Helen Jones returned from holidays recently with three extra pairs of shoes and 10 pieces of clothing.
Mind you, none of the items were destined for her wardrobe.
Instead they had been lovingly collected for the “backyard boutique” she runs to raise money to help disadvantaged children.
The Howlong resident started her clothing-with-a-cause campaign several years ago after deciding she wanted to “give back” to the community.
She began by selling off some gear at local markets and, as a long-time Save the Children’s donor, focused her fundraising efforts there.
The idea quickly grew vintage-clad legs and The Clothing Carousel was born, with more than $5000 raised for charity to date.
“I believe you have to be the change you want to see,” said Ms Jones, whose “real job” is as an environmental projects officer with Indigo Shire Council.
“It’s easy to be complacent but if we all give back in little ways … every dollar helps make a difference.”
Ms Jones now sells her “new, vintage and pre-loved garments” at pop-up shops, markets and private fundraisers across the region.
She said people were drawn to the philosophy of The Clothing Carousel as well as its affordability.
“It’s a hobby that nurtures both sides of yourself,” Ms Jones laughed.
“Hey, if you like shopping (and let’s face it many of us do), why not shop for a cause?
“I also like the idea of re-purposing interesting and quality items to reduce our footprint on the world.”
Ms Jones loves scouring the countryside for pieces to add to the collection, although admits her house is often bursting at the seams.
“If something catches my eye or I spot a gorgeous fabric, I just can’t walk past it,” she said.
“I don’t just shop for me – there are items for all ages, styles and sizes.”
The business has not only proven a creative outlet for Ms Jones (“I even make the price tags by hand”) but a wonderful community networking tool.
“I’ve had great support from family and friends and have also been invited to do pop-up shops for other charities.
“It’s the flow-on effect of little acts of kindess.”