It's with the word 'before'. The earliest known crown-group thrips, and thus the earliest known thrips that we can be reasonably certain was holometabolous (absent actual fossilised thrips pupae) is Liassothrips crassipes from the Late Jurassic (Shmakov 2008). In contrast, the earliest known crown-group holometabolans are stem-beetles and stem-neuropterans from the Early Permian, a good hundred million years or so before (Grimaldi & Engel 2005). Even if we open the gates to potential stem-group thrips (which may or may not have been holometabolous), that doesn't take us back any further than a potential tie with the Holometabola.
So while thrips may be holometabolous, the possibility that they were so 'before it was cool' is fairly remote. Thrips are much more likely to have been late-comers to the holometaboly game.
Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press.
Shmakov, A. S. 2008. The Jurassic thrips Liassothrips crassipes (Martynov, 1927) and its taxonomic position in the order Thysanoptera (Insecta). Paleontological Journal 42 (1): 47-52.