How this Australian consignment chain is making secondhand shopping more desirable than buying new



Resale is the new vintage.

Nestled on the busy Commercial Road just steps away from the Prahran Market lays a treasure trove of pre-loved fashion. But this isn’t your nanna’s local op shop. With aisles packed full of Prada, Armani, Arnsdorf and Comme des Garcons, stepping into the sleek space feels more like you’re entering a designer boutique than a second-hand store.

And that’s exactly what co-founders Monique Thomas and Olivia Mangan envisioned at just 25, when they opened up the first Goodbyes store in Brunswick. “We became friends working together in the second-hand industry in New Zealand,” Monique tells me. “After seeing a gap in the market for a resale service in Australia we moved to Melbourne, started saving and in 2015 opened our first location. We’ve worked together almost every day since.”

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Formerly known as Recycle Boutique, its latest iteration south of the river contains sophisticated, teal-green sections behind COVID-safe glass for customers to drop off their pre-loved items. Unlike regular op shops or charity shops, Goodbyes actually gives shoppers a cut of the profit made off their goods. The experienced team selects what they will resell based on quality and condition and sends an itemised price list to your email, generally within a week, depending on wait times.

Once you’ve received the price list, the items will go to the shop floor after 24 hours, where, once sold, you’ll receive 50 per cent (excluding GST) of the profit. If the items don’t sell, you can come and collect them before deciding what to do with them next. This practice is unique to a second-hand store and Monique and Olivia
hope that it will help customers think more about the circular fashion economy.

“For us, Goodbyes is about making secondhand shopping more desirable than buying new. Buying second-hand is an incredibly effective way that we as consumers can lower our impact on the environment, and we are committed to keeping this as our main focus,” says Olivia. It’s clear after opening its third location in the same city that Melburnians are big on second-hand shopping and Olivia tells me they’ve seen a clear rise in people entering the circular fashion economy.

“It’s amazing how wide the appeal of second-hand shopping is. We are able to offer unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as everyday wear, and we are really lucky to be able to offer that.” With other second-hand resellers like Gen Z favourite Depop taking up a large chunk of the market, Goodbyes is focusing more on its in-store experience.

“Competition is always a good thing to see because it means that more people are joining the circular economy and doing things that are going to make a positive impact on the industry,” Olivia says. “Depop is quite different to what we do. We focus on being able to see those pieces and touch and feel them and make a considered purchase by being able to try it on. We see that as a really important thing when shopping second-hand.”

Due to COVID forcing its Prahran doors shut just two days after opening in March 2020, Goodbyes quickly moved to selling online but decided to end that when lockdown lifted so it could focus on each stores’ in-person experience. “Because the stores are so unique to each community we put them in it’s really exciting to open in new places – it’s also about being accessible and being an alternative to buying new,” says Olivia.

The accessibility comes in the form of pieces ranging from $20 to $1000, with many styles and sizes on offer. “As long as a garment is in good condition and good quality we’re happy to take a look at it. We try to keep our curation quite broad to cater to lots of different styles and we also have staff constantly learning and looking at what’s selling, so we can stay on top of trends, particularly for our younger customer base. We have local labels, international designers, unique vintage along with well-made basics too,” Olivia tells me.

When asked about their next moves, Monique says, “We’ve always wanted to grow throughout Australia and have been really motivated to learn and create something we can be proud of. We try not to do anything we don’t completely understand or believe in.” With their eyes set on opening up a store for stylish Sydneysiders soon, it’s clear that Monique and Olivia are setting a strong precedent for the Australian pre-loved, resale market.

To find out more about selling with Goodbyes, head here.

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