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Thrifting, markets and balance with Spit And Shine

Thrifting, markets and balance with Spit And Shine

Hi, I’m Rae(THEY/THEM) owner of Spit And Shine, a preloved clothing & housewares and handmade online store. I’ve lived in Niagara my whole life, it has a special place in my heart - particularly St. Catharines.

"When starting Spit And Shine I would have never guessed it would kinda grow this big"

Tell us a bit about Spit And Shine!

I started this Spit And Shine in early 2015, selling thrifted rose pins at punk gigs to make enough money so I could buy merch from the touring bands. I'm an Art School Dropout - after taking a few years off of drawing/art I start again and have been incorporating that aspect into my business.

I love to mix my own art and vintage together, creating a new-to-you experience for my customers. You may be familiar with me from downtown flea markets, crawls, and pop-ups.


You have such a unique personal style. What or who is the biggest inspiration for your style?

Thank you! I’ve basically been wearing whatever I want since forever. I grew up poor so thrifting has always been in my life. I think that's how I became so in-tune with what I like to wear. There are so many different styles that are not mainstream at the thrift store. It made it easy to experiment at a low price. Pre-pandemic I would go to a lot of punk shows in Toronto/Hamilton, I would say I’m very influenced by the people I surround myself with. I’m very into the 70s meets punk/rock and roll looks. But also I just might base my whole outfit off of a care bear earring. Depends on my mood!


What has been your biggest milestone/achievement or your favourite moment with Spit And Shine?

When starting Spit And Shine I would have never guessed it would kinda grow this big. Maybe it looks like nothing significant from the outside. But I went from selling thrifted rose brooches at punk shows, to having a website and to hosting/co-hosting several markets a year. I am extremely proud of the Valentines Market that I host every February that has partnered with Niagara Sexual Assault Centre as a fundraising event. My #1 goal with Spit And Shine is to give back to the community.

Photos submitted from Spit And Shine

"I cannot stop making iridescent cloud earrings"

What is one thing you wish you knew before starting Spit And Shine?

That it’s ok to take risks and go out of your comfort zone. I feel like because of my own insecurities I held myself back a lot with Spit And Shine. Looking back now at things I was doing 5 years ago but never saw the light of day. I just wish I could tell my past self “GET IT TOGETHER YOU ARE AMAZING YOU GOT THIS”

How do you navigate Spit and Shine, relationships, and work while also keeping a good work-life balance?

Schedules! I keep a bullet journal and keep myself on top of things. I schedule days for me to work on Spit And Shine and schedule breaks too. This is just what works for me and it’s taken me a while. I also work full-time too, so me time is scarce. Gotta schedule that in too sometimes! ;-)

You also make and customize a lot of things yourself. What is your favourite thing you have made?

Oooo that's a hard one! I would have to say recently I made these “Vintage Vibes Not Vintage Values” stickers I was really happy with. Also, I cannot stop making iridescent cloud earrings.

Photo submitted from Spit And Shine

Most people are easily overwhelmed when they first step into a thrift store. The colours, the patterns, and sometimes the smells. Do you have any advice for beginner thrifters?

OK before I give pointers I’d just like to say pre-pandemic I would go to the thrift store because it was therapeutic to me. It was my ME time. And they have AC! So maybe I would spend an unhealthy amount of time there? ANYWAYS  

  • Start by choosing a thrift store that is colour coordinated and organized by size. Ease yourself into the process of thrifting. It CAN be overwhelming when you don’t know the store you are shopping at.
  • If it’s your first time going into the thrift store. Never pay attention to the sizes, use them as a guide to find your size. Take your measurements before going to the thrift store, and bring a sewers measuring tape with you. This sounds extreme but it’s very helpful - especially now without change rooms.
  • If you wear plus-size I suggest checking out Salvation Army Thrift or Goodwill. They have the largest plus-size sections in the city.
  • If you see something older looking but are unsure of the era, a quick look-up on Etsy helps a lot! Especially if you’re like me and try to curate your closet/dishes to be strictly a certain era/era inspired.
  • Gender is a construct, honey - no matter your gender or how you identify, I am now giving you permission to shop every section in the thrift store. There are no rules.
  • Stay safe and sanitize your hands!

"One day I’d love to open a brick & mortar"

What is your ultimate goal for Spit And Shine? What does your final version of it look like?

One day I’d love to open a brick & mortar. Combining art and vintage. Spit And Shine would not only be a store but a destination, an art installation, a community safe space. Something for everyone no matter your financial situation.

If you could say one thing to every single person in the world, at the same time, what would you say?


Get the look:

Dress: Hello Moon Vintage
Earrings: Spit And Shine
Bolo Tie: Inside Out Shop
Butterfly Clips: Grandma's Basement
Hair: Erin Shred (Shred Salon)


Talent: Rae Rees
Photographer: Amryn Shae
Editor: Hondrea Hunt-Charbonneau

We'll always be looking for new and exciting talent to showcase in our community.
Do you or someone you know want to be interviewed? Send us an email at and you could have a chance to be featured!

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