We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina Lee Feng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina Lee, how does your business help the community?
I’ve always been one of those people who tries to be environmentally friendly and lives sustainably. I borrow camping equipment and power tools when I can and try to do my part to reduce my personal carbon footprint. The aim of Upcycle and Thrift is to fix and clean preloved items to use and resell instead of letting them go to the landfill. I think it’s important to normalize buying second hand and for people to stop heading straight to big box stores. Much of what you need can be found through your neighbors at yard sales and thrift stores. I also reuse boxes and mailers when shipping and try to use compostable bags when possible. I truly believe every little effort counts.
What should our readers know about your business?
My current passion project is Upcycle and Thrift which is a small business I started a year ago right before the pandemic hit. I’ve dabbled in selling my handmade creations and in reselling my personal goods for years so when I needed to something to occupy my time I put more hours into and it really took off. I think what sets me apart is that I stay true to myself and am not trying to compete with or copy anyone. There is longevity in authenticity. Also , I’m not in it for the money so my price points are fair and I genuinely enjoy finding cool vintage items or repurposing items and giving them a new life in ways they weren’t originally intended. For example I recently took one of those old wooden spoon racks and used some old leather cord to make a charging station. Although it’s a lot of work I would say it’s an easy business to get into because you don’t need any money for start up costs. You can sell your personal stuff or find free stuff online. (Side note – I also run a small picnic basket company named Picnicbombers where you can gift a friend a picnic delivered to their doorstep).
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I visit any city the 4 things I Google are free activities , local trails, historic buildings and visiting art exhibits so I’d take the same approach here in Denver. My top free activities would be to drive up to lookout mountain and Red rocks , walk around RiNo and enjoy the outdoor art and check out as many historic buildings as possible. Denver is a brunch town so I’d probably take them to Sassafras or Four Friends then for dinner it’s definitely be Asian food at Hop Alley or Uncle.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My biggest shoutout goes to my dad who passed in 2019. He was a doctor, a writer , a professor and an entrepreneur. In life he succeeded at everything he tried his hand at and really inspired us to be go getters. After he passed my brother , sister and I realized life is short and all 3 of us are now business owners in pursuit of a fulfilling yet flexible life. Other influences I’d give credit to are my former boss Richard Castro who is a retired army vet. He showed me that you can be ambitious but still be kind and held me accountable to find balance. Lastly I give kudos to the podcast “Side Hustle School” by Chris Gillebeau. He highlights hundreds of regular people who turned their passion or hobby into a profitable side hustle. Check it out !
Other: Booth #1017 Homestead Antique Mall 6530 Wadsworth Blvd Arvada, Co 80033