Op shopper extraordinaire - Ina Murphy

Ina has lived in the Franklin area for 21 years. She moved here via England and Australia and grew up in Germany. In East Germany, clothes were scarce and her family made use of clothes until they wore out, every bit of clothing was kept and worn. When her family moved to West Germany, Ina would get hand me downs from rich families in the building her parents worked at. Ina learnt to adapt these clothes and developed her own style; she knew that new clothes for school weren’t an option, but she was always stylish and felt great. In Germany, there are no op shops, though there are a few second-hand shops.  

There is also no hospice care like we have in NZ, so Ina is appreciative of what she has access to over here.  


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When she moved to England with a suitcase, she realised she didn’t have enough clothes to keep up with the English climate, and she discovered the joy of op shopping. Clothing was affordable, stylish and best of all, raised money for charity.  It became a habit to shop at op shops and because she found such wonderful bargains, it is a habit that has carried on.  

Ina has a wardrobe with expensive labels like Versace and Gucci, but has never bought any of them new. She sticks to timeless, classic pieces which is why she always looks so stylish. Some of the items in her wardrobe are 25 years old and she still wears them.  She sees it as a challenge to maintain her opshop to new clothes wardrobe ratio – opshop 80%, second hand items 10%, new items 10%.  When she buys a few clothes, she takes others back to opshops or gives them away, recycling is her way off life.  

Most of Ina’s daughter’s baby clothes were opshop purchases and even now, her daughter loves opshopping with her mum. Ina buys clothes for her Mum when she finds the right items and takes them over on her visits. Ina’s wedding dress was from an opshop in England, £25 - it was so unique, her photographer had her wedding photo displayed in his window! 

She also has some fabulous antiques in her house (all from opshops), even a bathroom vanity which she adapted from a dresser.  

Ina is proud of the way she has achieved her unique style and it shows in the way she looks and comes across in person. She is a successful real estate agent and auctioneer, even though she is an introvert. She says her style gives her confidence; we can tell.  

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Ina shops at the Franklin hospice shop a lot – some of her finds have been incredible. If you are new to opshopping, Ina has these tips:  

  • Concentrate on a core wardrobe and extend it out. Choose colours which are classic and suit you, and work around this theme. 
  • Be patient. Remember there is new stock going in all the time, you need to have a bit of time to browse regularly.  
  • Don’t go looking for a particular item, it is more often than not a coincidence to get what you really need.
  • Learn basic sewing skills, how to sew on a button or mend a seam, they will be very useful.  
  • If you like something, buy it. If you leave it to think about it, it may not be there when you go back!