Snag affordable gear at College Thrifts

By Cori Lohstroh, The ONEIL Center

Love the university gear, but not the university prices? College Thrifts is for you.

College student Patricia Garcia launched the online, peer-to-peer marketplace after spending her summers studying at institutions across the U.S., including UC Berkeley, MIT, University of Miami and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

“I really wanted to buy gear from the universities where I was spending my summer, but I didn’t want to pay $50 or $60 for a sweatshirt in the bookstore,” she says. “I hated walking into the bookstore knowing I couldn’t afford anything in it.”

She knew her situation wasn’t unique — with the rising costs of tuition, the average student can’t afford to pay the high prices for university apparel.

Through College Thrifts, students and alumni can buy, swap, and sell gently used college apparel. The organization strives to create a more inclusive and sustainable college culture while also promoting sustainability.

Entrepreneurship is a new venture for the engineering major at Florida International University in Miami.

“I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I’ve kind of delved into this world on my own,” she said.

Patricia found resources and information she needed to build her business structure, expand her social media presence and understand IP at Early Risers Academy, a free 10-week business bootcamp managed by Launch Dayton partner PARALLAX Advanced Research, that went virtual when COVID hit in March.

“Even with my business management minor, it’s not the same as hearing from people who are already in the industry and are entrepreneurs,” she said. “Early Risers Academy provided the terminology and foundation, and it was in the evening, so I could take classes during the day, then still hop on and participate to learn how to grow my own business.”

Patricia went on to win the pitch competition for her Early Risers Academy cohort, taking home $1K to invest in her startup. Since graduating Early Risers Academy, she has also been nationally selected as one of 20 Aussie Roo Crew Fellows.

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