Our founder was interviewed by Eco Styles about the idea behind the Virtual OP Mall concept, and this is what they spoke about:
Circular Fashion and The Virtual Op Shop Mall
Preloved clothing is one of the popular ways to curate a sustainable wardrobe. Several platforms have emerged to support the need for a circular economy. Second hand clothing is rapidly gaining communities of people who are embracing style and sustainability. We spoke to the founder of Sell My Clothes (The Virtual Op Mall), Irena Trajkovska, to hear her reasons for creating the platform and how it’s supporting sustainability in the fashion industry.
1. Hello Irena, talk to us about Sell My Clothes.
Sell My Clothes (SMC) is a Virtual Op (shopping) Mall. It’s a new concept based on the physical shops, except it’s online. Many of us lead busy lives these days so it’s just easier to sell or get what you need online. This Virtual Op Mall is for buying/selling/swapping/donating/renting second hand fashion items only, but it incorporates a Map of garage sales and markets all over Australia as well, maps of tailors, op shops and charities all over the country.
We also have a personal eco styling services for those in need of wardrobe restyling or a wardrobe upgrade. On top of that, we’re excited about giving everyone the chance to guest blog and show their op shopped or preloved personal style because we believe that “Style has no price tags”.
2. Tell us how the idea for the platform was created.
When we first moved to Sydney, I found myself hunting for new clothes for my kids every few months because like all children, they are growing. Somehow, deep down inside, I knew the fast fashion cheap stores were not the answer for our needs, although it seemed the only logical and financially sustainable solution at the time.
So, one day we mistakenly entered Vinnies thinking it was just another store. We later realised it was a second hand shop! To be honest I was initially apprehensive, even though excited about the prospect. I was, at the time fighting with the stigma that I had been engrained with my whole life that second hand clothes are only for poor people. It is truly hard when you are trying to wipe off decades of limiting beliefs about second hand.
With a newly discovered and growing sustainable lifestyle, I noticed the impact that recycling clothes was having on our family budget. All of a sudden, we were left with excess money to spend on experiences, rather than material things that we or the children would outgrow or lose interest in.
After spending a lot of time scrolling through preloved ads, engaging as an active member within second hand fashion groups and struggling with sales from all over the world, I decided to create a safe place for the Australian second hand fashion community, and this is how the Virtual Op Mall was born.
3. What’s the link to sustainable fashion?
We encourage people to reuse, resell and recycletheir fashion items. There isn’t a single person that hasn’t done impulsive shopping, and we’ve all had bad days when we bought something, only to find that we didn’t like it the following week. Our motto is: DON’T THROW IT AWAY, resell it and save it from being added to the landfill! The bonus is that you will earn some extra money. The same goes for reusing and recycling – this is why we have our map of tailors, the blog, and a personal stylist – you never know how a single piece can be reused, differently combined or recycled, so take the chance and give it another try!
4. With so many second hand platforms online, how is SMC unique?
We LOVE that the market is waking up and all these platforms being born! I am sure we are all unique in a different way, but what makes The Virtual OP Mall one of a kind is that there are no transaction fees. Compare it to a real shopping mall – we do not interfere in the stores’ policies and payment methods, nor we want to take percentage of their sales with the customers. It is also Australia wide ONLY (no worldwide competition), great filters that will help you find anything you need and other awesome features to help you maintain your sustainable life.
We are here to host their stores for which they pay a one-off, monthly or annual subscription fee (rent of $2 per product, $9 per month or $79 per year and that is all), give them a 24/7 technically supported platform and spread the word on the social media. We also have many other features (as mentioned above) that are FREE and there to help the second hand community in their sustainable journey (like creating groups, followings, ratings, adding events, sharing unique pieces found in the op shops around the country, etc.)
5. What’s your hope and vision for the future of SMC?
We’d be delighted if we could see it growing with people who never ever thought of using second hand fashion pieces. You know, you can sell ice to Eskimos, as they know the benefit of it, and how to use it, but try doing that to someone from a hot climate who’s never seen it in their life. We are on a mission to try and do that – convert as many people as possible into a more sustainable lifestyle, and by doing that, to stop the devastating impact that fashion has on our environment.
Read the original interview on Eco Styles