A Brisbane woman has found a way to earn $1,200 a week from a side-hustle that only takes up a small amount of time at home.
Yannick James told Yahoo Finance she rents out designer dresses on the sharing economy platform The Volte.
Her experience started with just one Zimmerman dress.
"Since then with all the profit I made… I just kept buying more and more dresses," she said.
"I have 39 [dresses] now. It's been good that I've self-funded it from the profits."
In peak demand periods – like the Melbourne Cup and Christmas seasons – James earns up to $1,200 a week.
"Obviously it's up and down, but I average about $350 a week, which is a lot of money for just 20 to 40 minutes of my time."
The former Virgin Australia flight attendant said that now that she's a mother to seven- and three-year-old children, the flexibility in earning money from home is invaluable.
“I'm still a full-time mum but I'm earning a wage without having to work for 30 to 40 hours," she said.
“I have a bit of a system now. I pre-buy my postage packs and once the kids are in bed I'll see if I have any bookings… It doesn't take me any more than 10 minutes to organise an order.”
What people want
The secret to James' success seems to be her ability to pick early the fashions that will be in hot demand in Australia.
"The last four months I have purchased this dress that came up on Instagram… and I could see that it would be really popular [in Australia] so ordered them from the US," she told Yahoo Finance.
"It's really popular with the teen and 20s markets – I'm in my 40s so I wouldn't wear it personally. I've started buying stuff I can see that would rent really well."
And the profits from the rentals provide her income to add to her own wardrobe.
Dresses worn by celebrities on Instagram are also set for an explosion in rental demand.
“I tend to buy dresses that sell out really quickly. People want to wear it but they can't get a hold of it so they would choose to rent.”
The formula James has settled on for designer dresses is to set the rental price so that it's about a sixth of purchasing. After six rentals, she breaks even and starts making a profit.
“With anything that's at the lower end [that cost] under $300, I just charge $50 plus $45 for postage and cleaning. That keeps it under the $100 mark.”
From side-hustle to career
What started as a way to earn some spare cash turned into a business – and now it's become a career.
“I have enrolled with the Australian Style Institute for a masters in fashion styling, which I'll start doing this year.”
"I have been told I can spot things that are popular, before they start becoming really popular."
James' venture has parallels to Adelaide rental business 808 Threads, which Yahoo Finance reported was started by a woman frustrated with the lack of higher-sized designer outfits.
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