Gifts that give back

May 7 2017

As consumers, it’s easy to underestimate our power to create change in the world. Yet, our decisions as shoppers make or break businesses. In the same way Femeconomy taught us we can use our consumer power to influence gender equality, we can also use our buying power to help create change in the world by shopping with businesses that are actively giving back.

From looking for ways to weave giving into their existing business model, to operating wholey with the intent of creating social change, there are a growing number of organisations looking to turn their products into good for the world. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, below are seven businesses to shop with to turn your consumer power into gorgeous gifts that give back.

1. Toms

gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: TOMS makes a donation for every product sold. Image Source.

What they sell: TOMS was founded selling footwear, but has since expanded to sunglasses, bags and apparel for women, men and kids.

How they give: Every time a product is purchased from Toms, they give to a person in need. With over 70 million pairs of shoes donated, 445 thousand people’s sight restored, 400,000 weeks of safe water and safe birth services for 70,000 mothers – they are truly doing work you can get behind.

What to buy: Toms currently ships shoes and eyewear to Australia. Their best sellers are their casual canvas classics. Check out the whole range online here.

2. One Night Stand

gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: One Night Stand’s sleepwear range helps young people sleeping rough. Image Source.

What they sell: sleepwear, distributed through General Pants Co.

How they give: Every purchase of One Night Stand sleepwear is a meal for a young person sleeping rough plus 50% of profits are donated to shelter and employment projects.

What to buy: I am loving some of their cami’s and wireless bras. Check out their range online here.

3. Words with Heart

gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: The gorgeous products available at Words with Heart. Image source.

What they sell: stationery and printery.

How they give: each stationery product sold funds a specific number of education days for women and girls in the developing world. When you click on a product you can see how many days will be funded by your purchase.

What to buy: Words with Heart are now offering custom stationery! Business cards, notebooks, notepads and greeting cards, competitively priced and each educating girls. See the options here.

4. Thank You

gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: Thank You donate 100% of products to projects around the world. Image source.

What they sell: water, nappies, cereal and snacks + body products for beebees and mums.

How they give: 100% of Thank You’s profits are given to life-changing food, water and health and sanitation programs around the world. If you want to see more details about the exact project your product is funding, you can enter a special ID code on the website to learn more.

What to Buy: Their body products make gorgeous gifts. See their full range here.

5. Ruby Olive

gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: Ruby Olive have partnered with Cancer Council Queensland. Image Source.

What they sell: Gorgeous jewellery designed to put smiles on faces.

How they give: Ruby Olive are donating a proportion of proceeds from every sale in their Mothers Day collection to Cancer Council Queensland.

What to buy: necklaces, bangles and earrings in bright hues, including some fantastic value packs. Check them out here.

6. She Street

Gifts that give back

Gifts that give back: She Street donate sanitary items to women in need. Image Source.

What they sell: She Street stocks a whole range of apparel and accessories for women.

How they give: for every item sold, they donate a sanitary pack to Share The Dignity to distribute to women who many not otherwise be able to afford it.

What to buy: I recently bought one of their one-size drape tops and am pretty thrilled with it! Check the whole range out here.

7. Witchery

Great Products that Give Back - Witchery

Gifts that give back: Witchery’s White Shirt Campaign supports the OCRF. Image Source

What they sell: apparel, accessories and beauty for women, men and kids.

How they give: Witchery donate everything except GST from the sale of their White Shirts to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

What to buy: a white shirt! Available for women and men here.

Does a company’s social conscience influence your decision to shop with them? Have you bought from any of these companies? Who else should be on this list? Share in the comments below!  

eShakti Review

May 2 2017

Recently I had lunch with a friend who arrived in a gorgeous pink wrap dress. A new mum, she’d been finding it tricky to find designs that flattered and were convenient for breastfeeding. Low and behold she declares her frock is custom made and was entirely affordable. Instant Sublime Find alert – she gave me a card for eShakti which has recently started shipping to Australia and I scampered off to try them!

