Thrifting is an interesting phenomenon for me, a millennial, haha. It takes a well-known notion of selling secondhand or pre-loved items, and asks you to consider it through the lens of sustainability.

Read about Thryffy’s Brunei launch:

Thryffy launches Brunei’s first secondhand-focused fashion mobile marketplaceArticle by Biz Brunei, 7 Mar 2022

The locally developed app Thryffy is an online marketplace for thrifting. I’m both a potential buyer and seller. I’m coming from years of online shopping, including my earlier student years, buying and selling secondhand on eBay and other platforms.

I had some quick reactions when using the app, which I decided to share here. I don’t consider this an in-depth review, despite the word count. 😛 I have not fully tried the features as a seller, and have not made any transactions as either buyer or seller.

To download the app on Android or iOS:

[Note: The iOS screenshots showing here were wrong, so I’ve temporarily disabled them. You can click the button above instead!]

Immediate Reactions

An overall feeling I have is that this app was made with a certain level of simplicity in mind. The “look and feel” of the app is great, it feels fast and pleasing to use. The design is very clean and consistent.

Like… I could go on. The typography is satisfying. I like the large photo carousel at the top of each listing page. I like that all photo thumbnails run in the same square ratio throughout the app. All of this seems intentionally meant to work together.

It’s just so underrated how a good UI/UX can make you feel about an app, which can decrease frustration and make you spend more time in it. It felt rare for a Bruneian app, and to me, it’s worth mentioning.

Clean and Minimal

In software development, there are opinionated frameworks – I assume there are similar concepts in app design. Throughout the app, I feel Thryffy has made many design choices to simplify how it looks and works. This means there may be a push and pull between aesthetic and functionality.

In your main browsing area, when looking at thumbnails, only a few of each listing’s particulars are shown: the selling price, number of ‘hearts’ (saves by other users), item brand, and size.

It is an interesting choice to not show the item title – contrast below with eBay on mobile. If you’ve bought items off eBay, you might be aware that item titles there are often littered with keywords, not always directly related to the item.

 

Like if I wanted to look like a rock chick, perhaps that skirt titled “Black Sequinned Mini Skirt Cool Girl Rock Chick” would catch my eye?

Hiding or showing the item title is another design choice, and neither is necessarily good or bad. It also depends on who they expect to use their app or shop, and other functions that are available to shoppers.

That brings us to the filter function. Next to the search bar is a button that leads to the “Filter & Sort” screen. At first glance, it looks like the filtering options you would see on many online shopping sites.

But I found the filters to also be simplified. In Women’s Clothing, you can only pick one category at a time – only “Shirts” instead of “Shirts” and “Tops & T-Shirts” together, for example. There is no filter for colour. For size, you can only filter by UK sizes.

Contrast with the array of filters you’d find on Zalora (mobile view):

 

I grew to appreciate Thryffy’s somewhat simpler search options, as it makes the experience less overwhelming. It seems to be in line with the app’s other design choices.

Of course, it’s not a completely fair comparison – Brunei’s Thryffy marketplace is a lot smaller than Zalora’s. I would find it personally frustrating if there was a large number of items, and the filters could not help me find something more specific. And so: the next point.

Search and Navigation

With any shopping site or app, it makes sense to focus on search and navigation. You’ve successfully drawn potential shoppers over to your online shop, great! So your next task is to steer them towards your products.

There’s a lot of ways that shoppers will look through your shop: click through your campaign or promo banners, or even go to products directly from Instagram.

As a shopper, I like these two ways: Search keywords, and categories.

On Thryffy, I can’t combine filters and search keywords. For example, if I search “collared” and want to filter the results by brand, or vice versa if I choose to filter and then search.

This leads to more… inventiveness?

The main categories are Women, Men and Kids, with sub-categories for each. While browsing the app, you might notice items that fall outside these categories.

The “Accessories” appears to be a catch-all category, with no sub-categories to help organise the items. A set of rollerblades shares the same screen as a hair clip, a lipstick storage box, and a Hello Kitty mug.

Screenshot from Thryffy – Shows items in Women’s Accessories category

 

I ran a search for “books”, and there are indeed sellers offering books. So far, I’ve found these listed under Women’s Accessories, presumably as the sellers are women, or they’ve expected buyers of books to be women.

I hope these categories can be revised in the future. It will depend on what Thryffy wants its users to sell, but if it continues to be a platform for non-clothing items, they probably do not need gender categorisation. Further sub-categorisation would also help.

Localisation

As I mentioned earlier, size filters only show UK sizes – I personally prefer UK sizing, but it may not be the same for everyone. Although I appreciate that inside an item’s listings, you can click on an item’s size to see it in the different sizing systems.

Screenshot from Thryffy – When viewing an item, you can view a ‘Sizing info’ modal popup with more size info

 

For an app that is catering towards Bruneian and Malaysian audiences, it’s surprising that there aren’t more localised categories, especially traditional styles. There are separate categories each for “Sweaters”, “Winter Jackets”, “Jackets”, “Coats”, and “Blazers”.

But there isn’t, for example, a “Baju Kurung” category. I’ve found them listed under “Dresses”. (Under Men’s Clothing, there’s a category called “Special Costumes & Outfits” – a jubah has been listed here.)

As a Malay woman, baju kurung is not just a “special” outfit. It is traditional, customary wear – there is a difference between festive baju kurung and everyday work-friendly baju kurung. And that’s not even going into specific styles, such as baju kebaya or the broader “baju fashion” label. I’m sure it’s similar for other cultural outfits.

 

I’ve mentioned earlier that Accessories are where items go if they don’t fit in the other categories. This is where I’ve found shawls and headscarves. “Socks” gets its own category under Women’s Clothing, although hats and caps do not. Perhaps there is a wider categorisation matter regarding headwear versus footwear.

Modestwear is a whole sub-industry on its own, though I do not know if they are common thrifting items. I’m sure there would be interest to buy and sell baju kurung and other types of traditional wear through Thryffy, especially for festive occasions such as Hari Raya, or perhaps for women refreshing their work wardrobes.

Overall: A well presented UI with a few flaws

Since this was meant to be a quick review, I’ll leave it there. Yes, I had a dozen other thoughts and a few nitpicks, but overall I see these as areas that Thryffy may or may not choose to work on in their ongoing journey 😀

My last observation: I could not find a reporting or flagging mechanism. I can understand that the app wants your experience to be as simple as possible. But as with all online platforms, there’s always the chance that unwanted content will make its way onto other people’s screens. It’s best to prepare for that.

* * *

The premise of thrifting itself isn’t new. Garage sales were always a thing, as are car boot sales. I can see its appeal to students and Gen Z, with the potential for side income while also saving on shopping costs, as well as the concern to stay environmentally responsible by promoting reuse and slow fashion.

There are also aspects of thrifting as a subculture that I’ve only had glimpses of. There’s the popups, the bundle stores, the live sales through Tiktok/IG Live. There’s the fashions themselves, which I’m no expert on, haha. And as to thrifting as an industry and business model, I still have questions.

Wishing good luck to Thryffy and Brunei’s thrifting sub-culture