A Beginner’s Guide To Sustainable Fashion

If you are like me, you love shopping at op shops, get a kick out of selling your old clothes, and would rather hire a dress than buy one, then you might be well on your way to becoming a sustainable shopper without even knowing it. Give yourself a pat on the back because not only are you saving money but you are also (pause for dramatic effect and insert drumroll) SAVING THE WORLD. I wasn’t kidding about that pat on the back, saving the world is no mean feat.

Sustainable Fashion

I have heard people talking about sustainable fashion for a long time but thought that it meant sacrificing my style and adopting an organic hemp harem pant wearing lifestyle. A lifestyle that I cannot afford and let’s face it, even if I could afford it I definitely couldn’t pull it off. That was until I stumbled across a blog post by Anita Vandyke about the benefits of embracing a ‘no logo’ life. It was unlike anything that I had ever read about sustainable fashion. Rather than suggesting we ditch all of our favourite clothes and abandon our style, Anita refreshingly explains how we can embrace creativity to develop our own sense of style even further.

Anita Vandyke – A Zero Waste Life

Anita is a waste warrior, with a stunning blog dedicated to ‘A Zero Waste Life’, an Instagram account with over 17,000 followers and a book due out in July this year. Oh, and in her spare time, she likes to dabble in a bit of Aeronautical Space because she is an actual rocket scientist. You can go ahead and add her to your #wcw rotation right now because she is one inspirational woman.

Anita Vandyke https://www.anitavandyke.com
Author and rocket scientist Anita Vandyk.

Anita was kind enough to take some time out of blogging/winning the war on waste/rocket scientist-ing, to answer some of our questions about how to make more mindful fashion choices and become a sustainable shopper.

Alex: What does sustainable fashion mean to you? 

Anita: Sustainable fashion to me is about leaving a gentler footprint on the planet using style as the tool. It is about transparency from the start of the supply chain from the way materials are chosen to the labour conditions in which the workers are subjected to. Transparency is the key!

Alex: Where is the best place to start for someone who is wanting to make more mindful fashion purchases? 

Anita: Start by shopping your own wardrobe. Before you begin, you should always consider what you already have. Streamline your style and wardrobe before you buy anything new. Nine times out of ten you’ll find that you are more creative with what you have because you have less choice. In a world of excess, start with minimising your clothing items to curate your style. Trust me, people will notice how stylish you are because you are making more effort with less items!

Sustainable Fashion - Anita Vandyke
“In a world of excess, start with minimising your clothing items to curate your style.”

Alex: Is there anything specific to look out for when purchasing clothes? Are there certain words on the tags to look out for, brands to avoid, preferable fabrics? 

Anita: My only rule is to never buy plastic materials – this includes polyester, nylon etc. Microfibres from washing these plastic materials is one of the biggest micropollutants in our waterways. These particles are ingested by marine life (mistaking it for plankton) and then enter the food chain. Always buy natural materials such as cotton, silk, wool. They feel better on your skin and much better for the planet in the long run!

Alex: I read on your blog that you haven’t bought new clothes in 3 years, which is amazing, but if people aren’t in an area where they have access to amazing op shops or great buy swap sell groups, are there any retailers that you would recommend for new clothes?

Anita: I haven’t bought anything new for over three years, however, my favourite ethical brands include Everlane, Patagonia and People Tree. These brands are vocal about transparency, environmental issues and social issues. For shopping secondhand, I suggest you go to your local markets, try eBay or Gumtree or even organise your own clothes swap with friends!

A Zero Waste Life In Thirty Days by Anita Vandyke
A Zero Waste Life by Anita Vandyke

Anita’s book ‘A Zero Waste Life’ is available to pre-order now from Penguin.

Find Out How Sustainable Your Favourite Brands Are In Seconds

I decided to google some of my go-to brands and was surprised to find that a few of them were anything but sustainable and had some questionable labour conditions. I also found an app that makes finding this information a breeze. The Good On You App rates brands based on the way they impact people, animals and the planet. They can even suggest better brands with a similar style and budget!

The Good On You app is available now on iTunes.
The Good On You app is available now on iTunes.

How To Find The Most Stylish Vintage Clothes

Buy Swap Sell 

As I mentioned in all of the How To Sell Your Stuff posts (because I am obsessed) Buy Swap Sell (BSS) is one of my favourite ways to shop. Do yourself a favour, go and search your favourite brand on Facebook. Almost every brand has a BSS group, I am a member of Witchery, Spellbound, Seed, and Country Road! People post amazing clothes in near new condition at a fraction of the retail price. It’s also a really great way to find out about garage sales.

