BYU entrepreneur expands thrifting business

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A BYU student is turning a love for clothing into an expanding thrifting enterprise. Lex Maynez, a 22-year-old sophomore studying business and communication studies, will open a brick-and-mortar base for his online thrift shop on Nov. 6.

Lex Maynez, center, and friends pose at a Sad Boi Thrift pop-up on Oct. 10. Maynez’ online thrift store is getting a brick-and-mortar location next month. (Lex Maynez)

Maynez started Sad Boi Thrift (SBT) in November 2019 after he started selling some of his clothes on Instagram and was amazed by how quickly everything sold.

“I realized, okay, people like my style,” Maynez said. He started thrifting 10 items at a time and selling them online to test if the trend would continue. It did.

SBT grew and started appearing at pop-up events in Provo and Salt Lake City in January 2020. The shop gained enough momentum in summer 2020 for Maynez to open a shop on Center Street. But when that lease fell through due to problems with the management, SBT was back on the streets.

“When I lost the store, that was probably one of the worst moments of my life,” Maynez said. “But the biggest thing with dealing with the unexpected is understanding that your plans will change. You can stay optimistic even if those things that happen are not in line with what you want to happen.”

Maynez’s optimism was fulfilled when he signed a six-month lease at a new location: 746 E 820 North, Suite #3, on the second floor of Brooker’s Founding Flavors. He expressed excitement at being closer to BYU campus and said the new spot is more fitting for the company’s social scene because it is closer to BYU. The store will officially open for business on Nov. 6.

True Blue Influence

“I want Sad Boi Thrift to be BYU’s thrift store,” Maynez said. “This school is the reason it started. Everything I’ve been able to do is because of the knowledge I gained here and the friends here that support me.”

Maynez attributes his success to lessons from BYU business classes and the examples of his professors, particularly professor Ralph Little, who taught Fundamentals of Starting a Business, ENT 300. 

“I have a lot of gratitude for how much they push for us to not just learn in the classroom but to put it into practice outside of class,” Maynez said of the Marriott School of Business. “I try to ask, what would Dr. Little do? How would he react in this situation? That’s what sharpens my thought process.”

Little said one of the secrets to successful entrepreneurship is learning how to have good conversations.

“When we’re focused on people, we become good at sales because we understand what people need, want and desire,” Little said. “Lex Maynez is a natural entrepreneur because he has trained himself to recognize the needs of others and opportunities that are all around him.”

One way Maynez collaborates with others at BYU is by hiring interns from the Marriott School of Business’ On-Campus Internships office. Students get three hours of credit for helping SBT grow, which “is a really fun opportunity and benefits everyone,” Maynez said.

“I enjoy the creative and collaborative opportunities the most,” intern Aleah Bucknum said. “Interning for Sad Boi has opened up a new and vibrant opportunity for me to make connections that will last beyond this semester.”

Thrifting Thrives

Thrift shopping is growing in popularity because of people’s individualistic culture, Maynez said.

“Thrifting offers people an affordable, unique way to express themselves, and that’s why so many people are into it,” Maynez said. “Everyone wants to be individual. People see clothing as an outlet to say who they are, and thrifting offers that in an inexpensive and creative way.”

“So many people are gravitating towards thrifting right now because it’s cheap and cool,” intern Piercynn Glenn said. “I like thrifting because I like the look of making old things new and getting more for my money.”

Bucknum sees it from a more environmental perspective.

“‘One man’s trash, another man’s treasure,’ right?” Bucknum said. “I’d like to think people thrift because they recognize their responsibility in contributing to the decrease in pollution and waste. That’s a huge motivator for me.”

College students shop at a Sad Boi Thrift pop-up event on Center Street in Provo. SBT gained momentum during summer 2020. (Ethan Horsley)

Maynez has transformed the thrifting experience into a more social experience by combining his pop-ups with meet-ups, eateries, outdoor movies and concerts.

“Sad Boi definitely brings life to the otherwise mundane thrifting experience,” Bucknum said. “We work with musicians, artists and local businesses in order to give more aspiring entrepreneurs a platform to gain traction and so that customers leave with more than a sick T-shirt.”

“That’s what it’s all about, is being able to do things with other people,” Maynez said. “I love it so much because it’s so fun and unique.”

Where next?

Maynez’s short-term goal is to be able to raise enough money to pay for law school before he graduates. 

His bigger dream is to have more SBT stores set up near other college campuses and to make his store part of the college community.

Little called Maynez “fearless in his efforts to succeed” and said that even if SBT only lasts a few years, he has high hopes for Maynez’s future learning experiences.

“There’s never a problem with making mistakes; the problem is not learning what needs to be learned,” Little said. He advocated applying maximum effort to lead to new knowledge and growth. “We’re here on earth to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and the only way we can do that is by going out and doing as much as we possibly can.”

“I’m excited to see where it all goes,” Maynez said. “It’s going to be really fun.”

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