(Article written by Theresa Attalla. Video created by Lis Barrow.)
The second room in Dina Younis’ apartment is not used as an office or spare bedroom, but is filled with clothing racks with different colored and patterned shirts, a torso mannequin covered with a beaded, sparkly necklace, and vintage prints on the walls.
As outsider looking in, one might think she’s spent hundreds of dollars on her clothes and shoes, and even to create this personal walk-in closet to hold these items. Chances are, she’s probably spent less than what the average American spends on just a few articles of clothing.
It’s all about being thrifty.
“I began thrifting when I was old enough to receive an allowance, so about 12 or 13. I was living in the Middle East and we only really had one thrift store.” Younis said. “I realized I loved to dig, I love flea markets, and I love shuffling through racks. I could replicate what I was seeing in the magazines and on the runway and I knew I wanted to do this all the time.”
Younis’ blog, Dinasdays.com, is a place for her to “share her appreciation” for the items she find and stumbles upon in flea markets and thrift stores. She began the blog in 2009, after she followed some bigger blogs and realized she had a few things to share.
“Over the last couple of years was when I started focusing heavily on thrift and flea markets,” she added. “It took me awhile to find my niche and my voice, and when I realized, ‘Hey, almost everything I own is from the thrift store,’ it started to reflect and show on my blog.”
Whether it’s the Village Discount on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls or the Goodwill on Waterloo Road, she’s proving you can get quality items for the same cost as daily splurge on coffee. And as she’s gotten older, she’s realized the importance of thrifting in her own life.
“You save a lot of money. I found that the older I got, I had a lot more room to spend on things I wanted to invest in,” She said. “The more important part, is the individuality. It helps you be creative. The chances of somebody having the same outfit as you are very slim. It’s challenged me to see the potential in things.”
She explained that when she travels to the store, she looks to find pieces she can make her own, whether by altering the article of clothing or repainting furniture to match her apartment style. She thrives on the creativity aspect of seeing the full potential in what an item can become for her.
Younis’ favorite items to shop for are clothing and mini collections for her house, and she has a soft spot for old vintage or embellished items.
“I try to sell them at the vintage markets, but I always hold onto them,” she laughed.
Her advice for beginners is straightforward. She encourages them to go often, research the stores you’re going to visit, take one section at a time, and go with an idea in mind.
“You might not necessarily find what you had in mind that day, but the more you go, the more comfortable you’d get with where things are, and it will be less overwhelming, “ she said.
Many times, researching the store will provide insight to when discount days are taking place or if there are other deals.
Dinasdays.com is not the only project Younis has on her plate. She still holds a full time job as a Communications and Events Associate at the GAR Foundation in Akron. She manages her work life and blog life through careful planning and organization tips she’s learned over the years, and of course, these are listed on her blog.
In addition, Younis reaches out to Northeast Ohio bloggers such as her collaboration with local blogger, Katie from somethingtobefound.com. The two have been challenging each other to find and replicate clothes and DIY projects using only thrifted items.
Younis also will participate in Goodwill of Cleveland’s annual fundraiser, Good Style Fashion Show, on May 8, 2014. She, along with other with other local bloggers will style 10 runway looks for under $125. This is the third year for the fashion show and the third year Younis has featured a collection.
“This year my theme is ‘Secret life of plants,’ so every look is based on a plant or flower, and it was inspired by a Stevie Wonder album.” Younis said. “The event is so much fun, and the best part is that all the proceeds go toward supporting Goodwill programs.”
Then, on Saturday, May 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m, Goodwill of Akron, will hold an in-store style challenge at the Goodwill located on Waterloo Rd.
“Last fall, I had this idea where I wanted to bring together the bloggers, readers, and especially non-thrifters to remove the fear, intimidation and stigma surrounding thrift stores,” she said.
She approached Goodwill of Akron and they came up with the idea.
Local bloggers will have 30 minutes to style a look for $20 and will model for guests to vote for their favorite pieces. Younis plans to teach a thrifting workshop at Goodwill that will focus on topics such as navigating the store and what to look for on the racks.
The bloggers at the event include:
- Rachel / For the Birds
- Amy / Glam and Grace
- Megan / Garden Variety
- Collyn / Two Amused Bouches
- Abby /Les Bottes D’eleanor
- Lindsey / Ever So Splendid
- KSU fashion students: Mercadies, Shelby, Sarah
- Cyndi Martin / Ms. Ohio Valley, 2014
Lastly, Younis has turned her passion for thrifting into semi-side gig helping others. She recently took a trip with a client to the stores and acted as the client’s own personal thrift shopper.
With her first client, she successfully purchased 20 articles of clothing for around $80 and they found all the items on the client’s list. Goodwill of Akron hosting events throughout the week of May 5 and will be raffling off sessions with Younis.
They are raffling off the sessions on:
“It was a lot of fun for me because I love to do it and I love inspire others to get into it . And I love the reaction when they realize something they bought was just a dollar,” Younis said.
At the end of the day, it’s not about what’s in Younis’ closet or home. It’s about exposing the public to something she loves and to the thrift store scene in Akron.
“We’re actually very fortunate in Akron to have some of the best thrift stores. Of all the cities I’ve visited, all the flea markets I’ve visited, we’re by far the least expensive I have a hard time finding dresses and skirts for 2 dollars at other thrift stores and I can easily count on finding one in the Akron area.”
“I hope to inspire others to thrift shop or maybe try a recipe that I’ve made. As long as I’m inspiring one person, I’m happy.”