Markets

As Anita mentioned, markets are a great way to shop sustainably. My favourite vintage market is Suitcase Rummage, I like to go towards the end of the day when people tend to drop their prices in order to get rid of whatever they’ve got left. For super stylish new clothes head to your local Young Designer Markets. Not only will you find quality, one-off pieces but you’ll also be supporting local talent.

Suitcase Rummage Markets are a great way to score cute vintage clothes super cheap.
Suitcase Rummage Markets

Vintage Stores & Op Shops

I have two favourite vintage shops, Camp Hill Antique Centre and Little Sister Cafe. I always look out for things like denim jackets, overalls and leather skirts, quality items that are durable and can stand the test of time. When it comes to op shopping I head straight to Instagram. There are so many awesome ‘Op Shop Insta Gurus’, my favourite is @nevereverpayretail by Hannah Klose. Hannah has amazing style and posts daily about her op shop finds. To find all the best op shops near you head to her blog and check out some of her local lists. If you have absolutely no idea where to start then her post ’10 Commandments Of Opshopping’ is the perfect beginner guide!

Sustainable Fashion - Hannah Klose Never Ever Pay Retail
Never Ever Pay Retail – Hannah Klose in one of her vintage finds.

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Easiest Ever eBay Smartphone Tutorial

Hi Hustlers,

Welcome to How To Hustle’s first tutorial! This is a super simple eBay Smartphone Tutorial if you have never used eBay before or need a bit of a refresher then this is the video for you.

For more selling tips check out the ‘How To Sell Your Stuff‘ series and stay tuned for more tutorials…

Happy selling!

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Let Your Elle Woods Guide You

LIVE EACH DAY LIKE 
ELLE WOODS 
AFTER WARNER TOLD HER SHE WASN_T SMART ENOUGH FOR 
LAW SCHOOL-2

I decided to enrol in a writing degree at the age of 26 when I was pregnant with my first child because someone told me that I was not smart enough to write for Mamamia, Australia’s largest women’s media company. Three years and another baby later, I am on my way to finishing my degree and Mamamia published the first article that I ever wrote.

My Mamamia Article

If there’s something that you’ve been dreaming of, go out and do it, and if that dream is expensive then let this blog help you hustle for it! Find your inner Elle Woods and go out and prove your haters wrong.

Legally Blonde

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I Held a Group Garage Sale And This is How it Went

I have been wanting to hold a garage sale ever since I moved into my new place a year ago and filled our garden shed with boxes that I had been hoarding since high school. Deciding that I couldn’t possibly hold onto my ‘best friends forever’ photo frames and ‘Happy 18th’ yard glasses for another second, I quickly created a Facebook event. I gave myself one week to get my shit together and find everything that I wanted to sell. I knew that a few of my friends also had things that they were wanting to sell, so I invited them to bring along their stuff and create a mini market on my front lawn.

This was the first garage sale that I have thrown as an adult. My Mum used to have them all the time when I was growing up, and my little sister and I loved helping her set up and haggling with people over $2 mugs.

Garage Sale Day

Advertising

The first thing I did was create an ad on the Facebook Marketplace, listing all of the obvious information including the date, address, time etc. I also added a list of the types of items that I was selling to attract more specific buyers. I made sure to include the terms “no holds and no door knockers thank you,” serious Garage Sale Goers rock up crazy early, so I did not want people tapping on my door at 5am. I also didn’t want a million messages prior to the day from people wanting me to hold specific items for them. I copied and pasted the details from my Facebook Marketplace ad into two of my Buy Swap Sell Groups, one for my local suburb and one for all of Brisbane. A lovely lady commented on one of my ads and invited me to join a South East Queensland Garage Sale Page, so I posted the ad on there as well.

Marketplace Ad
Gumtree is a good place to advertise on as well because a lot of people use it especially to find garage sales. However, I did get a lot of people messaging me on there asking me to hold items and haggling with me before I even told them the price. I did consider not replying but that felt a little rude, so I just let people know that I wasn’t doing holds and told them I’d see them on the day.

Lastly, I went old school and plastered my neighbourhood with homemade signs. It wasn’t until my 5th sign on the main road that I thought to myself “this doesn’t seem legal” and sure enough when I got home and checked my local council’s website I realised that is was in fact not allowed. So I recommend checking your local council site before you put time and effort into signs. Full disclosure, I did leave the signs up and that is what attracted most of my customers but I did take them down as soon as it finished and spent the whole night feeling like a felon and waiting for the sound of sirens.

Garage Sale Ad

Where I Went Right

I started at 7am, just early enough to catch all of the serious Garage Sale Goers. This was a good decision because I made 85% of my money in the first hour!

