Annually since 2004, how the sale started
In 2004, two Wellington women, Lynn McKenzie and Ruth Bruce, decided it was time they did some serious clearing out of their wardrobes. This raised the question of what to do with the items they no longer wanted. Both Lynn and Ruth were past trustees of the New Horizons for Women Trust, an organisation that provided financial help to women in challenging financial or social circumstances, and who were enrolled in higher education second time around. There seemed to be perfect synergy between second chance education and second chance clothing and so the first sale was organised with proceeds to go to New Horizons. Lynn and Ruth spread the word amongst their friends and colleagues using email and Lynn’s home quickly filled to bursting with clothes and accessories which sold like hot cakes on the sale day.
The cause – supporting second chance education for women – struck a chord with donors and buyers alike, as did the ‘pre-loved fashion’ concept which was still a novelty at the time. Women fortunate enough to have good quality clothes felt good about doing something useful with their wardrobe mistakes and the garments they no longer wore. And the sale introduced a wide range of women to the joys of buying good quality fashion items for so much less than they would pay on the high street. It was the ultimate in re-cycling!
The sale was such a success that another was organised the next year, and the next, and the Pre-loved Women’s Fashion Sale is now a well established annual event.
A winning formula
The sale has gone from strength to strength as the network of donors has grown and the reputation of the sale, as somewhere to get great quality fashion at rock bottom prices, has taken off. Each year the queue outside the door starts earlier and earlier as those in the know prepare to be first in, best dressed.
The sale venue has changed to accommodate the growing size of the sale, we have introduced Eftpos and we now have a website. But the original formula, established by Lynn and Ruth, is largely unchanged and still works brilliantly.
Some women have come from out of the Wellington area every year since the first sale. In 2015 a group of women from Australia happened on the sale while they were in Wellington. They plan to return.