So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
Today I wanted to share an incredibly hardworking #girlboss with you, who has over 7000 followers on her Instagram thrift store! Check out Secondhand News’s Instagram page to see more! I am a huge fan of buying second hand and thrifting – love a good bargain!
On top of that, she has another little embroidery business, check it out here!
Please support this local lady and her businesses!
We chatted to the lovely Ashleigh, founder and #girlboss behind Secondhand News. This is what she had to say!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Secondhand News is an online, Instagram thrift-shop. I source, repair, repurpose and upcycle discarded/unwanted clothing. Sometimes it’s genuine vintage, sometimes it’s just a curated selection of high-quality garments. My focus is on quality and affordability. My thrift philosophy is: You can be environmentally friendly, look bitchin’ while doing it, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
This is a great question – and I don’t want to sound too ungrateful by answering it too enthusiastically!
I think one of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt is that I shouldn’t just automatically trust all strangers on Instagram. I’ve ended up wasting a lot of my time making special allowances and waiting for collections, payments and responses that never arrive. That’s a frustration, for sure. However, the hundreds of other wonderful clients that I’ve come in contact with make up for it tenfold. I’m very lucky in that way.
The other two things that have been a learning curve are definitely admin related. It’s so important to record EVERYTHING digitally. In the very beginning I was slightly more relaxed, and I believed that I would just “remember” who ordered what and when and where it was going. That’s a bad, bad idea and I spent so much time sifting through DMs to find the buyer. I overcompensate now, as a result.
My sister (who is a literal genius with a cum laude degree in economics) made me a spreadsheet so advanced (in my plebeian opinion) that nothing like that can ever happen again. Which is great. The other admin thing was shipping related – I’ve had to learn that the best thing to do is use a courier company instead of the DIY Aramex or Paxi option. It’s just a safer, more reliable, more manageable option. It means I can know where everyone’s stuff is at all times. At the end of the day, even though I’m just one person running a small insta-shop, I like to ensure that everyone gets the professional interaction they should in terms of receiving their parcel (to the best of my human ability, of course!).
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
I have had an interesting life so far in terms of businesses. Obviously I own and run Secondhand News, but I’m also a professional freelance actress, singer, dancer, MC, content developer, copywriter and fitness instructor – which are businesses in themselves. I’ve got another small business that does hand-embroidery on Secondhand News Thrift garments as well as commission hoop pieces. I’ve even owned a small restaurant with my best friend.
My advice? Just bloody do it, man. ESPECIALLY if it poses little to no financial risk, there really is nothing to lose. The secret, in my opinion, is intent and patience. Don’t just do something to make money. Do something you love, something you’re willing to work at, something you’re willing to NOT make money off of in the beginning…and I truly believe it will all fall into place. People can sense your intent. And if it’s genuine, it gives you an edge like no other.
How has lock down affected you and your team?
I don’t have a team, but the lockdown has affected everything in my sphere quite brutally. Secondhand News has thankfully mostly kept going throughout the lockdown because I had some stock in storage.
Everything else though? Forget about it. Theatre shows were cancelled the day of the very first address – including the shows I was working on, and the international tour of a musical I booked that was meant to start in July.
Fitness classes – cancelled.
Music gigs – cancelled.
While I understand and respect the rules, it’s still been really difficult and demotivating, and I definitely would not have coped without a lot of support from my family and my Secondhandnews clients.
The Secondhandnewsies didn’t bat an eyelid at having to wait weeks for their parcels, they continued to show their support and many of them reached out to see how I was doing personally. It was quite wonderful. I consider myself very lucky. I hope they don’t turn their backs on me now for once again calling them “Secondhandnewsies” against their will, but i’m like Gretchen Wieners and I WILL make it happen.