When 25-year-old Elena Dunn-Barcelona couldn’t find an outfit that suited her perfectly, she took matters into her own hands.
“I came home after dropping out of college and felt really lost,” she shared, explaining that she left school after realizing she no longer wanted to pursue a degree in acting. classic vocal. “I felt really depressed because even though I can sing, I didn’t want to pursue that for the rest of my life. My mom sensed that I was depressed so she was taking me out to spend some quality time together and I started finding things where I would be like, okay, I love it. It doesn’t suit me, but someone’s gonna look explosive in there.
This is how his vintage shopping and resale businesses Mighty Thrift and Galaxy were born. In 2016, Dunn-Barcelona launched a virtual storefront on DePop, an e-commerce platform allowing users to sell and buy gently used clothing and accessories. Always a fashionista, her storefront grew over time, prompting her to launch pop-up stores in person through Depop’s IRL program. It was then that she realized the direction she wanted her brand to go.
“It was when I saw people coming up to me, picking up the clothes, getting excited about it, and then looking at the label to realize it couldn’t fit them, I realized I had to m ‘ensure my offerings were more inclusive,’ she shared.
She says she resells size XS-5XL clothes.
“The thrift store community doesn’t include sizing because cute plus-size vintage clothes are much harder to find,” she said in a statement. “It can be easy to find plus size vintage, but it always has an elastic band, a baby doll size and it’s never fitted.”
Although she enjoys the niche market after spending years participating in Depop IRL pop-ups and running her online store, she decided to find a full-time job in the nonprofit business sector. She stayed there for two years, and then the pandemic hit.
“While I was sheltering in place at home, I had a room full of inventory in my head,” she shared, explaining that she realized her real passion was vintage fashion. “It was always the thing that was going to come back. I had already built my website, so it was more like I finally had the time. I already had the inventory. So with that, I put that on and it felt like I hadn’t skipped a beat on Depop.
After leveraging her relationship with the brand, she said her shop took off again and it led her to grow. Now, she says she reaches hundreds of consumers daily.
This reach is inspiring because Dunn-Barcelona says the brand isn’t just about kitting others out with cute looks.
“I have this theory,” she explains. “The way people treat others is directly related to how they feel about themselves, isn’t it? Bullying. It’s all about you not liking yourself. And the clothes, I feel like, are part and parcel of how you get out of your house And so if everyone could feel, I don’t know, 15% better when they got out of their house, maybe he would be 10% to 15% more likely to be nicer to someone.