I priced everything the night before and set up the clothes rack, I made sure everything was clean and ready to be put out as soon as I woke up.

Clothes Racks

I invited organised friends with good merchandise and lots of brand name items so the sale looked really full and enticing.

The day before the sale I checked how much each item was worth on eBay, and I am so glad that I did because I nearly ripped myself off. When I was going through a box of kitchen items that hadn’t been opened since 2012, I found a set of casserole dishes that I had been given by my Aunt when I first moved out of home. She has super classy taste and they looked kind of antique-ish so I googled the details underneath and it turns out they are now worth $150 each!!! The same thing happened to my friend Molly who unknowingly bought a vintage gold mine hidden in a box of toys to sell. My eyes lit up with dollar signs when I saw that one of them was a Rainbow Boom Crystal Series Furby, find out why in the Vintage 90’s Toys edition of the How to Sell Your Stuff Series.

Where I Went Wrong

We had a great rush of about 20 people in the first 2 hours and then nothing. Not a single soul! After hours of pondering in our deck chairs, we came to the conclusion that the reason for the lack of customers was because we had the sale on a Sunday instead of a Saturday so we had missed out on all of the usual garage sale crowd. It was also insanely hot, the kind of heat that keeps people locked inside with the air conditioner on.

What I’ll Do Next Time

I will definitely be holding my next garage sale on a Saturday. I’ll be starting at 6:30am to make sure I catch the serious shoppers. I’ll be even more organised next time with items ready for sale in big storage containers and buckets, so all I have to do is put them out in the morning. This time around I started setting everything up on blankets 30 minutes prior to starting and had three people waiting, watching my every move like they were seagulls and I had a was a chip sandwich.

Seagull Giphy

We are also going to try a different location next time, a house closer to the main road, with more traffic.

I’ll also be posting more pictures of the items I have for sale and listing all of the brands in my advertisements.

How Much Did I Make

So you’re probably wondering if all of that effort was worth it in the end? In the first 2 hours, I made $60 which is not a lot, however, what happened after made it totally worthwhile.

As we were packing up we decided to take photos of everything we had for sale and posted it all on Buy Swap Sell and eBay that afternoon. Within an hour my friend Amber had someone offer to buy ALL of the clothes that she had put up for sale on a Buy Swap Sell Page. I sold a teapot, a play mat, a baby rocker and two boxes of baby clothes, taking my tally to $140! My other two friends have since sold some of their items on the Facebook Marketplace.

Photo by Amber Schmidt

We all managed to sort out some clutter, and I have donated most of what I didn’t sell to charity. All in all, I would call it a success, I had a super fun day with my friends, I managed to clear out my shed, and I got some extra cash out of it!

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5 Clever Side Hustles To Make Yourself Some Extra Cash

So it’s back to reality! Christmas is over and now you’re stuck with an insane aircon bill and no cash to pay it because you spent it all on mimosas and ham. Unless you won hundreds of dollars on the scratchies from Grandma then you’re going to need to get yourself a little somethin’ somethin’ on the side. Yes, you’re going to need to get yourself a side hustle!

Here are 5 clever side hustles that you can set up now with little to no initial outlay…

Become a Nanny or Babysitter

If you are good with kids then this might be the gig for you. Amber, 21 from Brisbane worked as a Nanny part-time through University and then again recently when she needed extra cash after a trip to Europe. “It cost me nothing to set up! I used Canva to create a flyer, which I put up in my local cafe. I also posted it on my Facebook and in a few community groups that I am a part of.”

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If you don’t have an established network, you can find plenty of online agencies on Google to help you find work. Signing with an agency will incur a fee/commission, as well as a Blue Card application which is around $87.00. A Blue Card is beneficial anyway even if you are just doing the occasional babysitting job, as it is extra reassurance for the parents.

“Once I worked for a few families I found that a lot of work then came to me through word of mouth, as parents would tell their friends about me. It’s a really great way to make extra money as you can do it on nights and weekends, I get $20.00 an hour for something I really enjoy doing!”

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Dog Sitting

Not that into kids? Maybe pets are more your thing! The market for pet sitting just keeps expanding with more people searching for carers on sites like PetCloud and Pawshake every day. That’s right, you can seriously get paid to hang out with a puppy!!! There are all types of jobs from once a day visits, to overnight stays.

Melita, 32, from the Gold Coast, was working at a doggy daycare centre when she first saw the potential for after hours, weekend and holiday work. “I started posting my availability on social media, just to see if anyone was interested and straight away my friends were contacting me to look after their pets, from there everything just happened organically. Now I have 3 regular clients, some are weekly, monthly or whenever I have days off, as I also work part-time at a pet store. I am also registered with an online service.”

