Looking at her wardrobe full of beautiful designer dresses from events she had attended, Johanna Sabaliauskas knew she could do something more with it.
The 34-year-old nurse had only worn each outfit a few times to weddings, spring racing carnivals and cocktail parties.
So in 2021, she decided to rent the dresses for a fraction of their retail price on The Volta.
“I had all these dresses in my wardrobe that I didn’t want to get rid of, so I figured, why not try it?” the single mother of two from Bendigo, Victoria told FEMAIL.
Now, 18 months later, his side business is on track to bring in more than $60,000 this fiscal year.
Nurse and mom Johanna Sabaliauskas (pictured) started offering second-hand clothes for rent in 2021. She’s now on track to make more than $60,000 this financial year.
“I had all these dresses in my wardrobe that I didn’t want to get rid of, so I figured, why not try it?” the single mother of two from Bendigo, Victoria told FEMAIL
In 2021, she started with 10 high-end dresses ranging from sizes 10 to 12 – but she now has over 250 ranging from sizes 6 to 16 that are constantly in rotation.
Shoppers can rent a dress for a weekend, then mail it back and Johanna has it dry cleaned for the next customer.
Purchasing one of these outfits would cost you between $450 and $1,500, but the rental price varies. between $75 and $220 depending on the brand.
Johanna admitted she “didn’t expect anything right away”, but bookings started pouring in after six months.
“I’m an everyday mom – I totally give it all – I don’t have a business plan but I’m so passionate about it,” she said.
“I didn’t expect it to get this big. I am so grateful and passionate about making women look and feel their best.
The wardrobe is full of big brands, from Aje to V Chapman and Elliot. One of the most popular items is the Alemais Phyllis Twist Dress, which costs $495 but is available to rent for $145 including shipping.
Johanna uses The Volte to list her dresses. All she has to do is caption photos of her dresses with the name of the item, then wait and accept booking requests.
Living 153km north of Melbourne, Johanna’s side hustle not only helped her earn a little extra money each week, but it also contributed to the local economy.
She spends thousands of dollars at the post office each month and hundreds at a small family dry cleaner.
“Last year the owner told me, ‘Your dress rental company paid my employee’s salary’ – that was the greatest compliment I’ve ever received,” Johanna recalls.
After seeing the demand, she decided to launch a Facebook page to promote this side business and also offers a try-on service at her home for locals.
“Women can come and book, come and try on different dresses that suit their body shape,” she said.
“It’s a great benefit to the customer and I love helping women find what they’re looking for.”
The busy mom then decided to expand the collection to offer more sizes, and even offers the same popular dresses in the same size.
Living 153km north of Melbourne, Johanna’s side hustle not only helped her earn a little extra money each week, but it also contributed to the local economy (pictured with her two daughters)
October through April are typically the busiest months of the year, with up to 40 dresses available to rent each weekend.
“I still can’t believe it. I’m really proud of myself for taking a risk that paid off,” Johanna said.
Her business also has a positive impact on the environment, as hiring an outfit helps alleviate the scourge of fast fashion.
Although Johanna says side hustles “can be quick, easy and stress-free,” she puts a lot of time and effort into customer service.
Learn more: I stop myself from buying impulsively thanks to a little-known “trash can” trick
A 27-year-old Australian who built a fortune on Amazon after turning her back on the 9-5 reveals how you can too
Financial domination: I earn $300 every 20 minutes from Australian “pay pigs” without setting foot outside the house.