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Girl, It’s Thrifted: Q&A with thrift shopper Priscilla Verissimo
Priscilla Verissimo, founder, Girl, It's Thrifted. Photo: Valerie Doucette Photography/Girl, It’s Thrifted

Girl, It’s Thrifted: Q&A with thrift shopper Priscilla Verissimo


Bargain hunter Priscilla Verissimo shares her top tips for thrift store shopping

Priscilla Verissimo, a stay-at-home mom and bargain hunter, started her Instagram page @girlitsthrifted “for fun” shortly after giving birth to her now nine-month-old son so she could chronicle the thrift-store finds that fill her dreamy Gatineau house.

Her shopping savvy and eagerness to share her secrets have already resonated with the online community: Verissimo recently starred in a video interview for estate sale marketplace MaxSold and just signed on with Value Village to have an eight-second video of a lamp she thrifted for $9.99 featured in their February social media campaign.

Now a “nano-influencer,” this serial shopper and occasional seller is consistently hitting the mark, with her budget-challenge Reels — a wicker shelving unit styled for $65, a living room styled for $500, an office styled for $1,000 — racking up the views.

Verissimo, who is originally from Montreal, says she enjoys exploring her adopted hometown of Gatineau and neighbouring Ottawa, which is a treasure trove for unique finds. Aside from the thrift stores, she loves to shop with local sellers Wallflower Vintage and Paper Bag Princess.

In addition to sharing her favourite spots in her Instagram story highlights, on Feb. 8 Verissimo debuted a free online map of all the thrift shops in the Ottawa-Gatineau area to spread a message of “community over competition.”

Below, Verissimo joins The Vintage Seeker to talk about all things thrift.

A bedroom with a pink column and a brass shelf containing multiple ceramic elephants in various colours next to a wooden dresser topped with a monstera plant and concrete bust of a woman.
Verissimo painted this pink corner in her bedroom on a whim. “Wood and pink make a super cute contrast,” she says. Photo: Girl, It’s Thrifted

How did you get into thrifting?

Priscilla Verissimo: My mom started my passion for thrifting. When I was younger, she would always wake me every Saturday and we would go thrifting through the city. When I grew up, everything in her house was thrifted.

She would style me from the thrift shop—thrift shopping back then wasn’t the same thing as it is now! When I bought my first house, I decided to decorate from the thrift shop.

What do you love about thrifting?

PV: I find that stuff is so much better quality than at [new] furniture store. When I had an apartment, we bought a bedroom set from a furniture shop. Then I actually thrifted one on Facebook Marketplace.

Even though it was from the 1960s, you can see even the metal [brackets] are made so much better than the things that I’d bought from the store.

How would you describe your style?

PV: It’s kind of mix and match — mid-century modern but glamorous, lots of gold. Pink, because pink is my favorite colour. Flowers, because they make me super happy. Sometimes, having a baby, I get caught up with things, but when I see my flowers and pink, it cheers up my day.

And my husband loves mid-century modern, so I have to put it in my style because it’s his house also! Whatever that makes me happy, I’m going to put it into my house. I remember how much I paid for each item, and where I bought it.

Everything has a memory of when I picked it up, or of a day, and I know all the history behind it.

Living room gallery wall composed of multiple framed floral portraits behind a teak sideboard topped with a mushroom lamp next to a three-tier circular glass coffee table and a marble chess board.
Verissimo says she picked up the wood-and-coral mushroom lamp on Facebook Marketplace for $20. The seller’s grandfather acquired it in the 1960s or 1970s. “It’s the highlight of my house,” Verissimo says. Photo: Girl, It’s Thrifted

The wooden mushroom lamp you recently picked up is amazing. I love it.

PV: Isn’t it cool? It was $20 on Marketplace. I was obsessed when I saw it and was like, I have to have it in my house. It has to be mine!

The trunk is wood and the top is made of a giant piece of coral. And the way the ad was written, in French it was like, “vielle lampe champignon,” or “old mushroom lamp.” Some people told me that it retails for over $1,000.

What’s your holy grail find and what’s on your bucket list?

