What we do…
Melbourne Op Shop Tours offers you the most stylish and sustainable of adventures through Melbourne’s second-hand wonderlands. We recognise that everyone wants to look chic in stylish outfits, deck out their place in unique and period homewares, shop sustainably, support charities and guard their hip pocket from the unrelenting mark-ups in retail stores. Our tour guides – all expert op shoppers – will show you the best op shops, second-hand boutiques and vintage stores around and help you style your finds.
Tour groups are kept nice and small to make sure everyone has a chance to pick up some fabulous bargains without having to resort to fighting their fellow op shoppers.
Trust us when we say that there is nothing quite like the thrill of finding something incredible after rifling through racks and racks of clothes or spotting that classic you have been meaning to read jammed between a microwave cookbook circa the 1980s and ‘The Joy of Grilling’.
If this all sounds foreign to you, we are more than happy to teach you the art of rifling through racks and spotting hidden treasures.
A little history…
Melbourne Op Shop Tours is the stylish, sassy and sustainable love-child of Jessica, Richmond and Jenny. The idea was born in 2008, and after a whirlwind of an existence from winning entrepreneurial competitions and making friends on Twitter and Facebook (Scroll down to friend/follow!), we began taking some very lovely groups of op shoppers to treasure troves all over Melbourne in September 2009!
Here and now…
Although we said a sad goodbye to Richmond at the start of 2010, we have since welcomed two wonderful tour guides, Erica and Laura (see below), who have become integral parts of the business.
Say hello to Jess and Jen…
Despite being raised in Kalgoorlie, Jenny has embraced Melbourne and all it has to offer in its entirety since moving here 6 years ago. She has a wealth of knowledge of op shops all over town, and if you’re lucky enough to have her as your tour guide, make sure you also ask her to reveal some of her favourite food and coffee places. While at home, Jenny is normally at ease with a cup of tea, this merely disguises her fabulous ability to throw together a stylish outfit – one that more often than not will contain a piece of clothing discovered in the children’s section of an op shop!
Born and bred in Melbourne, Jess has a sixth sense for op shops and finds them wherever she is in the world. From the charity shops of London to the consignment stores of New York, the thrift shops of San Francisco to the second hand stores of Yogyakarta, Jess can usually be found having a browse of the local second hand treasures. A committed op shopper with a passion for being environmentally friendly Jess has the most extensive op shop wardrobe spanning costumes, ball gowns, office wear and accessories from every decade. Blessed with an exceptional sense of style and imagination, she can often be found outshining more pricey ensembles in an outfit that cost less than lunch.
An intro to our wonderful tour guides…
Erica’s heritage is British. She was born and bought up in Greater London, where her mother introduced her to charity shopping from a young age. Second-hand and vintage fashion developed into a personal interest. She migrated to Melbourne, Australia, six years ago, and soon discovered the wonderful world of op shops. One of Erica’s favourite pastimes is to seek out damaged or out-of-shape clothing in op shops, to refashion and bring back to life by cutting up and sewing. She writes about her second hand finds on her blog Recycled Fashion. Erica is environmentally passionate, and believes new style can be created from old.
Erica is the tour guide on our two Bayside tours, occasionally steps in to run the Inner North or East tours, and frequently helps out with radio, television and other marketing gigs!
Laura is a true Melburnian at heart. She has lived in and scoured op shops all over Melbourne throughout her life, except for a few months in 2011 when she took her search overseas. This experience has led her to believe that London is the only possible rival to Melbourne, charity store-wise.
Laura’s wardrobe is about 90 per cent full of things from op shops. Her passion is finding unusual vintage or designer pieces. You probably wouldn’t want to see her collection of handbags, because they have invaded the wardrobe and are threatening the bedroom now. When she’s not buried in a thrift store, you can often find Laura on her blog A Little Boutique Near Home. Her blog centres on op shopping, with reviews and handy hints for readers.
Rachel is a third generation op shopper. Early on, her Mum and Dad initiated her into the secondhand arts in her hometown of Bendigo, having both been trained by their mothers. And, over the past 17 years, Rachel has been cultivating these skills by training in op shops across Melbourne on a weekly basis. But it’s not all training and hard work. Rachel relishes being able to afford to experiment with new styles and takes great pleasure in knowing that she can look as good, if not better, than someone who has spent 15 times more on their outfit. But Rachel finds the hunt most satisfying of all. The electrifying feeling of potential and possibility upon setting foot into an op shop. Can you feel it too…?
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