Shopping for a cause

September 20, 2017

Helen Jones’ passion for fashion has resulted in more than $5000 being raised for charity through her ‘backyard boutique’.

Several years ago the Howlong resident looked at selling some excess clothing she had in storage for almost ten years.

Helen headed to the Albury Rotary Market where she had great success.

“There was a lot of interest at my first market and it sort of grew from there,” she said.

“I enjoyed the social and creative side of presenting the clothes and speaking with people.”

Her focus has been on raising funds for Save the Children, which she has been a long-time donor.

“I was a contributor to Save the Children anyway, so I thought about mixing my passion for shopping with raising funds directly for the cause,” Helen said.

Save the Children is an international non-governmental organisation that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.

“It’s a great charity organisation and a minimum of 20 per cent of the profit from my sales goes to the charity and I invest a lot back into The Clothing Carousel,” she said.

“It just depends on the event I am doing and the cost to deliver the event, so if I am selling flowers or plants through Facebook then 100 percent of my profit, for example, goes to charity.”

It is not unusual for Helen to have women drop around to her place on the regular for wine and cheese while searching through the racks of clothing and tables of accessories.

Between pop-up sales and selling at markets around the region, Helen is very busy with The Clothing Carousel.

It’s not just women’s clothing either, there’s always a variety of items for sale and for different ages, styles and sizes.

“I always thought it was just a hobby because I am not operating it as a business as such, it’s just one of those things that make me happy and I have met some fantastic people through it,” she said.

“There’s a great social side to it and it’s a bit of fun for us mums as well and has been really well received.”

Helen loves scouring op-shops and charity sales both in the area and while on holidays overseas.

“I can scan the racks quite quickly and pick out some great pieces that are in new condition or near-new condition,” she said.

“About 95 percent of the items I purchase are through op-shops, charity sales in Melbourne and some of the clearance sales, some lovely people also donate some bits and pieces.”

Helen said there was a focus on new or near-new clothing.

“A small proportion of the items on the rack are new, but if not I try to make it look like it’s near-new so that people are getting a quality garment at a fraction of what it would cost them,” she said.

“You can afford to have a bit of fun and some colour – I am all about colour.”

Helen even makes the price tags by hand and some of the jewellery, seeing it as another creative activity for her.

For those interested in supporting Helen, follow The Clothing Carousel on Facebook and check out which markets she will be attending or the next pop-up shop.

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