Kait Angus, also known as Kiki, opened Brainwash Thrift on June 1 in recognition of Pride Month to help create safe queer spaces for the community.
Brainwash Thrift is an Indigenous, womxn-owned thrift store in Arcata. It is family-run, a queer safe-space and all size-inclusive.
“I believe in self-expression, self-love, and self acceptance and making that your priority when it comes to social change,’’ Angus said. “Overall, Brainwash means breakingdown those barriers and learning to love yourself, gaining confidence, and building community within your peers.”
The store name Brainwash Thrift means a lot to Angus. It holds value and shows everything Angus has worked for. It’s a way of her putting her personal values and beliefs together.
“I recognize the lack of diversity and queer spaces for the large community within Humboldt,” Angus said. “I was reallysurprised that there was not spaces that are specifically queer safe spaces. In terms of diversity, there weren’t a lot of visible minorities operating businesses considering how diverse the overall population is becoming.”
Angus is originally from Thunderchild First Nation, a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada. She moved to Arcata in October 2019 with her partner, who is originally from Humboldt County.
“We came here to visit family and after the second time I came here I wanted to live here,” Angus said. “So we made some decisions and moved four months later.”
Brainwash Thrift isn’t just your regular thrift store, Angus hosts many events to allow people to feel safe and welcomed in the community. A recent event that Brainwash Thrift had was a skate night. It included roller skating, rollerblading and skateboarding. Brainwash Thrift plans on holding another skate night in October. These events include DJs, performers, art vendors and food vendors.
“These events are important to me because it builds community between the artists and performers, as well as those who attend the events,” said Taylor LaRue, Brainwash Thrift event manager. “These events are a chance to fortify those connections and continue supporting each other while embracing our individuality.”
More Brainwash events are private parties, coming out parties and birthday parties that allow groups of five to 20 people.
“I really like the thrift store because it has different styles and sizes to choose from,” Jessica Villalobos, a Brainwash Thrift customer said. “They have really cool sales and I love the store itself.”
The store is open four days a week, Wednesday and Thursday from 12 pm – 6 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am – 7 pm. The store is located at 40 Sunnybrae Center Arcata, California, 95521.
For more information and questions regarding events, donations, store hours or store updates, visit brainwashthrift.com or follow Brainwash Thrift on IG @brainwashthrift.