We had the good fortune of connecting with Ugochi Nwaneri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ugochi, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Thriftnprosper developed into a business my younger self would’ve never imagined. Thrifting has largely been incorporated into my life since childhood. As a child, I remember visiting thrift stores with my mom. My mom was a hard-working single mother of four children and always found the beauty in everything-both new and preloved. While our thrift trips were some of my favorite childhood memories, thrifting wasn’t something my mom wanted to disclose to others for various reasons.
Today, thrifting is an art form I truly enjoy and take great pride in! Often, family, friends and even strangers compliment my outfits and inquire about the details. I feel as if I sound like an automated message, stating, “thank you, it’s thrifted!” I excitedly share details (e.g. quality, sustainable fabrics, and my skill) about my outfits which has sparked great conversations—conversations that have evolved to family and friends requesting I source specific garments and home décor pieces for them too!
I believe that the most unique and timeless pieces are thrifted. Something that started as a lifestyle for me evolved into a hobby and is now my brand! I thrift and curate a variety of vintage and trendy clothing, accessories, home décor and beyond! As I watched my mom proudly thrift and prosper during my childhood, I’m confidently doing the same in my adulthood for myself and others! I’m learning along the way and I’m forever grateful for tremendous support from my community!
Welcome and thanks for being here!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
By profession, I’m a school-based Speech and language pathologist (SLP). Growing up, I wanted to be a nurse like my mom. I wanted to help and render care to individuals across the lifespan. I obtained my certificate for nursing assistant and worked as a CNA for 6 years, throughout college.
After my first year in college and through personal experiences, I learned about the amazing field of communication sciences and disorders. I was drawn by the combination of science and arts in the field. I got accepted into the undergraduate from at Eastern Michigan University and fell in love with all of my classes. Observations were mandatory, which helped solidify my adoration and passion for this field.
As my undergraduate career was approaching, I was admitted into a summer research program at IU. I didn’t have much research experience under my belt and wanted to acquire some prior to attending graduate school. The research program had a focus on minority students interested in pursuing a PhD. Throughout schooling, I sought avenues to connect with others that looked like me. It’s important to note that the field of speech and language pathology is slowly but surely growing to become more diverse so I was overjoyed when I was accepted into the summer research program.
Let me tell you, applying to graduate school was one of the most stressful and difficult times in my life but it was absolutely worth the entire process! I received my masters degree from Wayne State, in Detroit, Michigan. I had a vast array of clinical experiences that made me grow as a clinician! With my background of working as a CNA, primarily caring for older adults, I started grad school with my mind set on the adult population. After my clinical rotations, I remembered how much joy children bring to my life as well. Shortly after graduating in May 2019, I started my career as a school based SLP.
I’m extremely grateful to have a career I absolutely love. I’m forever grateful to my dear professors, both from undergrad and grad school who have been mentors and friends throughout my experience. They have cheered me on and encouraged me to be open minded as I continue to learn as an SLP. The field is large, with many areas to specialize in. This is just the beginning! I’m trusting the process!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s a plethora of things to do and sights to see in DC, making it difficult to narrow down my favs but I’ll give it a shot!
As communal spaces have been reopening, I’ve visited a few restaurants that are incredible! If you love a bohemian and chic ambiance, I highly recommend checking out Lulu’s Wine Garden and Gypsy Kitchen. They’re both located near U Street and have amazingly delicious entrees and drinks! Not to mention, Gypsy Kitchen offers delivery services.
If you enjoy shopping and supporting small businesses, you must visit Femme Fatale DC in Cleveland Park. Not only can you shop my curated vintage pieces, but you can also shop from over 70+ small businesses, in one shop! Items range from apparel, art, skin care, candles, accessories and more! Femme Fatale is truly where magic happens in DC!
Lastly, you can’t visit DC without touring the museums! On the top of my list are: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Renwick Gallery. Oh, another sigh to see is the National arboretum! The best part of these museums is that they’re all free and relatively accessible through public transportation.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m sharing many thanks to my friends, family and current and future clients! Thank you all for your encouragement, engagement and for supporting my small sustainable business.
A very special shoutout goes to my little sisters, Onyeka & Chi-chi Nwaneri. I started my business while they were both in college and that didn’t stop them from pouring into it! Chi-chi, from sharing my content to gifting me equipment that has enhanced my business– I’m forever grateful! Onyi, your encouraging words and support are what give me strength on good and bad days.
Shoutout to my dear friend, Luke for cheering me on since the very beginning! He has inspired me to fearlessly pursue a path that is unconventional and walk by faith!
I also want to thank Femme Fatale DC for investing in me and encouraging me to invest in myself! Femme Fatale DC is my happy place and I’m blessed to call them my family.
Other: Poshmark – thriftnprosper Tiktok – thriftnprosper