When Elena Dunn-Barcelona, 25, couldn’t find an outfit that properly fit her 4’3 frame, she took matters into her own hands.
“I moved back home after dropping out of college, and I was feeling really lost,” she shared, explaining she left school after realizing she no longer wanted to pursue a degree in classical vocal performance. “I was feeling really down because although I can sing, I didn’t want to pursue that for the rest of my life. My mom sensed I was depressed so she would take me with her to spend quality time together and I started to find things where I’d be like, okay, I love this. It just doesn’t fit me, but someone’s going to look bomb in this.”
Thus her vintage shopping and resale businesses Mighty Thrift and Galaxy was born. In 2016, Dunn-Barcelona started a virtual storefront on DePop, an e-commerce platform for users to sell and buy gently used clothing and accessories. Always a fashionista, her storefront grew over time prompting her to launch in-person pop-up shops through Depop’s IRL program. It was then she realized the direction she wanted her brand to go.
“It was when I was actually seeing people come to me, pick up the clothing, get excited about it then look at the tag to realize it couldn’t fit them did it dawn on me that I needed to ensure my offerings were more inclusive,” she shared.
She says she resells clothing from size XS-5XL.
“The thrifting community is not size inclusive because cute plus size vintage clothing is much harder to come across,” she said in a statement. “It may be easy to find plus size vintage, but it always has elastic, a baby doll waist and it is never form fitting.”
Despite enjoying the niche market after spending years participating in Depop IRL pop-ups and running her online shop, she decided to get a full-time job in the corporate non-profit sector. She stayed there for two years, and then the pandemic hit.
“While sheltering-in-place at home, I had a room full of inventory in my head,” she shared explaining that she realized her true passion was in vintage fashion. “This is always the thing that was going to come back. I’d my website built already, so it was more like I finally had the time. I already had the inventory. So with that I got that on and it was like I didn’t skip a beat on Depop.”
After leveraging her relationship with the brand, she said her shop took off again, and it led her to scale up. Now she says she reaches hundreds of consumers on a daily basis.
This reach is inspiring because Dunn-Barcelona says the brand is about more than outfitting others in cute looks.
“I have this theory,” she explains. “The way people treat others is directly related to how they feel about themselves, right? Bullying. All that stuff comes from you’re not liking yourself. And clothes, I feel like, are such an integral part of how you walk out your house. And so if everyone could feel like, I don’t know, 15% better when they walked out of their house, maybe they’re 10% to 15% more likely to be kinder to someone.”