Derry's Laura is a big hit on TikTok with her thrifted looks

A frugal Derry woman’s love of thrifting has been winning her thousands of followers on TikTok.

Laura McCourt, who now lives in Inch Island, set up ‘Laura’s Thrifted Looks’ on the site in August last.

Since then, the mother-of-six has already gained over 11,000 followers, who love her posts about her pre-loved purchases of furniture and clothes from charity and thrift shops across the North West.

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Laura’s TikToks include her travels to local shops, where she outlines how and where to find the best items, as well as her ‘hauls,’ where she shows off what she has bought and for how much. She also showcases her outfits of the day, which have all been thrifted.

Laura McCourt, pictured in a thrifted dress as she celebrated her 40th birthday earlier this year.

Speaking to the Journal, Laura outlined how she has always been a lover of thrifting and set up the page as a way to help manage her anxiety.

"I would have always been a person who bought things and then told everyone about it – ‘have you seen this? You have to go and look at this etc’. I started a page on Instagram first. But, Instagram is very curated and it’s hard to increase your follower numbers. It’s only really the top people who get much of a reach. I saw TikTok and wasn’t really sure what the app was about. But, I started feeling myself go down that slippery slope of bad anxiety again. I ended up really down. I was looking at TikTok and thought that I could maybe find that wee ‘niche’ of people easier than on Instagram. I put up a video in the August and within three months I had over 2000 people following me and it just grew from there.”

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Laura, who is married to Aaron, is delighted at the reaction to her page and said she loves helping people find a bargain.

"I think, maybe, sometimes people don’t really know where to go or what to look for. People tell me they have watched some of my posts and listened to my tips and decided that they’d go into such and such a shop and take a wee look. I think people like watching someone else do it, so that they know then what to do themselves.”

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Laura McCourt shows off her thrifted looks on TikTok.

With the current cost of living crisis, as well as the continued focus on sustainability, Laura can see how more and more people are looking towards pre-loved, classic items that are well made.

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"I think certain people always did it. My mammy has always nipped in and out of charity shops. People are always talking about sustainability and fast fashion and I think people are now looking towards being more individual and don’t want to look like everyone else. This is where charity/second hand/thrift shops come into their own. As well as that, a lot of people just don’t have the money at the minute to be spending 100s of pounds on clothes, but miss that wee shopping buzz.”

Laura outlined how ‘no-one’ loses when it comes to thrifting.

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“I would get some people saying to me: ‘Do you really need all those clothes?’ But I buy the clothes from a charity shop, wear them and if my style changes or they don’t fit anymore, then I donate them again. I’m only paying pounds and then someone else gets their turn. And, I’m also giving money to the charities, so noone is losing out there.”

Laura is full of praise for the ‘amazing and friendly’ staff of many of her favourite shops and said they are delighted when she gives them a shout out on TikTok.

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"They do amazing work and help so many people. Every pound you spend is helping others and that’s another plus to buying from these shops.”

Laura not only thrifts clothes, but has also found many ‘amazing’ bargains in furniture. In fact, her house decor is all thrifted items, including her bedroom floor, which came from what was previously Earth nightclub.

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"I don’t understand why anyone would buy new furniture nowadays. A lot of it is MDF and plastic. But, you can buy a proper piece of oak furniture for a much lower price, paint it if you don’t like the colour and put your own twist on it. I also love knowing that each piece has a history to it and a story behind it.”

Laura said while some people may say they’d never visit a charity shop, reusing items is something everyone has been doing for generations.

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“Previously, people would say to me that they’d be embarrassed if someone saw them in a charity shop. But, I definitely think that’s all changing. People love finding a wee bargain. Thrifting is something people have always done – we get second hand clothes from sisters or cousins. Families have heirlooms that have been handed down over generations. We’ve always been thrifting, it was just called something else.”

As a seasoned thrifter, Laura gave some tips for others who’d like to follow suit.

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"Definitely don’t rush. Maybe get a few people together and have a wee day out, Go on to Google Maps, type in where you’re going and take a look at all the charity/thrift/second hand shops they have in that area. And make a day of it.

"Take a good look through all the items. It isn’t like a high street shop, where you see something and then try and find your size. Take your time going through the rails – you have to rifle through it. Definitely try stuff on as well. Look at the prices and make sure you’re getting a good bargain. Most of all, just enjoy it.’

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You can follow Laura on TikTok at Laura’s Thrifted Looks.