Q&A Vintage with Love founder, Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly on literacy and secondhand shopping

by | Sep 13, 2021

Leigh Ord and Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly founded Vintage with Love in 2013 to contribute to solving the literacy crisis in South Africa. Soon afterwards, Debbie Smuts joined the team in Cape Town. With the founders mutual love for fashion, they decided on hosting an annual sale of gently worn fashion for literacy charities. Adapting to current circumstances, Vintage with Love now hosts smaller pop ups and sells online.  (It is hosting a pop up at Sandton City until Wednesday 15 September 2021. See details here.)

We caught up with Jacquie.

What exactly does Vintage with Love do?

We collect gently-worn fashion (not jumble) from our growing tribe of Vintage with Love supporters, enlist volunteers to help us sort it to ensure a sale of quality fashion and sell it either at pop up sales or online. All the money raised is donated to charity organisations.

Who are the beneficiaries?

The charities we support include The Link, Community Assisted Schools, Realema Teacher Intern Programme, Kidz 2 Kidz, Uphawu Community Development Initiative, Partners for Possibility, Chic Mamas, Little Artists, Shine and Project Playground.

How do you collect and ensure that you have quality clothes?

Over the years we have developed a super-generous community of supporters who follow us on social media, who help to spread the word and regularly clear their wardrobes to donate to us. While we will accept all clothing donations, we take our sorting process very seriously to ensure the good quality clothing is what ends up on the sale or online. Clothes that are not good enough for Vintage with Love are donated to charity so nothing goes to waste.

How many items of clothing do you receive monthly?

It’s hard to say how many clothes we receive or have received over the years. But at our biggest sales we have had well over 3000 garments on the floor. And that isn’t counting shoes and bags and accessories! We’ve moved many thousands of clothes through the Vintage with Love system!

How are your online sales going? Why do you need pop-ups?

Online sales are going very well and the appetite for online shopping has definitely grown in recent years. We are so happy that we have been able to continue raising money for our charities through the Covid era when we had to cancel our big Joburg sale in 2020. We do anticipate holding pop up sales going forward as they are a great way to spread the word about Vintage with Love and there is nothing quite like the buzz of a Vintage with Love sale. But like everything, we are continually evolving the Vintage with Love experience so that it works for our audience and maximises our presence in the growing vintage clothing market.

What are the most memorable items of clothing received?

The most memorable donations are sadly the bags of dirty rugby socks and old pyjamas! They certainly add laughter to the sorting! But we’ve also had beautiful moments like vintage handbags with old business cards in the zip up compartment and exquisite wedding dresses and imported items that all have a story to tell. And there are plenty of shrieks of delight when designer Chanel and Dior items pop up on the sorting table.

What sells best?

Anything with a designer label, handbags, jeans and Zara!

What do you do with clothes you can’t sell?

We bag them and sell to street vendors at a nominal fee and we donate to charity.

Any tips for successful secondhand shopping?

Buying good quality, gently-worn fashion is a great way of buying items you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. It’s also a brilliant way of finding once-off treasures that no-one else will have. Many of our supporters travel and buy their clothes overseas so that’s your chance to buy something from a boutique in Rome or Paris that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to yourself.

 

  • Images: Supplied
  • Pop up details: Sandton City Banking Mall, 8th Floor, The Atrium, 10am – 3pm
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