Sunday, 30 September 2007

book review: part 1

A month ago or so I included some information about the release of this great book, Inventory: on op shops by Enza Gandolfo and Sue Dodd from Victoria University.

I have really been enjoying looking through this book, particularly because it focuses on some western suburbs op shops which are outside my neighbourhood. There are many ideas and themes in the book that resonate which I plan to share here over the course of a few posts.

How many times have you proudly been able to say "I bought it at the op shop" when someone compliments what you're wearing. That's how Sue and Enza met over the photocopier, each admiring the other's skirt. I complimented a colleague at work last week on her lovely fine green knit - she bought it at the op shop - hooray! A lot of what I wear to work comes from the op shop including a nice little Alannah Hill skirt, black, simple with a flounce at the back which gets noticed every now and then.

Grab a copy of this book or request that your local library buy it and share the op shopping message!

the oppe shoppe

Many thanks to readers Debra and my poppet who have kindly pointed out to me that the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia run an op shop on Hawthorn Road, Caulfield, near the corner of Glen Eira Road, known better to me as the Oppe Shoppe (pronounced oppie shoppie for good measure). I have made a few good purchases there, not least of all this terrific stencil printed t-shirt for my little girl. Sometimes I dress her in pink but I also like to dress her in modern graphic pieces and this one is just right.

Debra let me know that she bought a good navy blue pant suit there and that they often have great shoes. My poppet wrote that the shop has a good wig selection and lots of lovely holiday knick knacks from Israel. Has anyone else bought something good there?

Friday, 28 September 2007

So... on the Mornington Peninsula

I hail from Langwarrin...on the way to Phillip Island via the South-Eastern, but you get to turn off before Hastings (PHEW!) and we have LOTS of op-shops. When I lived in Seaford, my local was a very average place with lots of second-hand cheap clothes and the occasional random silk kimono. And terrible books.
Now I call Frankston my local... cos there's HEAPS of variety and not a little quality. Of course, Savers is a good place to start. Once you've thoroughly (and that can take an hour. Maybe two.) searched their racks, you should walk out with minimum one pair jeans (Bettina Liano floats my boat, but I've stumbled across the occasional pair of sass&bide's and mavi and lee and....yeah, ok) a skirt (lots of choice, all $5.99 unless otherwise tagged) and some books. I read a LOT. Then, head over to the Red Cross shop. They get a lot of new and ex-shop stock. One day and girlfriend and I were trapped. We spent a hundred bucks between the two of us and left with about $800 RRP worth of dresses. If you don't mind a few tiny (seriously tiny) repairs, this shop can be your best friend. Two doors down is the Brotherhood store. Can be very hit and miss, but I've found some wonderful seventies' dresses here and boots that I will love until I die. On the back side of Quayside...a tiny tired little shop has lots of jumpers. Well, that's how it always seems. on the station side of Quayside three more shops sit in close proximity. One's pretty new and has TONS of cheapie stuff (and maternity, last time I was in. ) One's got good books, and the other never know. I think that's my favorite thing about op-shopping (other than the thrill of getting a bargain, like the breast pump below!) ... it takes determination and effort, but the random rewards are great.
Further down the Peninsula...Mount Eliza has three op-shops, all of which have great potential. I don't think I've ever returned home empty-handed after a sojourn there. Of course, it's also the suburb of hairdressers, so you can kill two birds with one stone! A little further down... Mornington is not the op-shoppers' best friend, but you can start at one end of the Main Street with St.Peter's Church op-shop, walk most of the way up to another, cross over and visit the Animal Aid op-shop ...then have a great lunch before you get back in your car. Where else???
Rosebud has a lovely big place that is always good for books. Blairgowrie has another big place with lots of tee-shirts (well, usually) and Sorrento has two op-shops which I visit on a weekly basis and never come away from empty-handed. Someone down there must be a proof-reader, because I keep finding uncorrected proofs and getting to read them well ahead of their release dates! So... in the area? go op-shopping! Hope I'm not boring you all....

Thursday, 20 September 2007

josies is my local

My local op shop that is. Situated here in Balaclava, around the corner at 255 Carlisle Street, I believe that Josies (tel. 9527 2929; M-F 9:00-4:00) is Melbourne's only Jewish op shop. Just last week they had a wooden musical box with a picture of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall on it. Not sure what the tune was though.

Josies is a small op shop - clothing, some toys, books, shoes, some homewares, some linen, some bric-a-brac, no furniture. I can't honestly say that their stock is great but I do mostly find something whenever I go in. (How often is that? hmmm, weekly.) Some good buys have been: a copy of Hanging Out with Cici by Francine Pascal* which I read as a child and am storing for baby bear; a fine knit cabled men's woollen jumper for Tim from Saba; a black wool Valentino skirt made in France with a tiny waist that will be refashioned; and best of all, the boob trumpet, ah, that is, the breast pump. This device has been a life saver and cost me only $8 (they retail for around $90) - it does actually count as a best find ever. Kudos to my neighbour who spotted it in the window and alerted me.

So Josies is certainly worth a look - all that they are missing is an apostrophe.

* Yikes, I just learned that Francine Pascal was the author of all those Sweet Valley High books, which I didn't read. Cici will never be the same.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Inventory: on op shops

Media Release

Op shopping is a fixture on the Melbourne cultural scene, and Victoria University lecturers Enza Gandolfo and Sue Dodd, bring their combined skills as writer and artist to the production of a book and exhibition that uncover the charm of these local treasures: the community op shop and its volunteers and patrons.