Today I’m sharing how it all shook out… but first a note: eShakti work with lots of bloggers, providing items in return for review. (This is standard blogger fare and most are very clear with brands that items provided for editorial consideration do not guarantee a positive review, because integrity.) This is not one of those posts. There were a few elements unique to eShakti that made me a little cautious of a reciprocal arrangement if I wasn’t sure it could write something positive… and also, I was genuinely interested in buying from them on the recommendation of my stylish friend. I happily added-to-cart and paid without any disclosure about this blog.

The Concept

eShakti is an online store with a range of designs that are available to order in standard sizes between 0 and 36 (US sizes) OR custom fit to your exact measurements. For $9.95 USD flat rate you can make customisations to the design you selected: both in terms of it being built to your exact measurements and also adjusting elements like neckline, sleeve lengths, hem lengths, pockets.

eShakti Review

eShakti Review: a snapshot of their behind-the-scenes!

While this type of customisation at a dress maker would set you back significant $, the prices are very reasonable, for example most dresses are around $50 USD (before the $9.95 customisation fee). They have a 30 days returns policy on unworn items giving you option for refund or credit or note to help ensure customer satisfaction. eShakti have just started shipping to Australia, giving us access to a unique online shopping experience at an accessible price point.

The Experience

The website is easy to navigate, and after setting up a profile you can store your measurements rather than enter them each time you want to make a custom order. When it says measurements, this is no bust, waist, hips affair – there’s about 20 different measurements around all different parts of your body, with good instructions on how to measure. They suggest having a friend help for accuracy. (I didn’t, but did measure everything twice. Worked out fine.)

The eShakti website suggests orders typically take up to 9 days to make and 4 days to ship, but currently are taking up to 13 days (jeans, skirts and wedding dresses take longer again). I ordered three dresses on 25 March, they was estimated for delivery 6 April and arrived 21 April.

…that is two of the three dresses arrived. I emailed them re: the third dress, after two days I heard back that it was being shipped separately. No shipping details were provided for the third order. It arrived more quickly than I thought, on 26 April. Shipping is with DHL and super quick!

The Products

The element I was most curious about was fit: how accurately can the eShakti team customise their designs? If my experience is anything to go by: very accurately. The dresses I bought all fit very well… and consistently. I chose fit-and-flare designs that would flatter my shape, but trying the dresses on reminded me how well neatly tailored pieces can really work for you.

eShakti Review

eShakti review: this is the Contrast Stripe Hem Belted Cotton Knit Dress, $54.95 USD (before $9.95 customisation). I purchased it as designed, customised to my measurements. 

eShakti Review

eShakti review: this is the embellished polkadot cotton knit dress, $54.95 USD before customisations ($9.95 USD). I changed the neckline and made it slightly longer than standard on the model + had it built to my measurements. 

eShakti Review

eShakti review: this is the V-Neck Cotton Knit Wrap dress, $59.95 USD (before $9.95 USD customisation fee). I didn’t change the design, did have it made to my custom measurements.

The quality is what you’d expect – average. The craftsmanship (Craftswomanship? Craftpersonship? I see these gendered terms everywhere!) is good, the fabric is okay. The dresses are unlined, I haven’t laundered them all yet to see how they fare in the wash. eShakti seem to have a lot of designs in poplin which crushes so instantly, I went for knit fabrics. Even then, they’ll need ironing each wear. For the price, the product is very reasonable, even more so when you consider the customisation. (NB: all the dresses I purchased were on sale slightly and I receive some $ off for my first order plus free shipping.) If you’re looking for a beautifully designed dress, with lining and great fabric, you don’t expect to pay $65ish Australian dollars which is about what my eShakti frocks cost.

The Production

Which leads to a question around how eShakti are making these custom garments at such a low price point. We’ve seen a lot more in recent years around ethical production and asking ‘who made my clothes?’. Luciana at Lilt Blog did a great series on ethical production for Fashion Revolution Week last week if you’re interested in learning more about this topic.

Clearly a point of interest for customers, eShakti have shared some information on their website around the working conditions for their staff in India. The information they provide suggests favourable working conditions verified by the government of India and wages in excess of minimum wage. I read a few other posts exploring this further… minimum wage is extraordinarily low, so a claim of 70% above that rate certainly is no fortune.

