By harnessing the popularity of online shopping with the exhilaration of op-shop bargain gems, Griffith University researchers are opening a new phase in their zero-waste campaign.
Online store design lead Dr Ville Lahtinen says the trial emerged out of a successful pop-up op-shop in Cannon Hill, curating affordable vintage clothing from charity op-shop partners to create a high street fashion vibe in-store.
Dr Lahtinen said during the pop-up store’s operation he noticed many sales were happening on social media.
“I would say about 25% of our stock sold because people would send a direct message based on an Instagram story we posted.
“I saw an opportunity to add depth to our project with an online store that’s open 24/7 but still carries the same principles of zero waste and affordable pre-loved vintage clothing.”
Building an online fashion powerhouse with an important message
O-it’s prime directive is to teach consumers about quality donations with a simple two-bag sorting system that have become popular fashion items in themselves.
After a two-week run the in person pop-up store raised $1200 for charity and more than 178 kilos of clothes were donated. Data showed 90% of clothes received were good enough to be put straight back onto the rack, which is significantly higher than rates for clothes donated to charities.
Dr Lahtinen says the O-it online store and social media accounts will drive home the pre-sorting message while attracting a younger demographic that may have never considered themselves op-shoppers.
National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) Vice President Terry O’Neill says pre-sorting reduces costs for charities and the amount of goods going to landfill.
“It is probably early days, but there is no doubt in my mind that the research program we have with Griffith is starting to work,” said Mr O’Neill who is also CEO of Link Vision an independent Brisbane based charity.
“It is probably early days, but there is no doubt in my mind that the research program we have with Griffith is starting to work”
Dr Lahtinen said adapting to the new normal will help charities and consumers through tough times. But focusing on sustainability will be positive for the environment beyond our recovery.
“We’re trialling a number of strategies in order to better understand people’s behaviour and learn what works to support our charity partners. We want our partners to have real world data showcasing the benefits of taking up some of our ideas.”
The O-it store will open to the public Friday, 15 May at 6 pm (AEST).