Thrift is a true family business. Photographer Jodi Melody runs the store with her mum Sharon, from sourcing and buying stock to working on the floor, with Jodi's brother making cameo appearances, and her dad did the fit-out of the shop. The Melody family have, by their powers combined, created a space that is bright, spacious and clean— the perfect foil to the bold prints, lush textiles and contrasting colours of their stock.
Thrift is relatively new to Cuba Street's second-hand clothing scene. Opening about 18 months ago, the store has brought Jodi's unique vintage eye and her mum's high-end designer obsession to Wellington's second-hand scene.
Jodi says she and her mum have always been "just super obsessed with clothing and have been for a long time". She acknowledges that Wellington has always had a strong second-hand fashion culture, and says her family wanted to add something unique to the city's shopping landscape.
Sharon has sold everything from antiques to houses, as well as owning clothing shops and selling through markets, and has an extensive knowledge of designer brands. Jodi says opening the store felt like a natural progression, "We thought why not just combine our interests and open a store?"
This combined with Jodi's long-term love of vintage means that Thrift caters to a broad range of shoppers. She admits to a few dubious outfits in previous years, with her tastes changing frequently— Jodi has gone through an "1980s fluoro and neon clothing" period, followed by a '60s phase, but now prefers to wear predominantly '70s looks.
Jodi and shop manager/best friend Hannah Jensen are advocates for the quality and uniqueness that come with buying vintage. They both admit they both take home plenty from Thrift for their own wardrobes, admitting they are always selling their own clothes to buy more.
Hannah says she'll only purchase what she knows will hold its value in her wardrobe, "I only buy something if I know that later on, maybe in three or four months' time, I can onsell it and get value back." They encourage customers to take risks with fashion, knowing that they can "wear it five times, bring it back and sell it again".
The store's stock is a combination of consignment pieces brought in by customers— the customer and the store split the sale price— and items sourced on a recent buying trip to the USA— Hannah and Jodi recall their hotel rooms with vintage strewn over every surface.
"The denim in America is amazing quality— much better than the stuff you can get around here. If you buy a pair of vintage jeans, they've come this far so they're going to make it another 40 years."
Expect to spot the likes of Karen Walker, Andrea Moore and Kate Sylvester sharing racks with prim '50s cotton dresses, playful '60s shifts, breezy '70s Mexican blouses, jewel-toned '80s cocktail frocks and high-waisted '90s denim. Jodi and Hannah are proponents of colour, print and fun, and love to help customers delve into new decades or cuts they might be unfamiliar with.
Jodi says the store's constantly-changing stock reflects her own style ethos. "The store goes through as many angsty teenage periods as I have. It goes through phases and changes all the time, but that's how we want it to be. We don't want customers to come in and see the same thing every week— we want it to be different."
57 Ghuznee Street, Wellington