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Side hustle earning Aussie mum $15,000 a month

If you have designer clothes collecting dust in your wardrobe, you could be making bank.

Karla Abounader and her side hustle business.
Karla Abounader is using her side hustle to help cover her rising mortgage repayments. (Source: Supplied)

Karla Abounader started renting out her wardrobe five years ago and is now making up to $15,000 a month from the lucrative side hustle.

The Sydney mum, who also co-owns a high-altitude gym, has roughly 250 items available for rent on peer-to-peer dress-rental platform The Volte, including from popular labels like Alex Perry, Monot and Madga Butrym.

She started the side hustle with a business partner - who she splits the profits with - and has had to increase the amount of work she puts into both the gym and her rental business, due to the rising cost of living.


“Some nights, I’ll work until 11:00pm. It isn’t ideal, but when your bills go up, your income needs to do the same. I’m lucky enough that, by having my own business, it’s within my control to make that happen,” Karla said.

“Yes, I’m permanently tired and I wish I had more time to get fit or to socialise, but you do what you’ve got to do.”

Karla and her business partner see dresses as an investment and will occasionally spend between $500 and $1,000 a week on new stock when needed.

“It sounds a lot and some dresses cost this much, but we see the return on investment. With both jobs, the money I currently make gives me just enough for all the necessary payments [and] just enough room to breathe,” Karla said.

Karla Abounader.
Karla has roughly 250 items listed on the dress rental platform. (Source: Supplied)

More Aussies renting out clothes

The Volte CEO and co-founder Bernadette Olivier said more Aussies were seeing their wardrobe as an investment and cashing in, with 300 new lenders signing up to the platform last month.

“People get to utilise a dress that they would only wear a couple of times,” Olivier said.

“They might rent it out 15 or 16 times. We have had dresses that have been rented out 72 times, with more than 500 users earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.”

The average dress gets rented out nine times, according to The Volte, but some popular dresses can receive hundreds of requests.

‘Catch 22’

Karla said the current cost-of-living crisis had been a “catch 22” situation for her dress-rental business.

“Some hire more due to increasing costs … so they save on purchasing the items. On another note, people aren’t spending money at the moment on clothes and [are] re-wearing their items to save money,” she said.

Karla said her mortgage repayments had more than doubled and she’d had to make changes to her household spending to cope with the rising cost of living.

“Whether I have enough to cover my monthly expenses, and how to generate more income - affects every decision I have to make, 24/7,” she said.

“In Sydney, you feel like a hamster on the wheel, just trying to keep up with the cost of everything.”

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