From an op shop beginner to a Sacred Heart Mission legend

Olivia Killeen, Communication and Social Policy Officer
Olivia Killeen Communication and Social Policy Officer
12 September 2022
Trish Williams, op shop coordinator, playing the piano

Trish Williams has made such an art form of buying and selling second hand items, you would think she’d been doing it all her life.

In 2008, Trish saw an ad in the newspaper for a role at the Windsor op shop and was attracted to the organisation. Today, she is the manager of Sacred Heart Mission’s Prahran op shop on Chapel Street.

For 28 years, Trish has owned a furniture business in Jakarta, which has given her a keen eye for furniture and the artform of buying and selling. Until she moved to Melbourne, Trish had forgotten what op shops were like – they don’t exist in Indonesia. It was a steep learning curve, but Trish thrived in her new role and has been with the Mission for nearly 15 years.

In that time, she has seen the Sacred Heart Mission op shop brand grow from strength to strength. Trish has been an integral part of this growth, by training staff and volunteers, finding new locations for stores and expanding our truck collection network.

“I’ve discovered some wonderful treasures throughout the years,” she says. “So many treasures that have been passed from person to person and live on through our stores.”

Like a family

Trish’s team of staff and volunteers are like a family. Trish’s team come from all walks of life and her store supports people with different abilities and allows them to feel safe, supported and immensely valued. Each job within the store, no matter how small, is invaluable.

Trish says that her main ethos for work is to make it fun. The sense of fun in the backroom is what spills onto the shop floor in terms of sales. It’s not uncommon to hear customers ask for Trish directly. When you walk into her store, you know straight away that she is at the helm.

Interior of our Chapel Street op shop
Bird's eye view of our Chapel Street op shop

Auctions at Sacred Heart Mission

Starting in 2016, Trish started organising exclusive auction events, created with the help of Joel’s Auction House, a long-term supporter of Sacred Heart Mission.

Trish is a master at building relationships. Along with Truck Coordinator, Antoni Moscicki, the team has built up extensive contacts through their truck collection service, which allows them access to estates, hotels and business in order to collect items for sale in the op shop. They have found many fascinating items over the years, such as precious art, historical antiques and vintage collections.

“I found a pearl that had been folded in a pair of ladies’ underwear of all things! It was in a little box with a note: ‘To Mary, from Bill 1945’. We sent it to auction and received $1300 for it,” she says.

Preparing for an auction

To prepare for an auction, Trish firstly puts aside fabulous donations – rare art, designer clothes, one-off pieces and incredible furniture, the team prepare well in advance, collecting items for more than a year.

The team then price each item and engage Joel’s Auction House for support in particular the staff at Joel’s have volunteered their time outside of work to assist Trish and her team, which Trish says has been incredibly helpful and generous. “Joel’s have been a wonderful partner, often gifting us art, pricing jewellery, researching antiques. They are a fantastic business to work with,” she says.

In 2019, we held a grand opening event for the new Chapel Street store, which raised $85,000 over the weekend and the store was so packed that you could hardly move. Over several years of auction events plus 15 years of service, we estimate Trish has raised over 10 million dollars for Sacred Heart Mission!

After two years of Covid disruption, we are so excited to announce our upcoming Chapel St op shop event in October 2022.

The exclusive event will feature designer and vintage clothes, jewellery, furniture, art, rare vinyls, instruments, bric-a-brac and everything in between. See you there!

Save the date

What: Chapel Street op shop event
: Saturday, 1 October 2022, from 10am to 6pm
Where: 262 Chapel Street, Prahran