Okrika is a port town in rivers state Nigeria, but it is also what Nigerians call second hand products mostly imported from the abroad.
Buying okrika products is a great way to get high end products below retail prices. It is also a way to save money and getting antique products which are no more available in the market.
The okrika aka thrift business is a thriving business sector in Africa. Whilst it’s thriving nature, a population of people still frown upon buying okrika as it is associated with the low socioeconomic group “poor people”, not classy or elegant.
Due to this stigma a lot of individuals buy okrika in hiding and will never speak a word of it to the world. Which leads us to the big question.
The Big Questions; Should buying okrika be a thing of shame? Comment your answers below.
I already have my answer to this, but to get more understanding, I decided to go to a local thrift market here in Khartoum Sudan called Arabi.
To answer a question, you need to understand it so lets go right into it.
What are okrika products?
Okrika aka Bend-down-select aka “Thrift” These are items/products like clothes, shoes, socks, scarfs, books e.t.c. that are sold below retail prices.
Sources of okrika products.
1.Donations: Organizations,( e.g Goodwill) collect products from donors and sells to make profit to finance the purpose of their organization.
2.Companies: While most okrika goods are second hand, a small percentage of them are brand new products that are either.
I) Out of season so the companies/stores have to get “rid” of them.
II) Excess were made.
III) They were made with the intention of selling them as okrika goods.
3.Events: After events like the world Cup, Olympics, Concerts etc, Instead of destroying perfectly good products they are sold to others as okrika.
4.Resale shops: Resale shops collect products from individuals willing to sale and sale it for them charging a small commission.
Navigating through the market I observed, majority of it’s customers that day were Parents who came to shop with their kids, Parent who came to shop for their kids, students, young adults, Boutique owners and small business owners who come to buy in bulk and go to sell in the city for big profits (you might have bought one of these many “designer” without knowing its real source, LOL).
Speaking with a few stall owners, which was challenging due to the language barrier, regarding the stigma associated with thrift buying and summary of the answers are as follows.
Yes there is a stigma. A few people who still buy these second hand goods prefer it to be brought home to them, as they do not want to be seen in the market due to their “social status”.
Because of this stigma, some have resorted to creating an illusion for themselves that they do not buy second hand goods from the market in other words they no bend down select but buy from online thrift stores on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram. So this makes them different.
Now my answer.
Its a big NO from me, as there is a saying “sew your coat according to your size”.
A person with low income getting okrika is one of the best way to get good and quality products.
A mother with growing children buying okrika clothes decreases her worries of children spoiling clothes or outgrowing them so quickly as she can always get them new ones without having to break the bank.
A person who loves antique goods, okrika is the only place you can find beautiful vintage products. So its not always about ones financial or social state but preference.
Lastly if its what one can afford, then there is no shame in that!
Fruits and street food are also sold at the market.
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