Feeding fabric into the sewing machine, I watched the needle punch down, forming a stitch.
‘Good work!’ my mum, Carmel, said, proud of my first attempt at reworking a dress for my dolly with vintage material we found at an op shop.
Aged 10, living in small town Mareeba in Queensland, I’d developed an interest in fashion.
My sister, Samarah, then 17, had a wardrobe filled with trendy tops and flowy dresses that I loved to rummage through.
While my dad, Sam, and brother, Joel, then 12, stayed home, we girls would drive to the local op shops, searching for vintage treasures.
Throughout my school years, I’d watch Mum stitch embellishments and reshape some of our thrifty finds, giving them a new edge.
Then in 2016, aged 20, I came across some YouTube channels where people filmed their trips to the op shop.
I realised many of my favourite YouTubers were also on Depop – a social e-commerce app where users buy and sell first and second-hand fashion, jewellery and beauty items.
Intrigued, I signed up.
Scrolling, I realised there was something for everyone.
'I came up with an idea.'
Still, my op shopping days weren’t over!
In early 2017, I decided to sell my first item on the app.
This hat doesn’t really suit me, I thought, snapping a photo of it on the kitchen table.
Marked at $20, it sold within just a few hours!
From there, I began selling around three pieces from my overflowing wardrobe of op shop and garage sale finds every week.
So later that year, I came up with an idea.
Why don’t I sell my discoveries I find from second-hand shops? I thought.
Driving with Mum and friends to different op shops, we collected a bundle of funky items.
‘I love these 60s high-waisted trousers paired with this 70s button-up blouse,’ I sang out, mixing and matching apparel.
Back home, I’d dress in my newly bought thrift finds while Mum snapped pics of me.
Uploading the photos to Depop, my items ranged from $10 – $25.
Wow, these are selling fast! I thought.
Some weeks, I’d sell up to thirty pieces!
'One month, I made a whopping $9500.'
Over the next year, I was making anywhere between $200 – $800 a month.
Inspired by my savvy side hustle, I wanted to grow it into something bigger.
So in December 2018, I quit my job as a sales assistant at the local health food store and focused all my energy into my business.
Buying up to 200 garments a week – including some designer brands – I always marked my items at an affordable price.
Quickly, I began making $700 – $1000 a week even though I’d only spent between $5 – $10 on each of my wares.
One month, I made a whopping $9500.
Like Mum, I also started repurposing some of my vintage thrift shop finds, taking fabric from pants and turning it into a vest, or collecting scrap materials and making skirts.
In November 2021, I met my boyfriend Carlo, 25, through a dating app.
And in April 2022, he got down on one knee and proposed.
Thrilled, I said yes!
We married that November as I wore an embroidered wedding dress that I actually bought brand new – something I hadn’t done in years!
Since starting my business, I’ve made more than $200k selling my second-hand finds.
I can’t believe I found $200k at the op shop!