Dimitar Donev (’23) and Second-hand Clothing: Senior Projects Stories

July 10, 2023 Greti Georgieva
Dimitar Donev (’23) and Second-hand Clothing: Senior Projects Stories

Dimitar Donev graduated from AUBG in May 2023 with a mix of majors – Business Administration and Psychology. Upon his graduation, Dimitar received honors for Psychology and for Peer counseling.

During his studies in AUBG, Dimitar was Vice President of the PSYclub and Treasurer for the Philosophy Club. Apart from that, his active involvement in the community was marked by being part of the student-run Radio AURA, peer counselor and department representative for the Department of Philosophy and Psychology for the year 2022/23. He was also a participant in the program organized by AUBG and Blagoevgrad’s Regional Museum of History. Dimitar is also the second sibling of the family graduating from AUBG.

To wrap up his AUBG journey, Dimitar decided to work on a senior thesis project to explore the second-hand clothing industry in Bulgaria. He decided to support the AUBG-born second-hand outlet platform – Unboxd, through marketing knowledge about the Bulgarian market and consumer insights. While working on a marketing strategy proposal for Unboxd, Dimitar also explored the attitudes and decision-making of Bulgarian consumers towards second-hand clothing.

After presenting the project, he shared more about the idea behind it and his AUBG journey overall.

The project

To me, clothing sounded like an interesting industry to do a market overview on, while the idea to conduct a survey exploring Marketing and Psychology theories came naturally from the Consumer Behavior course I had taken in the previous semester. As a Business Administration and Psychology double major, I wished to do a senior project that contains aspects of both fields of my studies.

The Consumer Behavior course is accredited for the two majors and it intertwines theories from both, so it opened to me many possibilities for a collaboration between Psychology and Business.

Sustainability is of personal interest to Professor Petkov, so it all perfectly combined into the final title: Attitudes and decision-making in the second-hand clothing category in Bulgaria.

The process

The senior project had mostly predetermined sections – a market overview, consumer insights, and then a marketing proposal. There wasn’t that much to change. However, the actual content of these sections did allow for a lot of freedom. I could choose how much focus I wanted to put on each part, or what approach and theory to use.

Timeline of the project

One of the first things we did with Prof. Petkov was to go over a rough timeline for each of the main components of the project.

Survey preparation

A crucial aspect of this was the survey. It was very important to be ready with the survey questions by a certain date, in order to have enough time to gather a large enough sample size afterwards.

Weekly deadlines

The way I saw it, every meeting with my supervisor was a mini-deadline I had to meet. It was clear that I could not fall behind too much on the schedule as it would get harder by the end to successfully finish the project. Any week where I did not manage to fulfill the required weekly workload goal, I had to compensate with additional work the following week. Splitting the tasks and having weekly goals were vital parts of the process, definitely.

Presentation at the AUBG Fellowship of the Mind Conference

Another key point to consider was the timing of the AUBG Fellowship of the Mind Conference, where both Prof. Petkov and I thought it would be great to present the project. At the Conference, I was able to present my final draft of the project and hear the feedback of an external audience so that I could fix the last details.


While I consider myself good at distributing my tasks over a period of time, the consistency required for the senior project was beyond anything I had done before. I won’t forget the moment when I actually got to the final section of the project and thought to myself: “Wait, am I done!?” I was not done…but it was still quite the feeling.

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Dimitar Donev during Commencement

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Dimitar Donev during Topics in Psychology presentation


Just like with anything else that is creative or difficult, writing the “first sentence” or first section of the project was one of the hardest parts. I was faced with a blank sheet of digital paper that somehow had to eventually turn into more than tens of thousands of words and who knows how many pages. It was a daunting feeling I had to get over.
Another challenge was that, although I am interested in fashion and clothing, I did not find researching the topic to be particularly engaging. It felt like there was very limited research available for the fashion industry in Bulgaria, especially for sustainable clothing. That made me even less motivated and as a result, it was even more challenging to successfully complete the first part of the project.