PV: I love my $20 mushroom lamp. I found a tubular Rougier lamp at Value Village for $9.99 and I saw it for sale [online] for $29,000. But I also found two Vetri Murano mushroom lamps at the thrift shop too and they were $10 each.

They have the stickers on them! When I went to Italy afterward, I saw my husband’s parents had the same ones on the sides of their bed. They’d been a present for their wedding—a sign I was meant to have them. I am looking for a brass arched shelf. It takes time and I’m willing to wait.

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You styled your living room for 500 bucks! Tell us about how you were able to save money.

PV: It was a challenge within myself. I could spend so much money decorating, but I was like, no, I’m going to do it for like, under $500. My first thing was to write down what I need on paper.

Second, I went to the bank and pulled out $500, because if I’d used my bank card the whole day, I wouldn’t know what I’m spending. Then I looked on Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, thrift shops and estate sales until I found what I needed. My living room took me about one and a half months to put together.

Many houseplants and fresh cut flowers displayed alongside shelves with ceramic, brass, and glass vases as well as a tubular sculpture shaped like an egg.
Verissimo’s rare tubular Rougier lamp, pictured at right, was a thrift-store surprise. She routinely changes up the decor in each room of her house. Photo: Girl, It’s Thrifted

You recently posted that you attended your first estate sale. What surprised you most about the process?

PV: When I came in, it was super organized. It was easy. It’s like a thrift shop within your house! You just walk through the house and everything’s for sale.

I’m glad I shared it on my Instagram, because I got over 100 messages of people saying how shy they are to go and because I went, they are going to, too.

What do you love about sharing your finds on Instagram?

PV: It’s so cool because I can connect to somebody, let’s say from Vancouver, and they have the same passion as me.

When we talk, it’s not always like, “hey, how are you?” It's more like, “hey, what are your favourite thrifted finds?” It's really an awesome community.

View of pink walls and a dramatic brass light fixture with six clouded glass globes suspended from the ceiling.
Vintage, secondhand and modern converge in Verissimo’s hallway. Photo: Girl, It’s Thrifted

I told my friend that I was looking for something and she found it while thrifting, so she just gave it to me because I was looking for it for a long time.

People are super helpful and friendly. They’re there for you and they understand your passion and where it comes from.

I decided to do my Instagram just for fun, and I’ve met so many incredible people on the phone and in real life also. We’ve met up!

What do you want to do with your page this year now that you’ve seen some growth?

PV: I started shopping secondhand more for myself, because I really wanted pieces that nobody had. But now it’s also to reuse things — for the environment, and to keep things out of the landfills.

I want to inspire people to shop secondhand, to make more conscious choices. They don’t need to be like me and thrift everything. It’s little steps. People that never went to the thrift shop may not be like, let me thrift my bedroom set. They’re going to start with their clothing, or little decorations here and there. That’s my goal.

Portrait of the seller with shoulder-length black hair and a white headband wearing a white long-sleeved shirt with a crocheted collar and a denim apron while holding a large white mushroom lamp.
Verissimo found two of the coveted Murano mushroom lamps at a thrift shop for a steal. Patience and consistency are key when thrifting, she says. Photo: Valerie Doucette Photography/Girl, It’s Thrifted

Priscilla’s Thrifting Tips

1. Find items that work in multiple locations.

“I know it’s right when I think that I could use it in different spots in my house,” Verissimo says. “I love changing my furniture around, so if I can use it in my living room, then put it in my bedroom, I know that’s the one.”

2. Quality isn’t the only thing to look for — longevity is too.

“I keep an eye out for the condition of glass and metal and things like that,” she says. “If it’s vintage, I tell myself it’s already withheld the test of time.”

3. Don’t be afraid to expand your search.

Verissimo’s advice for would-be estate salers who are intimidated about the process? “Do it! I was nervous, but I did it and I loved it,” she says. “Go early — the good stuff leaves earlier. Bring a backpack so you don’t have to carry a purse and your hands are free.”

4. Be patient, and be consistent.

Verissimo found her two Murano mushroom lamps on an unplanned visit to a nearby thrift store while visiting her parents. “I didn’t want to go to the thrift shop that day,” she says. “But you know what? I got them.”

Priscilla Verissimo, Girl, It’s Thrifted

Gatineau, QC


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