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Setting up a dog sitting service requires minimal outlay. If you choose to do it on your own you can create a free ad on Gumtree and the Facebook Marketplace. If you want a bit more security then going with an agency like Pawshake or PetCloud, is a great option as payment is guaranteed and you are covered by their insurance. There is no joining fee but they do take a small commision.

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“Setting up my dog sitting service has only really cost me my time, posting on social media and applying for a Crimson Check, which I had to have to sign up for the online service.  I have separate charges for different services and tailor each quote depending on the time needed for pet sitting as well as incorporating travel where needed. My advice for anyone who is genuinely interested in setting up a side business would be to let it happen naturally and don’t put too much pressure on it because it will show in your work if you do. Always specify to the client how far you will go for your price and what your services include so that people don’t take advantage of you and your talents.”

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Get Paid For Your Opinion

This one requires no outlay at all and you can literally start doing it today! You can get paid up to $20 to complete surveys online, and there are a number of sites that you can sign up too. Once you sign up to one then they’ll start popping up on your socials like wildfire. Check out this site for a comprehensive list. They have even done a cost comparison chart to help you decide which ones are worth your time!

Airtasker

If you’re looking to get some extra cash but need to tailor it to your already busy schedule then Airtasker is the perfect option. Once you sign up you can search the jobs that people need done and make an offer on the ones that you are qualified to complete. You can decide how much to charge and only have to apply to the ones that suit your availability. There is literally everything on there from bond cleaning to mowing. People even post jobs asking for McNuggets to be delivered to their door, so there really is something to suit everyone’s skillset! There is a service fee deducted from each payment to cover transaction fees and insurance but it’s a great way to find extra work without having to spend your time and money on advertising your service.

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Profit From Your Talent

This one might take a little more time but if it is something that you are good at and enjoy then the rewards will be more than just financial.

When I find out my friends have hidden talents my brain goes into overdrive thinking of ways they could cash in on them! I think it is because I have always dreamed of having a talent of my own to cash in on. I was a talentless child, couldn’t sing, dance, touch my nose with my tongue. I could, however, pick the winner of the Melbourne Cup. In fact, the first word I learnt to spell was Tab as in T-A-B. In year 7, in lieu of having a talent to cash in on, I decided to make some pocket money by setting up a betting syndicate in my classroom. I had told all of the kids in my class to bring a dollar and in the morning I passed out handmade tickets for my Melbourne Cup sweeps. I skimmed some for myself and had enough to buy my lunch at the canteen that day, sure it wasn’t what those choir kids got for the Qantas ad but it was a decent profit.

If you are more fortunate and were born with an actual talent then why not cash in on it! My Aunt is an incredibly talented screen printer and knows her way around a sewing machine. Determined to stay at home to raise her three boys she created a range of kids clothes. After almost 10 years she is still going strong and has even caught the eye of 90210 alum Tori Spelling, featuring in a list of her favourite handmade kid’s clothes. A natural born hustler, she always comes up with creative ways to save costs, from exchanging services with other local businesses to going halves in a market stand with her friends business to split the fees!

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I have friends who create stunning kids decor in their garage, make beautiful candles in their kitchen and make stunning cakes for their friends and families special events! Do yourself a favour and make a list of everything that you’re good at, then google it! If it’s something you can make see if there’s a market for it on Etsy! Last Christmas I needed some extra cash so I learnt how to make Tutu’s on Pinterest, took some cute pic of them on my phone and sold them on Etsy. The possibilities are endless even if you think you’re talentless!

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How to Sell Your Stuff: Babies and Kids Clothes

Welcome back to the How to Sell Your Stuff series. Next up we are going to raid the kid’s rooms.

If you are like me and your kids have nicer stuff than you do, then this room is the money maker!

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My family and friends love spoiling my kids rotten so their cupboards are filled with goodies. You’ll find me out and about in active wear and a hobo bun next to two kids dressed in Country Road and Seed. I keep my kids clothes in great condition and sell them as soon as they grow out of them so that I can start stocking up on the next size.

My best friend gave me two life-changing tips for keeping clothes looking like new:

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This Rechargeable Lint Remover from Kmart is the best $10.00 I have ever spent. It gets rid of pilling (the little balls) and makes clothes look brand new!
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This Stain-Lift by White King from Woolworths gets everything out from chocolate to blood! Just spray it on as soon as possible. It is even safe to use on colour.

