Australia’s second-hand trade is booming as people clear out cupboards in lockdown

Alex Leung left his profession in finance to begin re-selling luxurious purses. 

It was a great transfer, the 35-year-old says. 

“Our bag gross sales have tripled throughout coronavirus,” he instructed SBS Information. “Our inbox is consistently flooded out, and we are literally struggling to even course of all of the queries.”

“Lots of people could have misplaced their jobs, so that they’re clearing out their cabinets they usually’re promoting a few of their objects, and a few are fairly helpful.”

Alex Leung traded a career in finance to start his own business.

Alex Leung traded a profession in finance to begin his personal enterprise.


Alex and his spouse Angela dwell near the enterprise, The Purse Affair, within the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley.

Alex comes from an entrepreneurial household who migrated to Australia from Hong Kong. His father gave up a profession as an govt chef and his mom ran a profitable magnificence enterprise. 

“After they migrated in 1991, they gave all that up for us and for the household. We needed to begin once more with nothing. We lived paycheck to paycheck.”

Having watched his household begin over from scratch, working his personal enterprise has develop into a supply of nice pleasure. 

“4 years in the past I transitioned to working this enterprise full-time, and it is grown round 500 per cent yearly by way of income. And we’re nonetheless rising,” he mentioned. 

This month, the couple began gifting undesirable baggage to not-for-profit Fitted for Work, which helps deprived girls into the workforce. Many are survivors of home violence.

“We provide our prospects a voucher for $50 to donate any bag. It does not must be luxurious, it simply must be acceptable.   

“We hope that by giving a girl a purse or an adjunct for an interview, we will empower her to develop into financially impartial.”

Kirsta Hawkins, founding father of Melbourne second-hand clothes retailer Mutual Muse in Brunswick, can be seeing a pointy rise in undesirable garments being provided on the market on-line.

“One of many first issues that everyone does after they’re caught at house and locked down is clear out their bed room and their wardrobes,” she mentioned.

“So everyone seems to be eliminating a number of the stuff that they do not want anymore.”

Kirsta Hawkins with her secondhand clothing in Melbourne.

Kirsta Hawkins together with her second-hand clothes in Melbourne.


Kirsta moved to Australia from Phoenix in America’s southwest eight years in the past. Regardless of having no retail expertise, she has constructed a thriving enterprise throughout two shops.  

Her retailer in Thornbury is quickly closed together with most of Melbourne’s retail sector below the Stage four coronavirus restrictions.

“It is actually unusual to see Brunswick so quiet in the meanwhile as a result of often there are such a lot of buyers strolling round,” she mentioned. “However our on-line gross sales are by way of the roof proper now. Persons are positively spending extra time on their cellphone and on the web.

“Lots of people are out of labor or have much less work, and see second-hand choices as higher worth.”

It’s the identical story in North Sydney the place Bridget Knox runs pre-loved clothes and accessories boutique Studio61.

“This 12 months, throughout the pandemic, it’s been an absolute rollercoaster,” she mentioned. 

“Earlier within the 12 months, we have been very fortunate to get some authorities help, like enterprise grants and JobKeeper, and that enabled us to maintain all people employed and construct a very fabulous on-line platform.

Bridget Knox says recycling secondhand clothing benefits the environment.

Bridget Knox says recycling second-hand clothes advantages the surroundings.

“It’s been a nailbiting time, however on-line gross sales stored effervescent over.

“What we’re discovering now, is that our prospects do not need to go to the mall they usually’re actually completely happy to return and store domestically and to help a neighborhood enterprise.” 

Bridget buys and consigns high quality objects and likewise does her personal repairs to offer a bit of clothes a brand new life.

“We all know that a variety of style leads to landfill, significantly low-quality style. It doesn’t final and cannot be mended, or isn’t value the price of mending,” she mentioned.

“A well-made bag, coat, or pair of footwear could be repaired or cleaned, and any person else can take pleasure in them for years to return. So we imagine that by having a retailer like this, we’re serving to to maintain objects out of landfill.”

On-line market Gumtree, which has seven million month-to-month guests, estimates the second-hand market is value $43 billion yearly.

“That broadly equates to over $5,000 of undesirable objects in each single home,” mentioned managing director Mark Kehoe.

The location lists objects totally free and makes earnings from internet marketing. With rising unemployment and ranging lockdowns throughout the nation, Gumtree has recorded a number of spikes in folks buying on-line.

Gumtree's Mark Kehoe says more Australians are trading online during the pandemic.

Gumtree’s Mark Kehoe says extra Australians are buying and selling on-line throughout the pandemic.


“Through the preliminary nationwide lockdown, there was a rise of 400 per cent in searches for gymnasium tools, barbells and bench presses, whereas folks have been clearly working from house,” he mentioned. 

“As restrictions eased, train shifted from the home to outdoors the home, and we noticed a 65 per cent improve in searches for mountain bikes.

“Throughout Melbourne’s Stage four lockdown, searches are as soon as once more focussed on train tools, musical devices and gaming.”

In accordance with inside Gumtree analysis, tens of millions of Australians are promoting on-line to unencumber money to pay for residing bills, debt, lease or mortgages.

Mr Kehoe mentioned 66 per cent of Australians spent extra time on-line shopping for and promoting throughout lockdown, and with rising unemployment, the pattern is about to proceed.

“On this interval of the pandemic, which results in social disconnection, promoting on-line means that you can join with many various people who find themselves to purchase your product. And that is type of enjoyable as properly.”

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