Manager of secondhand shop Tifana gives fashion items new life

by Junji Yamaguchi

Kyodo

Having loved fashion since childhood, Junichi Kato took a job at a secondhand shop to prevent usable clothing from being thrown away.

Kato, 38, manages the Musashikoyama outlet in Tokyo of recycle shop Tifana, which buys and sells used clothes, shoes, handbags and tableware.

“I found it so wasteful to see so many goods that can still be used being thrown away and wanted to find a job dealing with used goods,” he said.

On the shelves of his store are more than 10,000 items, including clothes and handbags that originally sold for hundreds of thousands of yen. The store also sells inexpensive goods such as T-shirts and rice bowls.

Kato said customers will not choose used items unless they are priced much lower than brand-new goods at department stores or supermarkets and noted he makes an effort to sell as many items as possible in order to generate profits.

He also said he always considers the store’s inventory, thinking of how he can arrange the shelves and keep them full to attract many customers.

Kato explained that what was particularly hard about this job was to learn to distinguish which items are good quality and those which are not.

“It took me years to be able to figure out instantly how much an item is worth and what price it should carry,” he said.

A native of Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, Kato was invited by a friend to take the current job at Tifana four years ago after working at a sporting goods store.

“I feel great about this job when a customer (who has visited the store every day) said to me smilingly, ‘I found a great item today,’ ” Kato said.