Guest Curation: Alison Hop's Thrifted Delights and Timeless Finds

Blog Written by AuctionNinja Staff
Written by: AuctionNinja Staff
July 24, 2023 Updated 06:07 AM
July 24, 2023 Updated 06:07 AM

Meet Alison, a vintage and secondhand enthusiast from Marblehead, MA! With a background in the apparel and fashion industry, she's the Director of Digital Merchandising at J.Jill, specializing in eCommerce and digital experiences.

Growing up in a thrifty family, secondhand shopping has always been second nature to Alison. Her fascination with all things history and antiques further fueled her passion for becoming the vintage & secondhand enthusiast she is today.

In 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, Alison found solace in starting a TikTok account (@alicatthrifts) as a creative outlet. Her content revolves around thrifting, estate sales, and secondhand shopping, sharing valuable tips and tricks for restoring or upcycling thrifted items.

"It's been such an amazing way to learn from and be inspired by other creators and has further reinforced my interest in being more intentional and sustainable with my shopping habits. I've gone on countless adventures and learned various skills, from restoring vintage Coach bags to turning vintage afghan blankets into cardigans. Engaging with this community of endlessly creative individuals has been truly inspiring," shared Alison.

With over 93,000 followers and more than 4 million views on TikTok, Alison's captivating journey through thrifting and estate sales has resonated with many.

We're delighted to have Alison as our guest curator this week, sharing her handpicked selection of favorite secondhand pieces from our online auctions. Her choices reflect her impeccable taste and dedication to finding unique and sustainable items. Let's dive into her curated collection and learn more about her passion for vintage and secondhand treasures.

Alison’s AuctionNinja Picks


Click Here to Explore Alison's Picks


Q&A with Alison

What got you interested in secondhand, vintage and antique items?  

Growing up, yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores were a regular part of my life, thanks to my mom's love for the thrifty hunt. From furniture to school clothes, the majority of things in our house were purchased secondhand. It was a frugal way of living, especially since my parents were raising my two sisters and me on a single income. But beyond that, my mom had a knack for spotting unique and valuable decor items like pottery, ceramics, and lamps. When eBay launched in the late 90s, she decided to start an account, and the rest, as they say, is history - she's sold over 11,000 items over the years.

Despite growing up in a household that embraced secondhand shopping, I had a phase during my teen years when I shied away from it. I felt a bit resentful that my parents wouldn't let me shop at the peak Y2K stores like many of my peers. However, everything changed after I graduated college and moved into my first apartment. Slowly but surely, I found my way back to the thrifting world and discovered my unique style of secondhand shopping.

Now, with almost a decade of experience in the corporate side of the fashion apparel industry, I've become acutely aware of the issue of overproduction. I love experimenting with my personal style, from my wardrobe to how I decorate my house. The best part is that I can do it sustainably, without over-consuming by constantly buying new items.

Being a history fan, there's something incredibly special about finding pieces from certain brands or designers that might have otherwise been lost to a landfill. I'm even fascinated by the stories behind the items, feeling like they carry the essence of their previous owners.

Whether shopping in person or online, secondhand shopping always feels like a treasure hunt to me. Each item has its own story, waiting to be discovered and cherished. It's not just about buying something; it's about the joy of finding something truly unique and meaningful. 



What are the one or two things that you always find yourself bidding on/looking for when shopping secondhand?   

When I go shopping, my first stop is always the clothing and handbag section. I have my favorite brands and designers that I keep an eye out for, but I'm also on the lookout for items made from natural fibers like 100% linen, silk, and cotton.

Lately, I've been more focused on finding wardrobe staples and classic pieces that I know I'll wear over and over again, rather than just going for the trendiest styles on the rack.

Since I moved to Marblehead, MA a little over a year ago, I've fallen head over heels for the classic coastal New England aesthetic. It's so enchanting and inspiring, and I love incorporating that vibe into my home decor. I'm always on the hunt for original artwork, classic blue & white china, and stackable coffee table books. Anything with a nautical or beach theme catches my eye, but I prefer pieces that are subtle and not too over-the-top or cheesy.



What's your absolute favorite item ever purchased at an estate sale or online auction?  

This is such a hard question to answer! Let me tell you about this incredible estate sale I once went to. The woman who lived there was such a talented artist, and her home was like a magical museum, filled with treasures!

I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted a pair of lime green vintage Celine loafers and a matching crossbody bag. Turns out, she had bought them in Paris way back in the early 1970s! And the best part? She had kept them in almost pristine condition all these years. It made them even more special knowing their history.

At the same sale I also bought an almost floor-length denim trench coat where she had hand-painted all kinds of details including a huge portrait of a 1920's flapper on the back!. IIt's easily one of my most cherished possessions.

Any tips or advice for online auction or estate sale newbies?  

A lot of people will tell you to go in with a plan - like going in with a specific item or type of item in mind. My advice goes totally against that - I think it's great to have things in mind that are at the top of your wishlist, but I've found that more than anything you just have to trust your gut and listen to your instincts. 

Go into it totally open-minded, and just see what you naturally gravitate towards. You might discover you actually love something that you hadn't thought of before! I do try to ascribe to the "if it isn't a hell yes, then it's a no" philosophy when estate sale shopping. 

Don't try to talk yourself into something just because it's a good deal, or because you think it might come in handy someday. If you can't see yourself using and loving it right away, it's probably not the right thing for you. The more you practice this, the more you'll cherish the things you do buy. 

Also, check frequently! Sales come and go every single day. It can be easy to miss out on something amazing if you aren't keeping an eye on what's happening. 

Getting started with secondhand shopping online before venturing out to in person sales is also a great way to dip your toes in the water and get a feel for it. I guarantee you'll be hooked in no time. Aside from that, just jump right in and enjoy the learning process! 


More about Alison:

Alison is currently living with her partner Daniel and their three cats (Zoie, Pigeon, & Marz). 

“Before moving to MA, I lived in New York City where I worked for brands like J.McLaughlin, Michael Kors, and David Yurman. My career path was definitely not an accident; From a young age, I've been captivated by how the things we wear and the items we surround ourselves with contribute to shaping our individual identities. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about what is important to me when I'm shopping, it was a natural extension to pursue a career where I am always seeking out new insights into how and why customers connect with a brand, all with the goal of making their online shopping experiences better”  shared Alison.

Despite her best efforts over the years to be a minimalist, Alison has come to accept her personal style as "curated maximalism." “I love having a collection of interesting and unique pieces, and am constantly rearranging everything in my house.” 

She loves living in coastal New England, and draws a lot of her secondhand shopping inspiration from the architecture and landscape in the area. Plus, New England has the best estate sales! Aside from secondhand shopping, she enjoys other crafty things like beading, making her own jewelry and cross-stitching, and is an avid sea glass collector.


Ready to locate an estate sale company or explore online estate auctions? Visit AuctionNinja.com. If you're new to online estate auctions, try it risk-free by sigining up here.

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