Exponential growth

Senior grows her business since her sophomore year

Aubreyah Green hurried into the venue, her boyfriend by her side with boxes of clothes, carts and a table. They filled in her assigned booth location. The preparation took forever with overflowing cases of clothes waiting to be set out. It was a big day and a big market.

The other businesses lined the rest of the venue, and hundreds of customers excited to purchase flooded in. It hit her: the overwhelming environment, the stress, the hours of work.

The end of the day was a different story though. She turned to her boyfriend, who she earlier expressed her anxiousness to, in a relieved state of mind. It was over, and she couldn’t have been happier throughout the sale.

“Fashion is an art. I love finding people what they love, what they will feel comfortable in and what they will feel confident in,” Green said. “Me, focusing on that rather than ‘Oh, let’s make a few quick bucks!’ really has helped me grow. My self growth has helped me grow.”

An expressive sophomore transformed her love for vintage and retro clothing into Buggin Bargain, and now, as a senior, she has turned it into a booming business.

Buggin Bargain is a recycled vintage shop that sells items from a variety of decades, specifically the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. It is the perfect outlet to combine her love for business and marketing with her love for fashion. 

The idea for Buggin Bargain wasn’t random. Fashion has always been a huge part of Green’s life. When she was a little girl growing up in Fountain Square, her admiration for the aesthetics of clothing was encouraged. She swooned at the sight of thrift stores.

She would always beg her mother to take her to the thrift store, and when allowed, she would spend hours at a time soaking it all in. 

The clothes. The people. The environment. Everything. She was in awe of it all.

A major idea behind the creation of Buggin Bargain was something she already been doing: sell old clothes she did not want.

If she did that anyways, why not make a business out of it?

Being surrounded by old photos of her mother from the ‘90s only contributed to her decision to create the business. After all, it was iconic outfits from the ‘80s and ‘90s that inspired and influenced the shop.

Its selection consists of clothes such as crewnecks and sweatshirts as well as accessories like bags and purses. Green is experimenting with branching out into different eras and exploring fashion of another time since her merchandise diversity used to be limited.

“Now I feel like (my business) is my own thing,” Green said.

Although most might believe she just picks up clothes she finds at a local Goodwill, Green’s unique pieces of clothing come from a variety of locations. Thrift stores across town, the Salvation Army, eBay, shops out of state, summer yard sales, pieces given to her through trading within the thrifting community, and even her hidden gem, the Facebook Marketplace, are where she finds what will make up her shop.

“I’ve really branched out,” Green said, when talking about sources of clothes. “And I am trying to do different things.”

In searching for pieces, Green shows determination and passion for her business.

Browsing through aisles and searching for the perfect pieces for good prices take up more time than one would think. She takes four to five hours out of multiple days of the week working to restock when needed.

Buggin Bargain’s primary shop is Green’s professional Instagram page. 

However, the store wasn’t always this way. It started out as more of a resell “thrift” store that had ‘90s fashions and the typical sweatshirts available for purchase. Buggin Bargain was brought to life the summer before Green’s sophomore year, July 2019, but the business really started to take off in August of that year. 

Starting out on Etsy, she soon realized that Instagram was the best thing for her business. It was the only way to reach her niche target audience, and then her business expanded in-person.

When it reached SHS, the store’s popularity skyrocketed. 

“I literally would carry around a duffel bag … to every class and people would just buy stuff,” Green said.

Her previous school, Central Christian Academy, did not give Green the fashion freedom she wanted. 

“The fashion was very basic, and plus we had a uniform, a strict uniform, so no one could really show their style,” Green said. “When they did, it was very, very plain. I remember when I could accessorize, I would accessorize as much as possible.”

After transferring from her former school to SHS, she noticed that her outfits stood out. Students would stop her in the hallway to fawn over her articles of clothing and continually ask her where she got them from.

“There was definitely a lot more diversity in outfits,” Green said. “There was a big, big difference, but I always felt like my outfits were a lot different.”

Buggin Bargain was continuing to expand and grow more successful every day, but, like many small businesses at the time, it took a hit in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

After that, the business came to a pause but never ended. Green hardly posted photos of new items to her social media page or participated in any markets or sales.

“Sometimes, I would post something to make a quick buck, but I wasn’t doing advertising,” Green said. “My mental health kind of declined and … I was just kind of discovering what I liked or who I was.”

However, in May 2021, she got back into the business. Buggin Bargain was up and running again. She was right back where she left off and it grew exponentially. 

But, it couldn’t have been done without some help from her boyfriend, Center Grove senior Andrew Curtis.

Along with being a vital person in bringing Buggin Bargain back, he has also continued to assist his girlfriend with important tasks in her business.

“I help her reach out to customers and different people,” Curtis said, “and even advertise the business around at my school by passing around business cards.”

A repeat customer from Center Grove, junior Olivia Crickmore, has purchased multiple shirts and sweatshirts after finding Green’s business and has also noticed growth occurring.

“Looking back at her old posts, I have most definitely seen growth in her business,” Crickmore said. “She is doing more than just selling on Instagram, and it’s really cool to see that.”

As the Buggin Bargain buzz has spread to local schools, it has also expanded far beyond that, both due to her growing presence on multiple social media platforms.

The business has grown in popularity out of school, but Green has also shipped orders to customers in Hawaii, Colorado, Massachusetts and California. It has even grown onto a worldwide scale with international accounts contacting her. She also has a large following of fans in England but does not sell to them.

She believes that a reason her business has become so popular in communities other than her own is because of her flexibility and customer service.

Junior Dariely Raudales, a customer who has been buying since the start of Buggin Bargain, has noticed improvements in Green’s business.

“I have seen a lot of growth,” Raudales said. “More people have become more aware of her account and started buying from her. She’s doing great.”

Now, instead of just online sales through her social media, Green says she travels to different parts of Indiana and even out of state to attend and sell at thrift-cons, conventions and bigger sales.

Booths at market and sale venues have been a relatively new part of the business for Green.

Her first was on Aug. 8 for Vintage Collective, which held a vintage flea market for music and clothing vendors in Boggstown, Ind. It was a whole new experience, a step-up from her previous endeavors.

“It was so cool,” Green said. “Like nothing I had ever done before.”

She has noticed that Indiana is a very “necessities only” state in terms of clothing. She hopes to share her fondness for unique clothes with others as her store grows.

Green hopes to bring Buggin Bargain into her future with a running website, and hopefully, a shop open in her own garage.

She has even considered bringing in models to take the next step with her business. Green also plans to bring in a professional photographer to shoot and a graphic designer to revamp her logo.

However, she says Buggin Bargain may not be continued into the future, but the experience has opened her eyes to a multitude of new opportunities.

“This has inspired me to learn to sew.” Green said. “I want to make my own clothes, and it has just inspired me to think about fashion school. It has inspired me to move to New York with my family. This has inspired me to start a modeling career.”

Taking another route, the store has even brought her to consider business school. She may also take Buggin Bargain even further, turning it into a permanent shop or into a whole different fashion business.

Green is uncertain of what her exact plan for the future is, but regardless of what she chooses to do, Buggin Bargain has been a huge player in that decision. It would not have been possible without her personal growth.

“People don’t realize a small little change can really make you and things grow,” Green said. “Just taking chances, that is what made me grow so much.”