The key to overcoming this writer’s block was to simply free-write and brainstorm as much as possible. Even when I strongly felt like I was writing subpar work, I just kept on going, knowing that I can go back later and fix it. The way I see it, no matter what you write it will always be better than writing nothing.

I also had a lot of other responsibilities outside of my senior project – an internship, a lot of extracurricular activities, several other difficult courses and a part-time job. It was stressful juggling all of those duties and I was afraid of burnout.

How did I deal with all of that?

Time management was of course crucial, but task prioritization and adaptability are underrated skills in such situations, in my opinion. I had to identify what was most important at the moment in order to set clear priorities, while I remained flexible to any unexpected circumstances and challenges. It’s surprising how much work can be done with effective time management, resilience, and adaptability. Needless to say, though, it was not easy.


The end purpose of the project was to have practical uses in the future.

First and foremost, the project will hopefully be useful for Unboxd. The market overview consisted of secondary research for the startup’s direct competitors and the current industry situation in Bulgaria. Unboxd can use this to learn more about the product offerings, portfolio and marketing activities of its competitors.

Even more important are the consumers’ insights, gathered through primary research in the form of a quantitative survey aiming to collect relevant consumer information.

Finally, the marketing proposal are straightforward recommendations stemming from all of the research conducted. They go all over suggestions for minor or major changes to the product, price, place and promotion of Unboxd.

The survey yielded valuable insights into the preferences, needs, and behaviors of the target audience within the industry. Since it deals with the important topic of sustainability, I believe the research can be used even for forming a more general understanding of the priorities of Bulgarian consumers. At the same time, the survey and its results showcase the complex nature of conducting primary marketing studies, while contributing to the overall existing body of research.


In terms of personal takeaways, engaging in this senior project equipped me with relevant transferable skills and knowledge. Through conducting research, analyzing data, and formulating strategic recommendations, I developed a deeper understanding of marketing principles and psychology theories and gained hands-on experience in applying them. These skills and knowledge will undoubtedly benefit me in future academic pursuits and professional endeavors.

Surprising lessons

It felt like everything I had ever done these past four years had some sort of an impact on the senior project. The many projects I had done, not just for Marketing, though these were definitely vital, but generally for Business and Psychology were also very helpful. At the time of working on them, I wasn’t a big fan of these projects.

But they are truly some of the closest experiences we have to serious independent research, along with some extracurricular activities and work. They made me more prepared when tackling the senior project and at that moment, I was appreciating every bit of help I was getting.

What surprised me was how much I had learned from my past mistakes in other courses. It may sound cliché, but there truly is no better teacher than the mistakes we make along the way. Specifically, the in-text citation knowledge and writing skills I had acquired carried me in some moments of the project. These were competencies I had learned exactly through the experience of making blunders and then acknowledging them.

I wish…

If I have to pick one, it would be the independent studies opportunity. You meet up with a professor, you propose a self-made personal course about a topic you love, and you might get the opportunity to work directly and individually on this idea with a specific professor. It is more complicated and not every topic works, but that’s what it is in its essence. I view it as a less limiting, less pressuring mini-senior thesis. You focus on what you like and it counts towards your major credits, so it’s simply perfect. I really wish I had used this at some point.

I know the question is about one but I just have to mention more. I also wish I had taken more advantage of the peer counseling program, writing center, library, office hours of professors, and the many, many other activities available to students. I became very active during my last two years but there was no reason for me to miss any of that during the first two.

Final words

It was quite the journey, with all of its ups and downs. I would like to say it was irreplaceable but even that feels like an understatement. I simply cannot believe how much I have grown during these years, even only in this last semester. This idea only excites me further for what the future holds.

“Even with the risk of being too dramatic, I have to take a moment and thank my family, friends, professors and AUBG staff for their constant support and help throughout my senior project and overall studies. They are too many to name individually but they know who they are. Thank you. I am truly grateful and I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without you.”