My basic read is that the conditions are better than many operators but not amazing. I am not an expert in this field, nor is this info I’m regularly in the habit of looking at (though probably should be) so I’m uncomfortable making a firm call with a bunch of second hand information. If this is something you want to know more about, I encourage you to google more.

The Verdict

I’m not sure if I’ll purchase from them again. The price point is great but I have long ago vowed to value quality over quantity in my wardrobe and have been spoilt with gorgeous quality pieces that show up the eShakti frocks. But, I do love the custom fit and option to choose customisations that work for my body. I think I’ll see how these pieces wear over the next few months and go from there!

If you typically find fit a bit tricky with standard sizing and due to effort/expense/inconvenience don’t regularly use a tailor, eShakti could be a great option. If you are a certain shape for a limited period of time (i.e. breastfeeding like my friend), eShakti could also be a great option. If you have a bridal party or squad in different shapes and sizes or want slightly different designs, eShakti is definitely a good choice at a low price point – just make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery.

Have you bought from eShakti before? Or know someone who has? What was the experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

How to: sell clothes on Facebook buy swap sell pages!

April 12 2017

We are mixing things up today people! I’m taking a step away from our regular programming of buying-fabulous-things to talk about how to make money selling your fabulous things!  On Facebook no less! I recently made $1,507 selling worn clothing and today I am going into precise detail on how you can do it too. 

For the shopping enthusiasts in the audience, the reality is that shopping can be an expensive passion! As glorious as it is to find the *perfect* item, it can seriously take it’s toll on the credit card and sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ <insert sobs>.

Saying no is hard to do… and harder still on holidays.

In my experience, there is no scenario harder to pass up a *perfect* find than shopping on holidays. There is no returning to buy it next week, or waiting ’til it’s on sale. It is a now-or-never scenario and my personal history suggests I opt for now over never 9.9 out of 10 times.

In February, JS and I snuck over to New York for 10 days of amazing big city holiday buzz. While we spent much of our time exploring and learning and hanging out… there is no scenario where I am in NYC for 10 days and don’t shop. So before I went on holidays, I tried something I hadn’t done before… and focused on making some extra $ ahead of time by selling some no-longer-worn pieces from my wardrobe.

How did you sell them?

In the past, I’ve always sold from eBay and while it can be slow, I’ve had reasonable success. However, an extraordinarily resourceful friend recently introduced me to the world of Buy, Swap, Sell pages on Facebook which made selling faster, easier and more profitable!

How do I join a Facebook Buy Swap Sell page?

Buy, Swap, Sell pages are set up on Facebook as groups using the marketplace functionality Facebook has built to support people selling items through their platform. Conveniently, a bunch of groups have popped up that are specifically focused on one particular brand, like Cue which is the one that I sold in. Search the name of the brand you’re looking for with ‘buy sell’ afterward and you’ll likely have a range of hits. Find the group with the most members then like all facebook groups you need to request to join.

How to find Facebook buy swap sell page

Cue Buy & Sell page – select the option with the most members for the biggest audience!

Most groups have a pinned post outlining guidelines for selling using the page. Read this to understand how it works.

Facebook buy swap sell pinned post

View the pinned post first!


Facebook buy swap sell rules

Buy and Sell pages have rules you need to adhere to when selling your items. For example, there are strict rules in this group about using any images that originated on the Cue website. #copyright

Then you’re ready to start buying and selling!

11 Tips for using Facebook buy swap sell pages

Want to save these tips? Pin them for later!

Tips for selling using a Facebook buy swap sell page

I have tweaked how I sell along the way, here’s my lessons learnt:

  1. Include as much information as possible about what you’re selling, including measurements of the garment. (When I didn’t do this, people requested it, usually at inopportune times when I wasn’t home).
  2. Spend time making the garment look as presentable as possible for pictures. Give it a press, use a sticky roller to remove any fluff. Use good lighting to take the pics.
  3. Be honest about the state of garments. It’s the right thing to do and in my experience it doesn’t deter buyers.
  4. I had more success increasing the price of each garment slightly and making the shipping free. Don’t we all love free shipping? Specify the price for shipping is in Australia (or wherever it’s based).
  5. List your garment at the price you are genuinely happy to part with it at. You can always decrease your price if it doesn’t sell.
  6. Be online and available when you list your item/s – if your item is going to sell my experience is it will do so quickly!
  7. Be certain on the rules of the page to avoid awkward selling moments. The pinned rules will specify exactly how the page works but typically the item will go to the first person who comments sold on your post. This may not be the first person who comments on your post (i.e. ‘is this still available?’ ‘I have questions I will PM you’).
  8. Once sold, add a comment saying you will PM the buyer, click on their name (takes you to their profile) then click message to start a private message with the seller. This is where you provide your paypal details and confirm their shipping address.
  9. More people will interact (and therefore more people will see) posts that sell multiple items at a time. However, not all pages will allow this (checked the pinned post on rules for the page first) and the functionality to see what is listed differs from the phone to the laptop (people couldn’t see descriptions of photos posted in captions on the laptop). Next time I sell multiple items I will do this:
    • Use an app like Pic Stitch to combine all of the photos of the garment (back, front, details) into one picture. Add a number to each picture so you can refer to it i.e. ‘item 2 has been sold’. This will save the need to post additional pictures in the comments section of the post or respond to requests to send extra pics.

      Facebook buy swap sell image

      Combine the pictures of your garment in one image with a number assigned to it. This number should correspond with the description of the item.

    • Put the descriptions and prices for all of the garments into the main description area of the post. This will make it long, but ensure all users can see the detail. Comments added as a captions to individual photos cannot be seen on desktop. You can also not comment on an individual photo in the marketplace like you can in a normal facebook photo album. When you make a comment, it comments on the entire post. #learntthehardway

      Facebook buy swap sell description

      This person has done the right thing and put all the descriptions for the items they’re selling in the one post. HOWEVER it would make it easier (for buyer and seller) to number each piece and ensure the picture of the piece also has the number on it.

    • Expect people to contact you to bargain on multiple items.
    • Once items are sold and you are liaising with someone on payment privately through messanger, post a picture of the item they have bought to ensure there is no confusion and to make it easier when you are packaging multiple items to be posted. No chance of sending the wrong thing!
  10. There are a whole lot of acronyms used in the buy swap sell sites! These are the common ones.
    • NIL = next in line. People may use this if the item is sold and they want to be ‘next in line’ if the sale falls through for any reason.
    • TIA = thanks in advance
    • F = following. Someone may use this if they want to see the other comments made on the post, they may have something similar to sell themselves or be interested in making a lower bid if the item doesn’t sell.
    • PM = private message. Once an item is sold the remainder of the transaction takes place in messenger – see point 7 for details.
  11. I sent all buyers a picture of the package with their address on it and tracking details to reassure them their item is on the way. I also delivered parcels to the post office so they were tracked as in commute immediately.

Paypal tip: paypal froze my account after I had received more than $1,000 AUD. I needed to provide photos of my ID and proof of address then they unfroze my account quickly.

Pros and Cons of buy swap sell

The downside of selling this way is it takes a fair bit of time to set up and the functionality is still a little fiddly. You’re also dealing one on one with a person, and if you’re buying as opposed to selling, and the item is not as described, you are on your own to resolve it with the individual who sold it. I haven’t heard a lot of stories like this, but it’s worth being aware of.

The upside of selling this way is that you have a captive audience who love the brand you’re selling and therefore are willing to pay. The Cue garments I sold were worn but in great condition, and were sold for between $75 and $135 each.

A final point on selling vs donating to charity

I know lots of people prefer giving to charity rather than selling used clothes and if that’s you – hats off to you. I think Buy Swap Sell is still a great option to try if you want to give back, it gives you the option of donating your funds (or a portion) to a charity you believe in! While my primary driver in selling was to free up some shopping money, I also signed up to be a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador after the funds came in from this haul. Always feels good to contribute to making a difference!

Have you used Facebook’s buy, swap, sell pages? Do you have any extra tips? Success stories to share? Spill in the comments below! 

Sublime Finds of March

April 5 2017

Hello people! Today, a round-up post of the sublime finds I’ve been loving on through March! I’m sharing what I’ve been wearing, watching, listening to, seeing, doing and looking forward to!


