Secondhander Spotlight: Tom and Monica in NYC

letgo | Feb 24, 2020

Local secondhanding introduces you to a unique community of buyers and sellers right in your neighborhood, and we love sharing their perspectives!

In our last edition of Secondhander Spotlight, we introduced a pair of passionate upcyclers with a knack for bringing pieces back to life. Today, we’re talking to a couple with a serious talent for vintage-style decor using secondhand finds - these two have furnished about 90% of their home using letgo!

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Let’s get to know Tom and Monica!

Tom and Monica

New York City

How did you get started secondhanding on letgo?

Tom: When we first moved into our apartment, we wanted to furnish it and make it a practical space relatively quickly, but we were looking at prices for retail value and they didn’t really fit our budget. But once we started looking at letgo and seeing what’s out there, you say, Here’s another great deal, and another, and another, and they’re all close by. You just hop on a subway or you go a few streets over and it’s there. It’s an adventure, but it’s a fun one!

Monica: I think part of it too is that we love vintage things and old school things, and being able to use an app where we can find really unique old pieces, whether it’s paintings, or old books, or whatever is near us that we can get for a good price that really enhances the look of our home, and is also sustainable! We definitely care about the environment, and that’s a huge part of this.

Do you have a favorite find?

T: Someone posted this wooden duck. It was $5, it was two avenues away, and I was like, I’m going to get this duck. And it’s just this little piece of decor but it really brought things together!

M: My dad’s a carpenter, so he built us this beautiful wooden bookshelf. And we were like, we don’t have any books for this! So I was looking on the app and it turns out there’s this lady who lives only an avenue from us, she had just gotten married and the centerpieces on her wedding tables were these beautiful vintage books from all over the world. Everything from a 1960s travel book from Italy to really cool art books, books in all different colors that form a kind of rainbow, and so I bought them and they’re on the bookshelf now!

T: Along with the wood duck.

M: And the duck!

You’ve mentioned that about 90% of your apartment was furnished with letgo finds. What inspires you to actually go out and secondhand instead of just buying new?

M: For me, the sustainability aspect is really important. You can find something that is beautiful, that maybe has a little bit of wear and tear to it, but has a story, and significance. You’re not just buying something new and contributing to, you know, fast fashion or whatever it is - you’re sourcing something that’s really cool, and you’re doing it locally.

T: We don’t just want some object, we want something that we’re actually going to keep, stuff that can go next to our family heirlooms, and the things we find have a lot of value in that way. Keeping things out of the landfill, like books, for instance, and just finding another use for them, and repurposing them - that’s a huge part of it.

M: Just think about those books we have on our shelf right now. They started out as books that someone would just buy and read, and they ended up being someone’s wedding centerpieces, and now they’re sitting on our shelf!

This sounds like the circular economy!

The two of us are really passionate about the environment in general, but also taking care of our community, and now that we’re living in the city, I think that we’re also trying to get involved locally. It’s important to us to live in a community that cares about these issues, and where we’re not seeing a lot of things being dumped into landfills, but they’re being given a third or a fourth life.

Got any secondhanding tips?

M: I would say, go in with an open mind. Sometimes you go in not knowing what you want, but you browse and it shows you what you want.

Open the app regularly and check, because you’re gonna find new things all the time. And that’s what makes it really exciting! So we like to check once a week or so and see what’s going on. If you miss a couple of weeks, those are goods that someone else is grabbing before you.

T: Also, remember that there’s wiggle room if there’s something that seems like it might be out of your budget. You can work with the seller and offer them something to help figure it out. If you can say, Hey, I can come get this tonight after work, here’s what I can offer you cash in hand, I’ll come to your neighborhood, that goes a long way. And bundling, too.

M: We’ve done that! Where there was maybe one thing that was out of the budget that we wanted to spend on it, but there were several other items that this person also had they had to get rid of because they were moving, so we made an offer for a bundle. You always want to negotiate in a way that respects the seller.

Thanks again to Tom and Monica for sharing your story!

Want more vintage charm? Keep up with these two - and their latest travel recommendations - on Instagram and their blog!

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