don’t see on our site, and we will help you find it. I feel that is what’s differentiating us from other sites. I take the middle man out for people.

Why should everyone #buyblack this holiday season?

If we could utilize all of our sources including feedback we could be so much stronger and then we wouldn’t have these issues. We need to feed into our own businesses and put our resources together.

How do you pay it forward within your community?

I try to buy from Black-owned businesses for my business and my personal shopping. I try to feed into my own network as well as the businesses around me. Thrifting as a whole helps the community because we are recycling stuff that most people throw away.

What is your business mantra?

A Modern Twist On Vintage Rags. We want people to think of vintage in a new way.

For more information, visit GoldenRags.com.

 

Chalise Macklin is a freelance writer and producer for theGrio.