Hopping into the op-shop scene

News News & events

05 Feb 2020

At a time when sustainable shopping is a top priority for many consumers and ‘Marie Kondo-ing’ your life is common practice, op-shops are becoming the go-to for many savvy shoppers.

Mia Hopping, a third-year architectural student at Ara Institute of Canterbury, is a self-confessed op-shop devotee. However, she admits it can seem easier to make fast fashion purchases when you don’t have the time to hunt through charity shop clothing racks.

To encourage people to buy and sell pre-loved clothing, while minimising the hassle, Hopping came up with the idea for an online op-shop.

“I had the idea for Ophop about a year ago when I realised everyone has loose bits and bobs of clothing which they’ve pushed to the back of their closet and forgotten about. I love op-shopping and I always have, but when you study and work full time you can’t always get out to shops and then you just end up making unsustainable or expensive purchases, or both.”

“I had a bunch of clothing myself that wasn’t necessarily high-end labels or worth much money but I thought it would be great if there was just one platform I could sell it through instead of using something tedious which requires admin, like Trade Me or Marketplace.”

Hopping had the start of a great idea, but knew she needed some business advice and mentoring to make it happen. Last year she approached Te Ōhaka, a partnership between Ara and Ministry of Awesome (MoA).

“I went in and met with Jacob Varghese, Startup Incubation Manager at MoA and ended up entering the Spring Sprint competition.”

The purpose of the Spring Sprint is to encourage Ara students who have an entrepreneurial idea- whether it’s for a product, social enterprise, or a business - to turn that idea into reality with the support of the best and brightest minds from the Christchurch business world.

Hopping won the competition, showing the most idea progression out of the eleven other Ara students who participated.

Mia Hopping with Spring Sprint judges and mentors, Michael Durie from Marketing Association (left) and Jacob Varghese from Ministry of Awesome (right).

“I went from initially having an idea, to at the end being able to say, ‘I’ve got a little space at Saltlane Studios for my clothing and I’m building a website’- I think they wanted to see how much more it could evolve.”

Since winning Spring Sprint Hopping has focused on marketing Ophop online via social media and has continued to meet with Varghese at Te Ōhaka for weekly mentoring sessions. Her friends and family continue to supply her with clothes to sell and she was able to hold a stall at the Conscious Christmas markets late last year.

“It’s been a really great journey doing Spring Sprint - learning all the budgeting and stuff - it kind of turns it from a dream into reality. It really was just a priceless experience for me.”

Hopping is now in her final year of her Bachelor of Architectural Studies and is interested in following a career with her degree.

“As much as I love Ophop I still really like doing architecture, especially commercial projects, and I think with my skills it would be really cool to open some kind of big sustainable space for Ophop somewhere in the city. So watch this space!”

Ophop Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ophopnz/

Visit the Ophop website: https://www.ophop.co.nz/

Visit the Te Ōhaka website: https://teohaka.co.nz/