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The land of Milk + Honey: Miami students’ sustainable side hustle

From black velvet polka dot tops to cream sweaters and oversized cardigans, Milk + Honey’s Instagram feed is full to the brim with trendy clothing options. 

This thrift store’s Instagram-friendly aesthetic was born last summer as a side hustle, created by co-owners Jaque Owens and Hailey Thies — both Miami University students. 

Owens and Thies have merged the trendiness of thrift shopping with the convenience of the internet. They advertise articles of clothing on their Instagram page, allowing customers to scroll from post to post, pursuing pieces that catch their eyes.

“It’s been a really nice creative journey and a creative outlet for both of us,” said Thies.

Owens works on the logistics side of the business while Thies creates content for Milk + Honey.

The two work together to coordinate photoshoots, manage content, ship orders and make sure every customer has a great experience.

Owens and Thies met in high school during their junior year and found a common interest in thrift shopping. They shopped together every weekend after that. Then, at the the beginning of last semester, they wanted to cultivate their shared passion into something more.

They wanted to focus their brand on mindful consumption and  sustainable fashion, while also making thrifting more appealing for younger generations.

Hannah Valdez, a junior at Miami University, said she appreciates Milk + Honey’s mission to upcycle and reduce waste. 

“I thought it was a well-done business, because when you look at what they’re doing with fashion, they’re just trying to upcycle thrifted items that already exist,” Valdez said. “They’re making it look new, fun, exciting and trendy. I think that’s a really cool marketing strategy.” 

Milk + Honey follows various Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards for inspiration. 

“We didn’t feel like there were a lot of clothing options in Oxford, especially if you want to be sustainable,” Thies said.

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Milk + Honey is hustling through the seasons to find, create and promote new inventory.

Over the weekends, the co-owners continue their tradition and go to local thrift stores in the Columbus area to select items that fit current trends. They determine the listing price range based on the item quality.

Once a new item is posted, a bidding process begins. Anyone has the opportunity to bid on the items from 12 p.m.-9 p.m.  

The highest bidding rate wins the item, and 10 percent of each purchase’s proceeds go to a different charity each month.

After the bidding process is over, the winner of the item has 24 hours to respond and complete the payment process.  

Junior Camdyn Yoder has been a Milk + Honey customer since its inception. 

“I really like how ethical it is and just buying second hand is a lot better than buying from mainstream sources,” Yoder said.

Each package is personalized for the customer, with the option to ship it or pick it up in the Oxford area.

As their business continues to grow, Milk + Honey’s hopes to create a new website in the near future. 

Check out their Instagram at @milkandhoney_oxford.