Innovative entrepreneur helps online thrift shops expand their reach with affordable shipping options

A woman in a white shirt looking up at a computer screen.
Originally from Germany, Valeria Brenner turned her love for thrifted clothes into a shipping label business that supports online second hand apparel shops. She runs her business out of her office inside of Studio 225, the Student Center for Entrepreneurship at UGA (Marlon Hyde/WABE)

In the underbelly of the Student Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia, Valeria Brenner sits behind a desk with her laptop, a monitor, and a huge dry-erase board on the wall.

“Imagine a small white box with no windows except out to the hall. I do call it a bit of a dungeon,” said Brenner. 

She runs her business, Thryft Ship, here. Brenner started the online platform in March 2021. It helps second-hand apparel businesses manage orders and ship them nationwide with affordable shipping labels. 

It launched at a time when shipping was reaching new heights in the early pandemic. But, this wasn’t what she initially set out to do. 

“I started as a thrifting account, um, I would sew and upcycle a lot of pieces, meaning like, I would fix them up or turn them into something new,” said Brenner. 

Originally from Germany, Brenner learned how to sew as a kid. Her sewing machine sits in the back corner of the office. It was like a game where Brenner would venture through clothes and fabrics at thrift shops to build her outfits.

A woman is turning towards her sewing machine in the back right corner of her corner desk.
Valeria Brenner says that through Thryft Ship, she has found many other second hand apparel lovers like herself. She still uses the sewing machine in her office to fix clothes for friends. (Marlon Hyde/WABE)

For some, like Brenner, fashion is timeless, which means some clothes never go out of style.

“My main rules for fashion is either have it be thrifted or have it be a small business,” said Brenner. 

She points to her outfit, starting with her white button-down top and blue jeans.

“So this is from a small boutique here called Epiphanies. This is also from Epiphanies. The shoes were thrifted. And then the socks my grandma bought me. So that counts,” said Brenner. 

“I meet so many cool women who are typically running their own small businesses, and everything in me just wants to keep growing it.”

Valeria Brenner, founder of Thryft Ship

After 3 years of fixing, selling, and sending clothes, she realized shipping was the biggest pain of the whole operation. 

“It used to take about two hours for every ten packages. Now, with Thryft Ship, it takes 30 minutes,” said Brenner. 

A web page that details how Thyft Ship, an online business that helps Instagram sellers ship clothes .
Valeria Brenner’s business has assisted over 1,700 companies ship more than 100,000 packages across the U.S. (Courtesy of Thryft Ship)

Brenner says her business allows her to provide support and affordable shipping labels to the entrepreneurs she depends on. So far, she says some 1,700 companies have shipped more than 100,000 packages across the U.S.

“I meet so many cool women who are typically running their own small businesses, and everything in me just wants to keep growing it. I want to help more people, girl boss, essentially,” said Brenner. 

As popularity around sustainable fashion continues to grow, Brenner hopes Thryft Ship will deliver bigger profits.