Hands down one of my new favorite moments of 2020 was attending the first ever Heart of Thrift Conference that took place October 16-18.
Co-hosts Sammy Davis of the THRIFT BABES Facebook group and Keren Duclosel of the Thrifting Atlanta Facebook group pulled off an amazing 3 day, virtual conference where over 150 attendees gathered (safely) together online to celebrate secondhand fashion. It was truly history in the making!
I was hesitant to purchase a ticket because of my unpredictable health situation but Sammy reached out and offered to comp my ticket in exchange for writing about my experience on this blog. How sweet is that?!
It was really an awesome weekend and I’m excited to share it with you.
In no particular order, here are the top moments from the Heart of Thrift Conference 2020!
Thrifters Anonymous as The Keynote Speakers
Definitely one of the highlights came when the keynote speakers, Thrifters Anonymous (aka Shana & Edwina), delivered an incredibly touching message about their thrifting journey.
You might recognize these thrifting legends from the Thrifters Anonymous YouTube channel, as stars on the A&E show Storage Wars, or from any number of their other influential online platforms.
I wasn’t expecting them to get so deep and personal but they really went there. The entire presentation was executed perfectly! It felt like I was sitting one-on-one with them, just soaking up their knowledge.
What I took away from their talk was that you never know who you’re inspiring, sometimes you have to live someone else’s dream to figure out your own dream, and it’s good to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The Variety of Live Sessions
Sammy & Keren put a lot of thought into each of the presentations and live videos. This made for a diverse line-up for of interesting guests and learning experiences for anyone from a novice upcycler to an expert reseller. All areas of thrift were covered!
I personally hopped on live to learn more about thrifting trends with image consultant Raquel Gordian, mixing up my closet with personal stylist Melodie Stewart, and how to be a better thrift influencer from a group of pros.
I left each session knowing a little more than I did before. (Thanks for showing me how to wear a blazer backwards, Melodie!)
Commentary From The Thrifting Diva aka Ayana
Community was everything at this conference and I felt like no one brought us together better than Ayana.
She was the hype girl behind every live video, supported everyone’s content, and even hosted her own session on how to DIY furniture. Her ability to make everyone feel welcome and included was definitely noticed!
The Style Wars Judges
I was really looking forward to the Style Wars competition on Friday night and it did not disappoint. The competitors came to slay! (Still trying to figure out how to mix hues like Nastassja did with her colored leather look.)
However, my favorite part was actually the energy from the judges!
The Style Wars were judged by LaVee of Thrift Therapy, Derrick Johnson of Thrifted Gent, and Chrissy Britt of Blazin’ Vintage. The combination of these personalities made for a very entertaining evening! I said what I said.
Tara’s Reaction To Winning An Award
The conference ended with a big award show honoring influencers, small businesses, and even a special “Heart of Thrift Spirit” award. Everyone came dressed to the nines and wore their best thrifted frocks!
The most amusing part came at the end when when the Heart of Thrift Spirit award was presented to a member of the thrifting community who, as you might have guessed, embodied the thrift spirit.
It was received by Tara McHenry who frantically had to hop on to the live video, with a few bumps along the way. She made up for the technical difficulties with an over-the-top acceptance speech complete with her own tiara!
Shana & Edwina Selling Their Closet
The gals of Thrifters Anonymous selling off their private vintage collection for the first time ever was a big draw to this whole weekend!
I wasn’t fast enough to snag anything but I had fun watching their energy and enthusiasm for the pieces they were letting go. I also wanted to steal the outfits they wore while hosting it!
The Inclusivity & Accessibility Of The Conference
One thing I haven’t really mentioned is where this conference took place and how it operated.
After purchasing tickets (which included single day or weekend passes), attendees were initiated into a private Facebook group. From there, event pages were set-up so we could get reminders of each session, we were encouraged to start conversations on the Facebook wall (or start a live video on our own, as was done at the “after parties” each night), and the private group facilitated the main sessions (presented as live videos) so we were literally all on the same page.
This setup made it possible for thrifters all over the world to attend this conference. Not only did it eliminate travel fees, but I also found it super accommodating for someone like me that has issues with fatigue because I could watch the live sessions & interact on my own time, all from the comfort of my bed!
Plus, as a paying member, you’re granted access to replays of any sessions you might have missed. Win win win!
This was such an expertly coordinated conference with very few glitches along the way. (That’s technology for ya!)
You could really see all the time, effort, and love that Sammy & Keren put into it. When they host it again next year in 2021 (which we know they will!) I wouldn’t hesitate to get my name on the guest list. This conference would be a great fit for anyone who wants to connect with fellow thrifters, learn from a panel of experts, and show off your thrifted closet. (Which, to be honest, is much needed during this Covid-era!)
If you’d like to learn more about the conference and get updates, follow their page on Instagram!