PHONE apps were still a computer nerd’s wet dream when Odette Cavill called her recycled men’s clothing shop Diamond Aps.
“I’m the original Ap – with one p,” she quips.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and Aps was her nickname, so the two went together she says by way of an explanation.
The Wray Avenue shop started off selling local arts and crafts as Diamond Aps Wild West Emporium in 1994.
But with the influx of cheap overseas goods and the start of the $2-shop phenomenon the bottom fell out of the market: “I was lucky to turn over $20 a day,” she recalls.
Long-gone women’s recycled clothing shop Fay Wray next door was the inspiration for a change.
With no money but plenty of friends — including a carpenter who made the clothing racks — Ms Cavill combed garage sales and op-shops for gear: “I had $200 to my name and put a cardboard sign in the window saying ‘men’s clothing’.”
While blokes have no trouble spending hours in a hardware or fishing shop, it’s a different matter when it comes to buying clothes, so it’s testament to Ms Cavill’s business acumen her shop has survived a host of economic vagaries to turn 22 in January.
Some of her success is down to colour-coding items so sizes can be seen at a glance: “I have been told I have been spoiling my custom for shopping [elsewhere],” she says.
Equally important is giving them something to get excited about: “Anything outrageous and bright sells in seconds.”
With op-shops finding a broader market in recent years Ms Cavill has created a point of difference by going more upmarket with designer clothing, including Gucci, Lanvin, Paul Smith and Rag and Bone.
But you’ll still find plenty of interesting t-shirts, along with jeans and boardies – and plenty of big sizes.
Iconic and irreverent clothing such as Mambo shirts have become collectible: “The poo-shooter is worth $400 online,” Odette says, holding up a less pricy, but still collectible shirt.
She mixes her passion for photography with her shop, taking snaps of guys in the change room – with their permission – for a series of stylish, black and white photos to adorn the change room doors: “The guys are really into it,” she says.
8 Wray Avenue, Fremantle
open 7 days