Every day, Anne Runde walks to class and meets three or four people who compliment her “one of a kind” outfits.
Runde is the owner and founder of Threader.Co, an online thrift store and custom clothing store. Since founding Threader.Co in May 2020, Runde has sold over 2000 items through the company’ instagram and Etsy Pages.
Growing up on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, Runde learned at a young age what it takes to run a business. However, her interest in sustainable fashion only developed in college.
As a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Runde began shopping at the thrift store as a way to inexpensively upgrade her personal style. She was inspired to start reselling second-hand pieces after finding trendy items in the thrift store that weren’t her size.
“I just found this huge market gap,” Runde said. “There were all these affordable clothes that didn’t necessarily suit me, but they would suit someone else.”
In its early days, Runde sold plain, second-hand t-shirts for $5 on Instagram. Recently, Runde has found its “savings niche” – selling vintage and custom Badger gear.
“I’m really passionate about providing a sustainable alternative to going to the bookstore and spending $80 on a brand new Champion windbreaker,” Runde said.
In June 2021, more than a year after Runde launched the business, Threader.Co went viral. Runde created a TikTok advertising a vintage pop-up event she and her friends were having in Madison. The video has racked up tens of thousands of views. The line for the pop-up spanned two blocks on State Street.
Threader.Co’s online orders have exploded. At first, Runde was able to handle the surge in orders and followers, but when school started in the fall, she struggled to balance her classes, social life and work commitments. Runde’s roommate and best friend, Cammi Ganshert, began to notice a change in Runde’s personality and demeanor.
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Since Runde runs Threader.Co out of their living room, Ganshert is often the first to see the clothes that Runde buys and customizes. She was only supportive of Runde, but their relationship became “strained” as Runde tried to find balance in her life.
“We had a heart-to-heart conversation,” Ganshert said. “I was like your sanity wasn’t good and that made our dynamic bad…you’re too great a person to push yourself so hard.”
In December alone, Runde had to complete and ship 57 custom orders before Christmas. After the holiday and finals rush, she closed her Etsy shop for the entire month of January and sought resources from university health services to better manage her mental health issues.
“I mean it was very nice when I got all these orders. I had a lot of money, but I realize now that it’s not about the money for me,” said Runde: “I am much happier now but less [financially] comfortable. It’s an exchange for me.
Ganshert is proud of the progress Runde has made with her mental health and her business.
“Over the past three months, I’ve been able to watch her find that balance and do the things she wants to do, while still being able to make money and feel fulfilled in her business,” Ganshert said. . “It was super awesome to see her do that.”
Runde reopened her Etsy shop in February, but is trying to be more careful about the number of orders she accepts. After graduating in May, Runde plans to stay in Madison for another year to help run Madison Vintage Events. The collective is “a community of entrepreneurs supplying the city with the best products, art and vintage clothing”. Their next event will take place June 11-12 and will feature vintage clothing for sale, local artwork and live music.
Runde isn’t sure how long she will run Threader.Co, but she plans to continue to save money daily, even if she shuts down or sells the business.
As for the future of fashion, she hopes other consumers will implement more sustainable fashion choices in their closets.
“A lot more people are choosing to shop second-hand now, and I think that will just be kind of a precedent,” Runde pointed out. “Sustainable fashion will only grow in popularity; it’s gonna be the next wave.
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