With Sustainable Fashion fast on track becoming the new 'thing' it's no surprises that ex-jewellery designer Sarah Hood is already steps ahead launching her own Online Vintage Store.
You know when you come across those people that are humble in their ways & they have nothing to prove to anyone; just doing their thing while we all just watch from the sidelines wishing we just had that 'knack' which comes so naturally to them. They are just so damn inspiring. Sarah Hood is one of those people for me.
Sarah and the The Freedom State go back a number of years when Sarah designed jewellery for her label Arrow Divine. After many years gaining a huge following on Social's as well as being stocked in multiple stores, it was eventually no longer. We assumed it was just due to Sarah having a family with a shift in priorities. It happens. Little did we know that Sarah and her family were confronted with one of those distressing situations every family fears; one that forces a rethink in focus, priorities, and family.
While Sarah had to make big decisions about her life and goals, from a closure of one door, another one opened organically allowing Sarah to regain her creativity again, while finding a work-life balance. Humbly bringing to life another love she has always dabbled in; Sourcing Vintage for resale.
When I think traditional Vintage Stores, I think a crude mix of knick-knacks, big Cosby style jumpers and the thoughts of hours of scrolling through a thousand not-so-cool items to find that one treasure. Not in Sarah's store. This is where she has made vintage sourcing her own - and that's what we love about her. And she does all the hard work for us.
I had been on that Instagram 'journey' one night (when I go into full stalk mode). I could see her new Instagram page @generallyworn, however what's this? A new page I was directed to documenting house renovations? So I had to find out more from Sarah herself. How did she manage to fit family, work, and renovations all in. I was to find it all didn't come easily.
We go back a few years when The Freedom State stocked your gorgeous jewellery brand Arrow Divine. You had a huge & loyal following in stores and on Social's, so what made you decide to let go of your baby?
It was a mixture of 2 things – one being, my youngest daughter who was diagnosed with a rare syndrome and that news just shook me to my very core. We were told she would be lucky to live to 10 years old. I guess I spent the next year and half grieving a loss that hadn’t even happened. The second being, a creative block that came after that news was delivered. I didn’t want to design. I felt like running a business was a burden, when I should be focusing my time on my family.
Was it a hard decision to make; letting go?
Absolutely. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I had spent the last 5 years creating a brand that I had poured my heart and soul into. After the news of my daughter, I spent a year procrastinating about what to do. In that space of time, I had been sourcing and selling vintage via Arrow Divine as something different. It was my creative block coming through in a different format. This evolution with my business was happening without me realising initially. It was never my intention to create a vintage business. I didn’t have it in me to sell Arrow Divine, so in turn I just let the business go, but in full circle, another business was born.
You now have a super cute vintage brand called Generally Worn (@generallyworn) – tell us a bit more about it?
Generally Worn has given myself a new lease on life. Not just professionally, but personally as well. To put it simply, Generally Worn is a carefully curated selection of vintage goods, I have personally sourced both here in Aus as well as internationally. I started very small, only purchasing pieces that I could keep if they didn’t sell initially. Children’s clothing and décor items. Slowly evolving to womenswear, where that is now my predominant focus.
Do you think that your following for the vintage pieces you sell has been accelerated by creating a niche style for your brand? Was this something that happened by accident? Did you find it evolved as the brand grew, or was it intentional from the beginning?
I was lucky to already have a large platform with Arrow Divine, so leveraged off that in the beginning. I wanted a social media presence that was stand alone followers who wanted to view just vintage. I felt all the followers who initially followed AD were focused on my jewellery collections, so created new accounts and secured a domain to cover myself. I think from the get go, my style has been consistent. I’m a mix of 70’s meets 90’s tom-girl if you will. My personal wardrobe is filled with neutrals, as well as my home, so I’ve meshed the 2 together. The brand itself has definitely evolved from humble beginnings to now a stand-alone web-store with multiple collections dropping weekly.
With sustainability becoming such a huge focus in fashion, it must feel good that you are showing people that second hand treasures can look so on-trend if you have a good eye and a great sense of style?
Yes absolutely. There really is a great sense of gratitude when someone else is willing to purchase second hand and support minimising landfill. There are so many amazing pieces sitting at the local op shop, so feel it is now my duty to find them and give them a new life with someone who appreciates the make of them.
Where do you think most of your time is spent for Generally Worn?
Definitely sourcing. I probably spend about 15-20hrs a week sourcing pieces. Be that op shopping or scouring gumtree / eBay or any buy sell swap page…I’ve got my fingers on the pulse. I do it with my eyes closed. I work 2 days a week without any children and then fit in anything I can while they are sleeping. I source with my kids too, only way I can fit in ample shopping time! Did I mention I’m crazy..
And through all of this busi-ness – you and your hubby have renovated your dream home which has its own Insta following at @goldenyears_homes (AND Holiday house on the Sunshine Coast). How have you managed running a business, a family, renovations, a fashion brand, as well as keeping visual diaries for them on social media? Do you magically have more hours than the rest of us!?
When you put it like that, I do sound extra busy! I know I’m busy and that’s the way I operate. But with everything, it’s just one big juggling act. Some weeks I work extra hard on the business, others are filled with hospital and specialist appointments for my youngest daughter or social activities with my other 2 girls. I’m pretty good at prioritising my time. BTW I LOVE VISUALS – I love creating. Social media comes quite natural to me in terms of finding content / posting. I don’t follow the rules, but who cares. I’m having fun with it.
You say that Mid Century is your Kryptonite, however you have really put your own twist on it with a hint of coastal vibes making it more current. Have you always had a passion for mid-century style?
Our current reno is a mix of mid century meets scandi. The original home was a mid century dwelling so we kept part of the bones and wanted to give the place more of an airy / neutral feel than some of the harsh styling a mid century can sometimes have. We live a stone’s throw from the beach, so tried to keep that casual vibe flowing throughout. I think we’ve done the 2 styles justice by blending them together. Since purchasing this home 4 years ago and researching mid century styling, the love affair has just blossomed.
What were the 3 biggest challenges you have faced through your journey to now?
-Family / work life balance will and is, always a constant. When you think you have the balance right, something shifts.
-That in the blink of eye, life can change dramatically. And learning to accept it and move forward.
-Confident in my business decisions. Second time round now, and I got this.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to take on a new venture in vintage sourcing or renovations as you have?
Have faith in your abilities, and if you have no idea, EDUCATE YOURSELF. Get help where needed. Find your style and own it.
What next for Sarah Hood?
Right now, keep doing what I’m doing. I want to learn more about interior styling, so possibly enrol in a course. More holidays in the sun, and new adventures whether they be the next renovation, or an interstate move..who knows!?
If you are interested in walking a little lighter, head to our Sustainable Fashion collection in store. A curation of organic or eco-friendly clothing or accessories by our very own brands in store.
Find out more about our own brand's sustainable journeys in our post 'On Board With Eco - The Consciously Sustainable Commitments Of Our Beloved Brands'