Lipstick Queen’s Cupid’s Bow

Lipstick mogul of the 90s, Poppy King, is back as the brains behind Lipstick Queen, a new line of lip products stocked in Mecca. I was highly intrigued by the ‘Cupids Bow’ crayon, claiming to be a lipstick liner and lipstick in one!

Cupids Bow, $31 from Mecca Cosmetica. Colour shown (on the crayon and on me) is Daphne.

Always looking for bright lip hues that will go the distant, and thoroughly intrigued at the return of Poppy King, I had to give it a run! Here’s how she fared:

Putting it to the test: Lipstick Queen’s Cupids Bow in shade ‘Daphne’ at 9am and 6pm. Experimental details: food & drinks consumed. No pashing. (OMG I feel 15 using the word ‘pashing’!! Ha!)

The colour will kiss off (I had lipstick marks on my teacup) but overall was I super impressed with the staying power and it being matte without drying. I received lots of compliments on bright lips, I’m looking forward to giving a pink-i-er colour a try too.

Jeanswest’s new Freeform 360 jeans! 

You may have tuned in last week as I shared a facebook live video (you’ll find it under the videos tab) reviewing Jeanswest’s new Freeform 360 denim! I bought a pair in March and am entirely obsessed! While Jeanswest have been making the awesome curve embracer cut for a while (bringing relief to girls with booty for several years) what’s new about the Freeform 360 denim is that it has a four way stretch; it stretches vertically as well as horizontally! The result: jeans that are infinitely comfy but don’t slip down off your waist! I want ALL OF THEM.

Jeanswest’s new Freeform 360 jeans: denim with a four-way stretch that lets you be on the move without constantly readjusting yourself! It’s love! This is the Leora style in the curve embracer cut and true vintage colour, $129.

AND! At the time of publishing this… Jeanswest is doing 40% off everything! You need to sign in to their VIP program to get the deal, but it’s free to join! Run don’t walk people! Your winter staples await!

A quick word on sizing: I’d usually pick up a size 14 or 16 in a pant and wear a 14 at Jeanswest. Most people I know who are rocking these jeans sized down when purchasing!

Sparkly Tops

I am so partial to a sequinned top and couldn’t go past the one pictured above in H&M at $59.95!

H&M doesn’t have an online store in Australia so no link to buy, but here’s a pic of the full top.

Spaghetti straps aren’t really my jam, but I really liked the look of this top under the jacket! I also love that you can rub the sequins both ways wearing it for slightly different looks. I will seize any excuse to dress in bedazzlement and know I’ll get my $ worth out of this one.



Carrie Mathison saving the world on Homeland.

Is anyone else completely obsessed with Homeland? We have been, ah, acquiring it, ahem, as it airs in the States and are awaiting the season finale next week. It has been a cracker season with plenty of heart-racing moments. The show has my eternal respect for choosing to feature characters with disabilities who are smart and witty and incredible. This is how we change the world, little by little. #YouCantBeWhatYouCantSee

Jane the Virgin

Gina Rodriguez is Jane the Virgin

Any Jane the Virgin fans in the house? I’ve been watching this satirical romantic comedy with very genuine feels over the past three seasons and am very emotionally invested, not least of all for how loveable and full of love the characters are. Also Gina Rodriguez every episode gives an incredibly endearing portrayal of Jane. If you wind up on the couch with germs at any point this year, Jane would be entirely excellent company.

Listening To

I usually use my commute to catch up with my Mum (yes, every day!) but she’s been travelling the last month so I’ve been consuming podcasts like noones business. The most enthralling listen: Mia Freedman on No Filter in the episode Dana Berkowitz and the feminist dilemma of Botox.

I was expecting something focused on the societal expectations of women in the context of beauty and the conflict of whether we should be fighting the system or taking a ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ approach. The podcast was lots more than this though, looking at the impact of essentially removing the ability to express your emotions and the broader impact this has for women at work and home. I won’t say anymore for fear of ruining it, but well worth a listen, particularly if you are of proud feminist persuasion and also considering botox. (To this note, there is no shaming women one way or another, just a whole bunch of pros and cons to consider which I hadn’t before.)

