As the pandemic disrupted the lives of students around the world, Sophie Riegel, now 23, turned her newfound free time into a thriving business. As CNBC reports, her path went from rummaging through her own childhood bedroom to a not-entirely controversial second-hand clothing trade, which earned her an additional six-figure income.

Covid brought idea

In 2020, during his first semester at Duke University in North Carolina, COVID-19 forced Riegel, like many others, into a digital learning environment. Her isolation and boredom led her to sell unused clothes and other items from her childhood bedroom online.

“I probably sold one thing a week for the first few months,” Riegel told CNBC. The humble beginning with earnings of around $200 expanded quickly when he began browsing local thrift stores.

Sophie Riegel's Success Model: Buy for a Dollar, Sell for Ten

He soon found a source of inexpensive fashion in places like Durham and Chapel Hill, which he resold for a profit. By purchasing items for $1 and selling them for up to $10, he quickly increased his daily sales to $50. Her part-time job, which she created herself and which accompanied her while studying psychology, ultimately earned her almost 115,000 euros.

Today, after graduating, Riegel sells an average of ten items a day and earns between 350 and 450 euros a day. She dedicates 25 hours a week to her sales business, in addition to her main activities as an author, speaker and life coach.

The second-hand market puts pressure on the weak: prices are rising more and more

However, Riegel's resale of used goods also attracts critical attention. As The Borgen Project reports, thrift stores once founded by low-income and charities are undergoing a transformation. Precisely as part of the maximalist fashion trend and due to the influence of social networks and influencer culture, prices on the second-hand market are constantly increasing.

In addition to rising inflation, price increases in second-hand stores are attributed, among other things, to resellers like Sophie Riegel. Although some people benefit from popular thrift store deals, they usually can no longer serve their original purpose.


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