We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Portalatin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
My most important lesson with my business is that everything will not always work in your favor & that’s ok. Going into this you think since you have the right amount of money to invest & great business sense that its enough. Its definitely not. Its takes patience, consistency & dedication. They’re have been many times where I’ve sold packages that customers just weren’t happy with. Whether it be sizing or the piece wasnt what they expected you just run into those types of issues when selling online. Id get so frustrated but I eventually realizd that all though you’re taking the proper steps, you’re going to face challenges regardless. I’ve had to give my products away for free, offer discounts, or even lose money in returns but I made sure at the end that my clients were happy. Thats all that really matters.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Mad Thrifty is just a vibe. For one, we sell both Men & Womens clothing. You can come here a find a vintage 70s Jumpsuit or a vintage 90s Starter Jacket. Versatility is key for me. We also provide Wardrobe Styling services. Once our physical location is reopened, we will even have back drops & staging to include styling & photography with your shopping experience. With Mad Thrifty I see it becoming bigger than I can even fathom. I remember when I first moved to Atlanta, my sister put me on to Platos Closet. I was like, this is dope! A chain of trendy thrift stores. This is the direction I see for my business. It’ll have an edge though & be marketed completely different…my way. I have so many ideas but I won’t share them all, just remember I mentioned it here first.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d probably start at the Beltline and make our way through Ponce City Market. Id definitely stop at El Super Pan for a Guava & Cheese pastry. Afterwards, we’d head up to the rooftop for the amazing views & cocktails. Next, we could head to either The Plaza Theater to watch some ol school films or The Battery Atl if its baseball season & catch a game. There’s always something going on at Piedmont Park or we could even hike Stone Mountain. For the night cap, im kind of a blend of sophisticated & ratchet lol! We could start off cute and head to Hotel Claremont. It’s a posh boutique hotel with great drinks and their restaurant Tiny Lous is amazing. We could even sneak downstairs for a few to The Claremont Lounge. Its an old strip club with older women stripping. Its an Atlanta landmark everyone has to visit atleast once. Then we’d get ratchet. We’ll swing by The Royal Peacock on Auburn Ave for some reggae music. Stop at Cafe Kulture on the corner for some munchies. Its a late night vegan restaurant & bar. Then, we’d end the night at Pinups Strip Club.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My success wouldn’t have been what it is today without the inspiration of 2 wonderful women in my life. Thank you Mrs Queen of the Thrift Stores (what we called her back then) my momma Mrs Gladys. If it wasn’t for those long hours after school EVERYDAY shopping at The Red, White, & Blue thrift store. I wouldn’t have had the influence to even think about starting my own. I’d also love to thank one of best friends Melissa George. I’ve always had a passion for fashion but she introduced me to working in fashion professionally. She gave me the opportunity to be her assistant in my 1st real gig. Ill never forget the feeling. I was so inspired by her & learned so much. I took the tools she taught me, what I learned from working on set & utilized that towards my business. I am forever grateful.
Models: Charity Calderon, Adrianna Price, Raydel Portalatin, Vanessa Balseiro, Crystal Laure