Turning Passion into Purpose

Akron Blogger Takes Her Thrifty Style to Boutiques

Dina Younis features a mix of vintage and newer finds on her pop-up Spice Rack at blue, a Goodwill Boutique. Photo credit: Dina Younis / Dina’s Days

In 2009, Dina Younis started her blog, Dina’s Days. She’s been thrifting since she was 13 and wanted “a place to share [her] appreciation for thrift stores, flea markets, and any place that requires digging through boxes to find a treasure.” The blog’s tagline is “Sharing the spice of life.” In addition to her full-time job as a communications professional, she is a freelance style and event consultant for thrift stores and the owner of Spice, a pop-up rack inside blue.

blue / A GOODWILL® BOUTIQUE / is a new concept to the company. The shopping experience is different compared to typical Goodwill stores. Dina says blue “features affordable, upscale designer items in a boutique-like setting. [It’s] great for people who love to bargain shop but don’t like to dig.”

Dina has been working with Goodwill Industries of Akron for a few years. After five years of engaging the public and helping “the community learn more about the basics and benefits of thrift shopping” on her blog, she contacted Goodwill. “I had been talking about these things on my blog… and felt it was time to develop relationships with likeminded organizations and groups.” After working on several projects together, such as an in-store fashion challenge, Goodwill Akron approached Dina with the idea of hosting a Spice Rack in the new blue boutique. She quickly told them yes.

The Spice Rack features a mix of vintage and newer items that appeal to the everyday person. Dina says the pop-up is “somewhat of an outgrowth of my blog, so you will definitely find many pieces that reflect my own personal style… In the summer, you can count on finding lots of bright colors, and plenty of cozy layering pieces in the winter. Oh, and sequins and embellishments year round. Always.”

For many years, Dina has sold vintage clothing at local flea markets and vintage sales and on her Etsy shop on and off. When searching for fashionable pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, church basements, vintage sales and beyond, she sometimes finds pieces she can’t let get away. Dina says “the Spice Rack allows me to celebrate these found treasures with others. It allows me to connect with people in my community. It brings me great joy to see the excitement on someone’s face when they score a great thrifted or vintage find from the Spice Rack.” She’s a strong believer in the sustainable fashion movement: “the cycle of donated clothing truly fascinates me.”

Instead of paying a rental fee, Goodwill Akron takes a percentage of sales from the Spice Rack. Dina prices all of her items, keeping them “as affordable and realistic as possible, because affordable fashion is at the root of [her] mission.” She earns a profit from the Spice Rack sales, and the percentage Goodwill Akron gets is used to support their mission to help people in the community prepare for, find and retain employment.

Dina has hosted several temporary pop-ups over the years. For example, every summer, she and Lauren Ward, owner of Noto Boutique host a vintage sale at Lauren’s downtown Akron shop. Spice Rack is her first permanent location, which, as for now, is an indefinite pop-up. In the future, Dina may expand Spice to other locations, but currently she’s focused on “[getting] this round right and [taking] away as much as [she] can from this experience.” The pop-up quickly went from a hobby to a micro-business, which allows her to learn something new every day. Because it isn’t her only project related to thrift shopping, Dina thinks “it’s important for [her] to pause and consider how the Spice Rack ties into the bigger picture.”

Dina’s passion for finding great deals at thrift stores and garage sales turned into something with a broader purpose. Through her blog, she shares tips on saving and styling, as well as recipes, DIY tutorials and makeup demos. After honing her skills for sharing on the blog, she’s made connections in her community to further her passion through events, personal shopping sessions, workshops and more. It will be exciting to see how the Spice Rack grows in the next few years.

Follow Dina on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat (DinasDays) and her blog Dina’s Days to get daily tips and inspiration. And search for the tag #iShoppedSpice for even more thrifty fashion inspo.

Photos courtesy of Dina Younis / Dina’s Days and @DinasDays on Instagram.

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