When Trash is Treasure

The joy of seeing items reborn

Flannery Wilson
4 min readJul 28, 2022


Any treasure in there?

I have been searching for treasure for as long as I can remember. In high school, I only wore vintage clothing because I was obsessed with 1960s fashion. Later, when I began graduate school, I quickly discovered Wasteland in Santa Monica — my dream store. Everything there was designer brand — only it was second hand so the price was a lot cheaper. I decided that from that point forward I would try to collect used designer clothing and wear it proudly. It became an obsession.

I also became obsessed with furniture, especially since I lived in two cool trailers in Southern California and later a beautiful 1932 Wisconsin home. I wanted only the best stuff to decorate these period pieces. So I went to a lot of Goodwills and antique stores and my ex-husband and I racked up quite an impressive collection.

One day, at an estate sale, my husband and I found a 1965 Broyhill Brasilia (a headboard, two dressers and a mirror) for less than $100. This set would normally sell for several thousand dollars.

A complete Broyhill Brasilia set.

Another day, at St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift store, I found two Burberry trench coats for $10 each. I later sold them for over $100 a piece (they were both too big for me, otherwise I would have kept one).

I have also been selling clothing items on eBay since 2000, when someone bought my 1970s Coca Cola pants. Much later, after my divorce, I set up my own actual eBay store called Flannery’s Name Brand Accessories. In order to keep up an actual stock of items, I shopped at a rotation of used clothing stores and bought items that I knew would be profitable.

Yes, I owned those and wore them proudly.

Once I found a Dior evening gown for $17 at the Salvation Army. Another time it was a vintage Gucci bag for $20. I even found a couple of real Prada bags at Goodwill for around $10. Louboutin heels for $50 at the Council Thrift shop. My store was a success.



Flannery Wilson

Flannery has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She teaches French, Italian, and visual media. Her book on Taiwanese cinema can be found on Amazon.