Also a podcast recommended to me which I found fascinating and educational: Tom Ballard talking with Yassmin Abdel-Magied on cultural appropriation. Better yet, this complex topic comes bundled up in the format of ‘Like I’m a six year old’, Tom Ballard’s podcast approach to making complex issues much simpler to engage with.

Out and About

Hidden Figures

JS and I ventured on a mid-week date night to see Hidden Figures, J thought it was great and I loved it. I’m not a movie cry-er in general, but I have all of the feelings when it comes to women overcoming adversity and so quietly sobbed into my hotdog napkin everytime one of these badass women did something fabulous. And there’s plenty of fabulous. A story so worthy of being told and known, don’t miss it.

Wil Anderson

Date night 2.0 – we caught Wil Anderson’s show at Brisbane City Hall as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival. He was great. We’ve seen him before and love him, the perfect mix of smart, political and lols. Was excited to see Wil also has a recorded show (different show, but still great) on Stan at the moment. We watched that too (we had Wil fever!) and lol’d lots also.

Champagne Cartel’s IWD event & catch-ups with Skye from Ruby Olive

The fabulous and brainy gals behind Champagne Cartel (Gill and Carolyn) hosted a International Women’s Day event on 8 March, featuring a panel discussion with 4 amazing local business women, including Leina Broughton and Skye Anderton. I had the great pleasure of catching up with Skye later in March to learn more about her story and the gorgeous jewellery of Ruby Olive.

Catching up with the amazing Skye Anderton, the ‘Chief Dreamer’ of Ruby Olive

Skye is amazing and what she’s doing with Ruby Olive is too! I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the gorgeous Ruby Olive wares soon! In the meantime, do check out their competition to design a necklace! Delightful creative outlet with fantastic prizes!

Back on set with Leina Broughton

March also gave me an opportunity to join another photoshoot with team Leina Broughton and two fellow LB diehards customers, Lizzy and Tracy. AND! Leina got behind the camera too! Like me, Lizzy and Tracy both have corporate day jobs and love LB… shooting with them was an absolute highlight, full of giggles (and at times, desperately trying to control ones face in giggle-spasm). Team LB had two more gorgeous, smart women shooting today – I am loving that Leina, Fleur and their team are featuring the everyday and entirely un-ordinary women who wear LB. Here’s a shot from the shoot last week:

Tracy, Leina and I in the new gunmetal splash print! Some beautiful charcoal shades coming through with the cooler months! You’ll find these three designs in the New Arrivals section!

What’s on in April:

  •  I’m expecting a delivery from online store eShakati who enable you to fully customise their designs based on your exact measurements (super exciting I know, lets see what the internet delivers!).
  • As the weather gets cooler, inevitably the colours in our wardrobes get darker, I’m going to be trying to bring a bit more colour and personality to my outfits through accessorising.
  • I’m itching to check out the new David Jones concept store on James St and also Brisbane’s first Sephora opening at Chermside!
  • We’re off to a wedding on the 22nd of two very lovely friends! Can’t wait!
  • I’m nipping down the Gold Coast with some girlfriends for a girls weekend and taking a few days off before my birthday on the 30th!
  • Cannot wait to binge watch Big Little Lies. I read the book, loved it, can’t wait to watch the series particularly with the reviews! And Reese Witherspoon! Love her! Her hair especially.
  • Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B is out April 24. ANZAC day = accounted for. Cannot wait to inhale more of her wisdom… Lean In has changed my life in more ways that I can count, but most nostalgically, it gave me the courage to start blogging. It makes my heart swell just thinking about it, you’ll never regret taking a chance, so do. Even if it’s taking a chance on the book!

That’s more than enough and well done to you if you’ve made it this far! And if you have, please answer me this: what did you love in March? What have you been, wearing, watching, listening to, checking out? I would love to hear about all your sublime finds, do leave a comment below or on facebook! x 

Also for knowing: this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links mean that if you choose to buy from a brand I love, I receive a small commission but you don’t pay any more. It’s something new I’m trying with products I adore to help cover the costs of running Sublime Finds. My commitment to you (and me) is that I will never spruik or opt to be an affiliate for a business whose products/services I haven’t tried and loved!