Our online store has been at the forefront of online op shopping, since November 2019. Beginning with an eBay and Instagram store and recently transforming into a dedicated website, our online op shop lists high-end and designer pieces, collectibles, and antiques.
By honoring the donation and raising up to 50 per cent more than what can be sold in-store, our Sacred Heart Mission online store not only posts Australia wide but helps raise much needed funds for Sacred Heart Mission, especially during extended periods of lockdown when our 12 stores around Melbourne remain closed.
The online store recently welcomed Mikaila Schedny and Paloma Mackenzie Davey as our dedicated Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator. Both Mikaila and Paloma bring a wealth of retail, second-hand and antique experience to the store, and together they have helped to transform the online store into Sacred Heart Mission’s 13th op shop.
July and August have been a busy and exciting time for the new team. To share more about what the online team has been up to, we sat down with Mikaila to ask a few questions.
How does the Sacred Heart online store work?
The online store curates a carefully researched selection of donations from across our 12 Sacred Heart Mission op shops. Op shop staff put aside donations that they feel are special; items that can fetch a higher price online, are unique, sought after or more saleable to an online demographic. The online team collect this stock, research and value items, photograph, and list goods online, marketing the store across social media platforms. Online purchases are lovingly wrapped and posted out across Australia – educating people about Sacred Heart Mission’s amazing work along the way.
What kind of customer shops online?
We have a lot of customers who also enjoy our op shops but love being able to op shop from home, especially during lockdown. We have so many return customers from right across Australia who purchase items from us weekly! It’s nice seeing the familiar names pop up every week. We’ve recently had multiple requests to post items to New Zealand, so we’ll be launching our New Zealand postage next month, in October 2021!
What are the highlights of your job?
We often get messages from our customers in relation to an item they have purchased from us, whether as an email with a story or a picture of them in their new vintage designer clothing piece. Seeing an appreciation of second-hand, whether it be for nostalgic or sustainable purpose, is a definite highlight.
We also love listing highly collectible items as many will sell within seconds! A recent high-end jacket sold for $400 within 30 seconds of posting. We also just sold an art deco lamp for $1,000 – we're lucky that Store Coordinator Peter Callaghan spotted this light at our Grey Street store in St Kilda and had a ‘good feeling’ about its origins! We love the collaboration process from op shops to online.
What makes our online store different to other online stores?
I would say the main difference is our curation. We really are competing with other vintage and antique retail sites. A lot of work goes into each listing – each item is cleaned, steamed, photographed, and researched thoroughly. We keep an eye on trending items and fashion cycles and try to reflect the individuality of our stores. Our website is current, with feminine, masculine and unisex styles instead of definitive Men’s and Women’s sections. We’re really focused on style, design and creativity.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Our days vary but always include listing new stock on the website, packaging and posting orders and lots and lots of research. On an extra lucky day, we visit some of our stores to meet with Coordinators and collect stock.
Right now, we’re working from the noticeably quiet and empty Grey Street op shop. Our days include spontaneous dancing, singing to keep our days fresh and less repetitive during lockdown.
We really miss the op shop team and especially miss the hustle and bustle of the Grey Street store.
What’s the best part of your job?
To be honest the best part of the job is the humbling experience of seeing the quality of the items donated to Sacred Heart Mission. Being able to honor these donations and raise funds for services like the Meals Program and the Women’s House is really humbling. All the purchases made through the online store help to make a real difference in the lives of people experiencing homelessness.
Where do you see the future of the online store?
The only way is up for us! Our profits continue to grow each month and we’re so excited to have reached record sales in August. As we continue to grow our knowledge and inventory, we will also see our team grow and the scope for the things we can do.
Recently, we have been working to be even more sustainable. We have changed our packaging to include biodegradable postage satchels and recycled wrapping paper. We’ve also launched our online op shop vouchers so customers can gift their family and friends a sustainable present.
We’re really excited to continue exploring different ways to market our store, reach new customers and support Sacred Heart Mission’s incredible work.