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Here’s How This Young Woman Paid off $80,000 Student Loans With Vintage Clothing Business

At 26 years old, this college graduate managed to pay off her student loans in just three years
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @mellowstate
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @mellowstate

In a world where the weight of student loans often feels insurmountable, Kelsey Mikula's story inspires many. At just 26 years old, this clever college graduate managed to pay off a staggering $80,000 in student loans in three years, all through her passion for buying and reselling vintage clothing on platforms like eBay.

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A post shared by Kelsey (


eMikula's journey to financial freedom began with a simple realization: one man's trash is indeed another man's ticket to prosperity. With this mantra in mind, she went to scour thrift stores like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, hunting for hidden gems amidst racks of pre-loved garments. With an eye for vintage threads that would appeal to online buyers, she soon found herself amassing a small fortune, turning forgotten relics into lucrative assets.

Like many recent graduates, Mikula faced challenges in securing employment within her field of study—zoology. Undeterred by the lack of opportunities, she channeled her energy into her burgeoning resale business. Balancing her job as a hospital secretary with her side hustle, Mikula steadily chipped away at her student debt, achieving her goal of financial independence by March 2023.

 Image Source: TikTok | @mellowstate
Image Source: TikTok | @mellowstate

What sets Mikula apart is her keen understanding of market dynamics and consumer preferences. Specializing in women's clothing and shoes, she carefully curates her inventory to cater to the tastes of her target demographic. Through platforms like TikTok and Instagram, the college graduate has cultivated a loyal following eager to purchase her latest finds.

"I get paid $5,000 a month in profit — it can really depend," she said. "I don’t tend to keep clothes, but if I do I will keep them for a few months and sell them," she added.

Reflecting on her journey, Mikula recalls her humble beginnings, recounting selling discontinued mascara in middle school as a precursor to her successful venture into the world of online resale. While she initially started on platforms like Poshmark, Mikula gradually expanded her reach to include eBay and Depop, capitalizing on the diverse audiences these platforms offer.

Despite her impressive success, Mikula remains grounded, attributing her achievements to hard work, persistence, and a dash of luck. From scoring a Christian Dior sweater for $10 and flipping it for a $700 profit to snagging a pair of Chanel shoes for $20, which earned her $200, this entrepreneur's journey is one of a kind.

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A post shared by Kelsey (


Unlike many in her generation who succumb to the allure of consumerism, Mikula approaches her business with a pragmatism that borders on austerity. For her, the thrill lies not in acquiring possessions but in the satisfaction of a hard-earned paycheck.

"I love the freedom this job has given me, I am my own boss. If I don’t want to work in the morning, I don’t have to. I can work what hours I want," she said. With her student loans firmly behind her, Mikula has decided to pursue entrepreneurship full-time.