Three Colby alumni brought their vintage, secondhand pop-up shop, Twin Flame Closet, to the College community for one day only on Friday, Apr. 14. Driven by their love of fashion, thrifting, and collecting vintage pieces sustainably, Willow Grinnell `20, Charlie Gomprecht `20, and Isabel Collon `20 launched their pop-up in November 2022.
“[Gomprecht] and I are fashion girlies, but we are thrifters and we would buy things that we would want to try on and then we ended up having this pile of clothes, each of us that we were like, ‘We love this and think it’s so cool, but it’s not our style.’ Our friends were coming to us for styling advice, and we would have the perfect piece for [them]. Then we were like, we should turn this into something bigger,” Grinnell said.
In order to encourage others to consider the environmental aspects of purchasing clothing as well as prioritizing sustainability, Twin Flame Closet focuses on demonstrating the feasibility of shopping secondhand while still finding current trends.
“We really want to highlight the sustainability aspect of secondhand shopping and thrifting. There is so much clothing that already exists and so we should be buying that instead of buying new things…We needed to show people that they can do this too, and be good at it,” Collon said.
To promote accessibility and cater to people looking for affordable, trendy clothing, Twin Flame has had success coming to colleges. By bringing their business to campuses, students are able to prioritize shopping sustainably.
“We have popped up at Bowdoin and Colby as colleges are really great, because college kids do not have a lot of time and our prices are pretty affordable. It is a lot better than ordering Shein to your dorm room. It is our goal to avoid that, and [instead] find whatever is trending and provide that to people secondhand,” Grinnell said.
In curating different collections and keeping up with the trends, Grinnell and Gomprecht pull from both their closets, receive clothing donations from friends, and purchase from a variety of secondhand stores.
“We are sourcing from a lot of different places right now. A bunch of our friends will give us clothes they want to get rid of. A lot of it is from mine and Grinnell’s closet that we bought vintage or bought on Poshmark that just did not work for us, but we know it is an amazing piece that we want to go to a good home. We do Goodwill and have tried the bins,” Gomprecht said.
During their time at the College, all three alumni studied in different fields. While Grinnell majored in environmental policy, Collon was an English creative writing and studio art photography double major. Gomprecht was also a studio art major with an education and Chinese minor. With a range of skills acquired in and out of the classroom at the College, they have all brought different perspectives to their business.
“[Through] my job with SPB, I was in charge of a lot of moving parts and planning events and also just being connected to how you plan events, and know who to email. Knowing this kind of stuff set me up a little bit to know how and where to start,” Gomprecht said.
In starting this business, they have each found their own role and way to contribute their ideas in collaboration with one another. While they all have additional full-time jobs, sharing the work between the three of them makes it manageable and has allowed this project to succeed.
“We each have a role. I manage social media and do a lot of curating. Gomprecht also does a lot of curating, but as three good friends and business partners, we are trying to find a way that everyone can have their niche and feel like they’re doing what they want to do,” Grinnell said.
While Grinnell and Gomprecht curate the collections, Collon focuses more on what goes on behind the scenes.
“I do not really help with the curating of collections, [besides] sometimes throwing in some of my own clothing that I am trying to get rid of. But mostly, I help with outreach — reaching out to different places where we want to pop up, forming relationships there, and doing emailing and Instagram contacting. Gomprecht and Grinnell have a lot of really awesome ideas and I am really good at helping them execute and get them done,” Colon said. “[Additionally,] I do some content creation, taking pictures of clothing as a way of promoting Twin Flame. We have hosted a couple events and I have taken pictures then turned it into something we can present to the world.”
This side job combines their passions for thrifting with the rewarding experience of seeing others walk away with new pieces that were bought sustainably.
“It is so fun to see people excited about a skirt that I love but it does not fit me or is not my style. To see someone else pull that and put it on, and feel so good about themselves in a piece of clothing that we picked, is so exciting,” Grinnell said.
While Twin Flame Closet has only been popping up since November, they have all learned a lot about running a business as well as defined areas where they can improve in the future.
“We have definitely learned that we have a really good start but there is still so much that we need to do and change. Everything from the racks and hangers and what kind of quality that needs to be to make the most streamlined shopping experience possible. And, then size inclusivity because we started sourcing from our own closets, we need to have more sizes that are not just for our bodies,” Collon said.
After graduating in 2020 and starting their full-time jobs, working on a project that they are passionate about has allowed them to continue fostering their creativity and sustainability.
“I think graduating college, not even the graduation part, but the part right after, is such a confusing time. You have to remember to look for your passions in your free time. I have a job that I enjoy, I am a teacher full time, but this is something that scratches my creative itch,” Gomprecht said. “I feel like everyone has something that they want to spend their free time doing that doesn’t feel like a job.”
~ Annie Goldstein`26