Penn State Senior Bringing Vintage Back In Style With Successful Thrifting Business

Looking for vintage Penn State gear at an affordable price?

Penn State senior Emma Sirken, who owns the thrifting account @emmthrifts on Instagram, can be found selling vintage Penn State clothes ranging from t-shirts to crew necks at pop-up events all over downtown State College.

Courtesy of Emma Sirken

Sirken first got into the fashion industry when she was in high school and initially planned to go to school for photojournalism and writing. However, she decided to change career paths and currently studies psychology here at Penn State.

Sirken would sell clothes to close friends or people she thought would be interested through a private Snapchat story, even before she started her thrifting account. After she noticed a huge spike in interest, she decided to create an Instagram account dedicated to selling vintage clothes in the summer of 2021.

“During COVID, I got really into online shopping, and Instagram has a really good platform to spread your small business,” Sirken said. “COVID made it easy to really get into it and learn a bunch about small businesses that other people had. I was able to expand my business and still sell a lot through Instagram Lives from other people. I made my way through making connections with other small businesses, and I eventually worked my way up to becoming one of the businesses that people actually reach out to, which is pretty cool.”

When things started to open up again, Sirken was able to go to stores like Goodwill to find vintage clothes, which made the process of running her business much easier.

Once she got to school, Sirken started selling clothes through Instagram Lives and took her account more seriously. She sold vintage Penn State crew necks at her first State College pop-up, and a two-hour line formed before the event even began.

After the success of the pop-up, Sirken knew she wanted to host and coordinate pop-ups with other local small businesses to give them exposure as well.

From there, she decided to do a pop-up at The Maxxen, which reached out to her after seeing the success and turnout of her first clothing drop.

“Preparation for pop-ups is a lot,” Sirken said. “I make flyers that grab people’s attention and promote my pop-ups everywhere I promoted all around The Maxxen and all around the buildings here at school, as well as posting on my platform. I also make sure to price everything days before so I have enough time to count my inventory and make sure I have all the right hangers, supplies, and [the] right racks.”

In addition to her pop-ups, Sirken frequently posts merchandise drops on her Instagram account through Lives and Stories.

Sirken has several pop-ups planned for the spring semester, including another at The Maxxen during Blue-White Weekend and one at Urban Outfitters. She also plans to do a huge event at the end of the semester with everyone who has reached out to her as part of a final goodbye to Penn State.

To find out when her next pop-ups and merchandise drop, check out @emmthrifts on Instagram.

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your tips, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @evan.halfen or email: [email protected]

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