Now let’s get started…

Designer Clothes

Start by sorting the designer clothes into brand specific piles, the best place to sell these is on Facebook Buy Swap Sell (BSS) groups. There are hundreds of kids BSS groups! Before you get started, go and join all of your local suburb/city kids BSS groups and then join the brand specific groups. There are groups for Bonds, Seed, Country Road, Witchery, Cotton On, Bardot Jnr, if it’s cute there’s a group! Read the page rules carefully before you post anything, each group has specific posting guidelines. For example, some make you post a collage of everything you’re selling and then post individual photos in the comments.

Now that you’ve joined the groups and read the rules, put your post together, including clear pictures, prices, sizes, the item condition and location (suburb only). If you post the item/s in multiple groups make sure you add “advertised elsewhere” in the description.

Handmade Boutique Clothes

You know that little cake smash dress that you spent months looking for and your cherub wore once? It was all worth it, not just because of the cute pics, but because, handmade items from well known local brands do well on BSS. Be clever with your posting times, don’t try selling your Christmas and Easter rompers in the middle of the year! Get your post together and put it up on your local suburb/city kids BSS groups.

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Non-Designer Clothes

There are a few ways to sell non-designer clothes on BSS…

Bundle – You can do size bundles but, don’t expect to get more than $20 regardless of the amount you are selling. Lay all the clothes out neatly and take a photo of the lot. Post this image as the main photo, then take individual pictures and post them in the comments.

Individually You can sell them individually, but do it all in the same post, group administrators hate it when you post hundreds of different items in one go and spam the page. Use the same format as above in ‘Bundle’ but include the individual prices under each picture in the comments.

Gold Coin Sale – If you are keen to sell them quickly and you have a lot, post them as a Gold Coin thread! Use an image of a ‘sale sign’ or something equally eye-catching. Post individual pictures of items in the comments. Under each image add the words ‘Gold Coin Sale’ as well as the usual information including the size and item condition. Include the same details in the post’s description. Because the items are so cheap you should also include the phrases ‘pick up ASAP’ and ‘no holds’ to prevent no-shows.

After a week or so when people have finished commenting, I usually post whatever is left as a free bundle. If you choose to do this make sure you only post in one group at a time because people get back to you FAST and it is hard to keep up with who wrote sold first. I have literally been verbally abused by a toothless woman who believed she commented ‘sold’ before another lady did. Needless to say, I did NOT give her the clothes.

Brand New With Tags

If you have anything with tags still attached (like me because my daughter grows faster than the speed of light) post them on eBay. Start with the retail price and see if you have any luck, you can always lower it after a week if it doesn’t sell or, select ‘make me an offer’ if you are happy to accept less. Make sure you include BNWT (Brand New With Tags) in the listing title and description, also include photos of the tags in your post.

You can try and sell BNWT items on BSS but they don’t do as well. BSS groups are a place to get a good deal not a place to pay the full retail price. Also, the mothers (or fathers) in these group are savvy shoppers so don’t try fooling them! There is nothing worse than seeing someone who has gone and bought a bunch of kids clothes at outlet sales and tried to sell them on BSS groups for the full retail price. It’s fine if you want to do this, and it is quite a good way to make some extra cash but sell the stuff on eBay, not BSS.

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Shoes

Shoes are a pretty safe bet when it comes to making a decent sale. Because let’s face it, kids feet grow a warped speed, so they are generally in pretty good condition. Excellent condition shoes sell well on eBay, whilst well-used shoes are best sold on BSS and the Facebook marketplace.

Swaddles

Love To Dream Swaddles (every new Mums dream) are one of the most popular items on BSS. Make sure that you are honest about their condition, don’t be a d*ck and try to fob off sweat and drool stained swaddles to unsuspecting strangers. I paid $25 for a swaddle that looked brand new in the photo and when it arrived it had mouldy stains on the hands so I had to throw it away! This was my first purchase on BSS and because I was new to the group, I didn’t know what to do about it. Now if there are not enough pictures of an item I will ask to see more before I purchase it, especially if it is being posted to me. I also always ask if the item is from a smoke-free home, especially if it is a swaddle. I have since bought 3 more from different people on BSS and they have all been perfect. Swaddles that are in good condition can sell from $15 to $30.

Baby Bag

If you and your kids have outgrown your baby bag and you need the cash to buy a grown-up purse and a few backpacks you might be in luck! Bags such as the Mimco Lucid Baby Bag are still in high demand. I recently sold my tan, 3-year-old (bag not child) on eBay for $150! It even had a few scuff marks (which I posted photos of on eBay). Brands like Oroton and Skip Hop do well on eBay as well. If you have a non-designer bag in good condition post it on BSS.

Happy selling!

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