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Stateside podcast: A spooky twist on thrifting with Lansing's Thrift Witch

I little bit Morticia Addams, a sprinkle of My Little Pony, and a dash of voodoo doll. The recipe that makes up Thrift Witch is magic.

For thrifters in Lansing, Thrift Witch is a must. Located in the Old Town neighborhood, the store is divined of owner Tiesha King's brain, and features retro and goth clothing, local art, vintage toys, vinyl records, books and an assortment of other items oddities. And it's a bit spooky.

A lot of Thrift Witch is inspired by King’s own aesthetic, as well as her childhood. When growing up, she loved watching “Nick-at-Nite” where she picked up vibes from Bewitched, The Munsters, and The Addams Family.

King said she has three criteria in items she is looking to sell in her store: “If it looks weird, where it seems like no one’s ever seen it before– I kind of want it,” she said. “If it smells old and grimy, maybe I kind of want it. And if it scares other people.”

colorful hand-sewn items are hung on a display bar. All items are shaped like coffins and have some bat-like creature inside of them.
April Baer
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Some of the unique items that are available at Thrift Witch. King said that Thrift Witch works with around 40 local artists to create items for the store.

Thrift Witch is not King’s first store. For a while, she was running a vintage toy kiosk called “The Prancing Pony” in a Lansing mega mall. King said that it was a “concoction” of her love for old toys, My Little Pony, and the Lord of the Rings book series.

She said after running that store for a little while and getting good feedback from customers and after having a conversation with the “godfather of Lansing Thrift” Ted Stewart, about selling dresses. She said that Stewart asked if he could sell some of King’s vintage dresses in his store.

When King informed Stewart that she had an online store, Stewart said “What do you mean you have an online store? You need to open your own store[front].”

Soon after that, King opened up the first iteration of Thrift Witch Vintage in REO town in June 2018.

Eventually, after moving to Old Town, King opened The Dark Art Market, which allows for her to help show off new artists. Thrift Witch works with around 40 artists. When some of those artists decided to make a full-time job out of their artwork, Dark Art Market gave them a venue.

a plethora of dresses hang on hangers
April Baer
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Some dresses that are available in Thrift Witch. Ted Stewart, who King calls the "Godfather of Lansing Thrift" asked King to sell her dresses in his store. When he realized she had an online store, he told her she needed to open up a brick-and-morter store.

It's hard to describe the magic of Thrift Witch. You'll have to check it out next time you're in Old Town Lansing. Or you can go with us in today's pod.

GUEST:

  • Tiesha King, owner and operator of Thrift Witch in Old Town, Lansing

___Looking for more conversations from Stateside? Right this way.

If you like what you hear on the pod, consider supporting our work.

Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions.

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April Baer is the host of Michigan Radio’s Stateside talk show.
Laura is Executive Producer of Stateside. She came to Michigan Radio from WDET in Detroit, where she was senior producer on the current events program, Detroit Today.
Dan Netter joined the Stateside team as an intern in May 2022 and is a senior at Michigan State University studying Journalism and Social Relations & Policy.