Book Launch and Exhibition Opening

Find out everything you’ve wanted to know about op shops at the book launch of Inventory: on op shops and art installation exhibit opening on Thursday 13 September from 6-8pm at Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, Maribyrnong. Melbourne author Alice Pung will be on hand to launch the book.

Inventory: on op shops uses excerpts from the interviews, vignettes, poetry, photographs and video production stills to take the reader into the op shop world – both front and back of shop. It explores the many reasons people op shop – necessity, bargain hunting, recycling – as well as the many stories that reside in the donated goods waiting for a second life.Contact Enza Gandolfo on 9919 2611.

Op Shop Reading

Saturday 15 September 2-4pm, Living Museum of the West, Pipemakers park off Warrs Rd. Writers will read stories and poems inspired by 'op shops'. If you have a story you would like to read contact Enza Gandolfo on 9919 2611.

Artistic Events

Plastic Bags a live op shop pop performance by Sue and Phil Dodd, on 22 September from 1-4 pm. Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Score - Vintage Yellow Kitchen Dresser

thrift score, originally uploaded by gusseting.

Like Justin Heazlewood, who lamented the state of op shopping in the latest issue of Frankie, I too had just about given up on op shops, remembering the wonder days of rocking in and scoring stuff almost every time. The senior ladies were lovely, friendly souls, who'd often help me in my quest for mixmaster beaters, fowler bowls, or whatever fad had befallen me at the time. These days, it's more count yourself lucky to find something and get service.
Sometimes, you can win. Kitchen dressers at a decent price aren't easy to come by - Abbotsford was recently selling one for $400.00 (yep, we checked, and it was the right price). Finding a decent dresser with cute vintage typography, trashy rose print contact on the inside, and lemony yellow faux padded leather backsplash was kinda special.
The lesson learnt here (that we keep on learning...) is that any op shop can deliver the goods - it's the frequency of checking the place out that will ensure that you score.

Monday, 10 September 2007

half-price sale

News just in from Infoxchange Australia's Community News:

Knox Community Care Warehouse is a local welfare agency, providing support to those in need within Knox and surrounding areas.
Knox Community Care Op Shop is a warehouse full of great bargains in clothing, shoes, furniture, bric-a-brac, books, records, electrical, crafts and loads more! We are having a Half Price Sale with all goods, excluding furniture and the 50 cent rack, at half price.

When: Monday 10 to Friday 14 September, 10am to 3pm.
48 Parkhurst Drive, Knoxfield 3180 (Melways 64 C11).

Cash sales only - no eftpos / credit card facility. Limited parking. All proceeds go to Knox Community Care programs.

For more information, call 03 9887 4268.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

profile - Vini at Sacred Heart Mission

Name – Vini

Position – Assistant Manager

Shop - Sacred Heart Mission op shop, East St Kilda

Vini has been Assistant Manager at the Sacred Heart Mission op shop in East St Kilda since it opened on 10 November 2006. The shop is open seven days a week (yes folk, Sunday shopping!) and is staffed by around 15 volunteers.

Vini likes the variety of working at the shop – you never know what stock is coming in, there are things that are very old, things that are modern, and heaps of stuff in between, a real cross-section of wares. It's important to Vini to make these things available to people who are setting up a home in the area but don't have a lot of money to spend.

In the last financial year the three Sacred Heart Mission op shops raised $1.4 million that goes towards the Mission's work feeding up to 600 homeless people every day. Vini also works a day each week at the Mission's headquarters in St Kilda and gets great satisfaction from knowing that his work has helped to bring comfort to those who are in need.

Vini puts a lot of effort into maintaining the Inkerman Street location's boutique feel – the shop is neat and tidy, the stock is carefully chosen (not everything donated finds its way onto the shop floor but it does get passed on to other charities) and well presented, and there will be a selection of hats available shortly for the Spring Carnival. Indeed, the stock is great which is why this is one of my absolute favourite op shops. I have bought Camper shoes, Puma sneakers, a Ben Sherman shirt, Scanlan & Theodore trousers and Levis jeans amongst many other things. Aside from clothing there is also kitchen ware, accessories, bric-a-brac and a great range of books in stock. Add to all of this the fantastic window displays which are a favourite part of the job for Vini and this is possibly the best op shop in the area.

The Sacred Heart Mission op shops are at:

Inkerman Street (corner of Hotham Street), East St Kilda;

86-88 Chapel Street, Windsor; 9529 2455

87A Grey Street, St Kilda;

And they're looking for a fourth location – spare shopfront anyone?

Sunday, 2 September 2007

op in the city

Back when I was at high school we would rush down Chapel Street after school to catch the Salvation Army op shop before it closed at 4:00pm. School holidays were a bonus when you could actually go to all those op shops that were otherwise denied to you because they were closed on the weekend. There would be a train ride out to an otherwise nondescript suburban shopping strip, just for the sake of visiting the op shop.

Op shop opening hours are more commercially aligned these days, Saturday trading is the norm and there are even a fabulous few which are open on a Sunday. And city workers do not despair, there is a great Salvation Army op shop up the top of Bourke Street, just about opposite Pellegrini's. It's open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. I tried on some Scanlan&Theodore and some Saba trousers there the other day - they didn't fit so they might still be there ...

Remember, addresses, telephone numbers and a growing list of opening hours for every op shop in Melbourne are listed over there in the side bar. Just click.