Having a closet from hell might not sound like a clutter-induced headache waiting to happen, but for one local woman, it’s opened the doors for a new career.
The pandemic caused countless people to lose their jobs, and Kelsey Hellyer was no exception. Finding herself jobless after nine years of working in fashion, she began to consider what it was she really wanted to do.
“And so I just thought, you know what, I have a lot of clothes, so I'll just try selling them. I put my own closet online and it just took off from there,” Hellyer said. “And that's basically how Closet From Hell started.”
The site was so successful that she ran out of clothes to sell from her own closet, and started sourcing from vintage warehouses.
Now, the online vintage store is chock-full of Harley Tees, Levis, and other vintage gems sourced from all over North America.
Owning her own business is something Hellyer has always wanted to do - but not something that was feasible while she was still employed.
“I loved my job, and it was not something I could do alongside that job. So getting fired pushed me to start my own business,” she said.
Hellyer launched the site in early January and hasn’t looked back since; she’s already raking in enough money for it to qualify as a full-time gig.
“This is what I love doing, so it’s nice that it can be a full-time job. It helped that I was a buyer in the past, so the past nine years I've really learned like what sells what doesn't.”
To stay on top of things, she spends hours scouring Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram hunting for the latest trends. But being on-trend is not the only thing she looks for when selecting pieces to sell.
“I try to find the cool unique pieces that people get excited to find,” she said, adding that she also looks for items that will last a long time, and that she only selects higher quality pieces by looking at the material content.
“I'm making sure it's mostly cotton or like organic cotton and not so much the fast fashion brands,” she said.
“Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. The workers are paid next to nothing and have horrible working conditions, and the quality of clothing just isn’t good at all,” she said. “There’s also a lot of plastic in the materials so it’s way harder to break down in landfills.”
But she says vintage pieces have “stood the test of time,” meaning they’re made to last and won’t fall apart the same way fast-fashion pieces will.
“With most fast-fashion pieces, they could rip at the seams after one wear, and then most people throw it out. Fast fashion companies are trying to keep up with trends so they’re producing new collections constantly pressuring us to buy more because it’s so cheap.”
As such, Hellyer wants to change the culture on social media, where she says people wear things once for a picture and then throw it away.
“I’m trying to show people that you can have cute outfits for Instagram, TikTok, and your everyday life with vintage or thrifted pieces, or choosing to buy less, but buy high quality pieces that will last so much longer,” she said.
While she would like a brick and mortar store one day, for now, expect some pop-up shops around KW throughout the summer - one at Lot 42 and another at Pretty Vintage in Cambridge.