Traveling Thrift Store Shopping Party provides customers entertainment and secondhand clothes


Courtesy of Elle Erickson

Elle Erickson sets up her shop in downtown Asheville. You can find free hugs, free advice, high fives, dancing and more at her traveling booth and thrift store.

Camryn Collier, Reporter

Elle Erickson has a self-proclaimed superpower.

“I can find really good secondhand clothing that are extremely fun pieces,” Erickson said.

From this superpower, Erickson has created a project called The Booth Fairy. She picks interesting and unique secondhand and thrifted pieces and sells them in Traveling Thrift Store Shopping Parties and Traveling Trunk Shows.

These parties have taken Erickson around North Carolina and much of the southeast including places like Charlotte, Asheville, Savannah, Knoxville and Nashville. One of her next pit stops is Boone, where she will set up her racks of clothes at 3rd Place on Appalachian Street.

The clothing for sale ranges from bohemian, to vintage, to staple items needed for work or formal attire. Erickson said all the clothes she sells are secondhand, something she is passionate about for environmental necessity.

“Ninety-five percent of my wardrobe is secondhand or thrifted clothing,” Erickson said. “It’s really important to show that a lot of thrifted things are just as good, or even better than a lot of fast fashion stuff. I really want people to shop sustainably. People often don’t realize what they are supporting with their dollar.”

The secondhand clothing Erickson sells is more sustainable and cheaper than new clothing, with prices ranging from $5-20. Handmade or higher quality items are more expensive.

Erickson also sets up booths that give advice, free hugs, free-high fives and inspiration to quit smoking. Erickson also likes to employ local artists at her venues. Last time Erickson came to Boone in early fall 2018, she included booths for henna, body artists and tarot card readers.

“It’s silly. There could be a thumb war, a staring contest, or it can go deep and there can be crying,” Erickson said. “It’s all over the place. It’s a really high vibe that I love to create. There is lots of dancing and silliness.”

Besides her traveling booth shopping parties, Erickson has promoted other projects she wants to see thrive. One such project is Bliss Mobs, where Erickson and volunteers give hugs in nursing homes and busy cities. Erickson also sets up Free Advice Booths and cultivates an idea of Love Ambassadors, or people in major cities nationally who promote free hugs, love and finding human connections.

She has around 200 patrons who help fund her traveling booth and other projects, according to Erickson’s Patreon account.

As she comes to Boone on Feb. 6-9, Erickson wants her customers in Boone to become involved.

“The whole reason I started doing the trunk shows was all for human connection,” Erickson said. “I love fashion and clothes, but it is not my biggest priority or my biggest passion for sure. The last time I came to Boone I was so well received and I would love anyone in Boone to be involved in my projects somehow, whether they be a patron, love ambassador or just looking at my message.”