I’m sure that I’m not the only individual that over-buys and under-uses when it comes to my wardrobe. I’m known to be fairly spontaneous when it comes to buying new items, particularly if something pops up in my news feed on Facebook. Inevitably, this leaves me with an excess of stuff and nowhere to put it.
One day, after lamenting our lack of space and our lack of funds, my friends and I came up with a plan to solve both problems. We needed to sell all of our beautiful, wonderful, special pieces and allow someone else to enjoy them. And thus, The Preloved Project was born.
From our About Us:
“The Preloved Project Kalgoorlie started out as a group of friends selling their preloved and brand new clothing that had been sitting in our wardrobes. These items were loved and admired every day, but we weren’t going to wear them again. We decided that we needed to move them on so someone else could enjoy them; it was a bonus that we could make a little extra money to buy more gorgeous things…and start the cycle all over again.
Rosey, Jenelle and Natalie are local Kalgoorlieans that have all worked in fashion retail for many years. Rosey has studied Fashion and Textile Design and currently manages a gorgeous shoe boutique. Jenelle studied Community Development and is currently starting her own fashion retail website.”
Rosey (of super-milliner fame)’s focus at fashion school was sustainable fashion, so she’s done lots of research and is quite passionate about establishing a more sustainable fashion and retail model. I’m a proponent of sharing the love, and preloved consignment is the perfect way to ensure that items of quality are continually used by someone that loves them, rather than languishing in our wardrobes. Natty loves the cathartic effect of clearing out the old to make way for the new.
Our first event around a year ago, before we named it The Preloved Project, was simply 4 friends (Donna has since left town) hiring a space and selling our worn once, near-new and new-with-tags items sitting in our wardrobe. It was before we knew that this idea could actually mean something, but even then, we knew the space needed to reflect the special-ness of the items, and our memories in wearing them. We didn’t want this to be a trash-and-treasure or car-boot-sale kind of event. That is where Fossick Handmade comes in.
Fossick is this incredible local space that is part gallery, part handmade retailer, part craftivists and part craft teacher. You must check out their Facebook page and discover all of their amazing work. We were very fortunate that they allowed us to use their gallery space to host our first preloved event. Who wouldn’t feel fabulous and inspired in this amazing location?
That weekend was a huge success, and we were inundated with requests to sell other people’s things. We planned our next sale to coincide with the local spring racing festival (aka race round), giving people the opportunity to sell headwear and special day wear.
We stuck with a few people that we know well to test out our brand new consignment paper work and systems for flaws or ways to improve it. We accepted only quality items, with no discount stores or ‘fast to market’ labels to ensure that our growing customer base could be certain that they would find great pieces at bargain prices when they visited our events.
We also created an online capsule collection of items that people could purchase directly through Facebook.
With our most recent event we rolled out our full consignment service, accepting all applicants that fit our mission. The mix of items was perfect in that there were plenty of genuine vintage items, mid-range labels like Finders Keepers and Wish and special designer pieces from Collette Dinnigan, Thurley, Alannah Hill and Nicola Finetti. This was also the first time we had a plus size section that went to size 26.
The event exceeded our expectations in terms of organisation and customer turnout. We had LOADS of people waiting at the door to get in and a line for our change-rooms as soon as we opened. Luckily my best friend and her daughter (my god-daughter) dropped in to check out the sale because we ended up recruiting my god daughter to stay and work for us! We will refine our systems further from this experience and the next sale will be better than ever.
The Preloved Project has become much more than a way to make a little extra cash. It’s taught us to think a little more before we buy things; it’s taught us a little bit about sustainable fashion; it’s taught us about investing in quality over quantity; it’s taught us the value of letting go.
Who knew a pop-up shop could be so valuable?
PS: Find Things That Shine on Facebook here