Combining all your interests, your personal style and the name of your favourite animal to create a financially and generally-life-rewarding business – this is the real goal.
Tristyn Lee Biggs, a third-year student from Stellenbosch, founded Retro Panda in 2016 with the help of her boyfriend, Jean, and has been selling vintage clothes through the Facebook-page they created for the business ever since.
Originally, she is from White River in Mpumalanga, and is currently studying Bcom Law at Stellenbosch University.
What is Retro Panda?
Tristyn has always been fascinated by an eccentric and retro fashion style and is greatly inspired by the content of her grandmother’s wardrobe. The idea for Retro Panda was born when Tristyn saw a gap in the Stellenbosch community for affordable vintage clothing among its students (and their tight budgets).
“It started out with old clothes that I had in my cupboard and I thought someone else might appreciate. I had months’ supplies of old ‘granny-clothes’… I’ve never been one for the average fashion trends.”
When her collection of already-owned clothes started to dry out, she started speaking to family members from America, who have been sending her original American thrift-store clothing items ever since. This certainly sets Retro Panda aside from the wide variety of similar shops in and around Stellenbosch, in the sense that Tristyn handpicks every single item she sells and makes a point of only selling real vintage clothing, rather than simply reselling previously-owned clothes and accessories that wouldn’t necessarily be categorized as “retro”.
Tristyn thoroughly enjoys shopping and Retro Panda allows her to do this to all her heart’s desire. “Now even when something isn’t in my size, it’s fine, because I know it will be someone’s size!”
So how does it work?
Tristyn puts together a collection of vintage items and once she is satisfied with her findings, she uploads pictures of it onto her Facebook-page. Should there be something you are interested in, you comment on the picture and if you were quick enough to do so first, you book the item for 24 hours, during which arrangements will be made for fitting, pick up and payment. And it’s that simple.
And the future of Retro Panda? At the moment, Tristyn and her boyfriend, who is being a great help in keeping everything running smoothly, are more than satisfied with the current state of the business. With Retro Panda being more of a hobby than a full time responsibility, they are enjoying the perks of the bonus income to treat themselves with a memorable outing every now and then.
However, we can look forward to more regular interaction with our friends at Retro Panda through competitions, markets and social media in the months to come.
Tristyn is currently busy with her third year in Bcom Law and is aiming towards a career in social media law. Growing up, she has always dreamed of becoming a singer but gave up on that after a few failed choir auditions (we are still hoping for a Retro Panda-album to hit the shelves, though).
We will definitely be on the lookout for the next batch of clothing items to make it onto the Facebook-rails. If you want to see more of Retro Panda, follow these links to their Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you to Tristyn for seeing the need for an initiative like this. Thank you to her gran for being such a timeless fashion icon. Thank you to Jean for being the unofficial face of this movement. Thank you to Retro Panda – may you continue to bless us.