Who is… I Heart Bargains?

Discount. Good buy. Cheap as chips. Steal deal. However you put it, everyone loves a bargain.

There’s something about managing to score a really good deal that gets your heart pumping. As you calculate your savings (and consider buying one in every colour) you give a slight fist pump and head out the door feeling as though you’ve just won gold in the 400 metres.

Now, imagine getting that feeling on a daily basis. I spoke to chief bargain hunter Chelsea Thomas from the extremely popular site I Heart Bargains to ask all the important questions like, does she still get carried away when bagging a bargain? How did this all start for her? And what does she do with all those damn clothes?!

Chelsea Thomas

Tell us a bit about your background. Apart from working in radio, is there a bit of fashion knowledge there to be able to style like a pro as you do?

Yes there’s a few things there. I have a PR marketing background, which I think is quite common with a lot of bloggers and influences out there these days. There’s some sort of marketing and PR background involved as they know how to market themselves. So yeah I completed a PR degree and then I worked in lots of different industries like tourism, I worked for Telstra, and then I moved across into radio and I did production and I ended up at Channel 7 and being the weather producer for Fifi Box for 12 months. That kind of started my whole love of content creation. I think I always come back to a really good story and I’ve always come back to engaging with an audience and getting them in and getting them hooked. I think it didn’t matter kind of what job I was going to be doing, and when I was going to be doing it, it was always content creation. So this type of story telling through pictures or words was always my thing. It just so happened that it became about bargain hunting.

It’s funny actually, I’ve always done this style of bargain hunting but it’s only been in the last 4 years that I’ve published it, does that make sense? This passion has always been there since I was very very little. My Grandmother used to take me op-shopping every Saturday whilst my parents worked and she just taught me to find gold. I’ve just always really really loved it! I’ve never been embarrassed to wear something that wasn’t a label and I’ve always been able to make it look so much better than what people expect, and I suppose that’s the whole surprise and delight element of I Heart Bargains – that’s what it’s all about!

I love the fact that this all stems from your Grandma taking you op-shopping each weekend. What a lovely beginning!

Yeah from very little too. Maybe I’d always had that in me but, in a way, she definitely trained me to find really cool bargains and to look and be patient. And I think that’s one of the things that makes this work. You know I’ve got girlfriends who just go “oh I can’t look at those bargain or sales racks, it just freaks me out.” Or “I can’t go near them, there’s just stuff everywhere” whereas for me that’s like my dream (laughs). If you put me up the back at a Sportsgirl sale I’m all good, give me half an hour, I’ll find some goodness!

Dress from @littlelace, image via @iheartbargains

It’s like “I’ve got this, guys! Leave it with me!”

Yeah that’s it! But I love it! That doesn’t freak me out and it doesn’t overwhelm me. It actually excites me. But that’s not in everybody, it’s kind of an innate part of me that goes oh let me into that bargain rack and I’ll find something really good for not that much money. So yeah that’s always been part of me, and then obviously when I had my first child that’s when the concept really took off. It definitely was not a business, I was much the same as you. I just knew that I wanted to write and source bargains every day of the week. I was working at the time and kind of split myself between sourcing bargains til eleven o’clock every night. There just wasn’t a day where I wasn’t online looking at bargains, or really cool small businesses, or it was online boutiques that had just popped up and yeah the whole idea came out. I thought I just had to have some sort of creative hook I suppose to what the concept was. For me under $100 made it different to everybody else out there. Nowadays there’s a lot of bargain bloggers out there but at the time there wasn’t anyone specifically doing bargains strictly under $100. And that’s what I thought I could offer my audience and to women who really want to look cool but not pay big bucks.

And, really, it sets you apart from the rest. It’s a brilliant concept. Under $100 is pretty much affordable for everyone and is a great way to look at it. So when you’re trawling I’m guessing you get a little bit carried away some times? Like you’ll find something and be like “OMG this is amazing!!”

Yeah absolutely! I still get that whole high-fiving myself at ten o’clock at night when I’ve found something so cool or I’ve found a new brand that do amazing products. Like last night I found a brand that makes concrete stools for under $100 – they hand make them! It’s crazy. They’ve got 2,000 Instagram followers and yet I found them and I can give them a boost. And that’s the heart part of I Heart Bargains, it’s all about sharing businesses where women at home, just like myself, are staying up late, they’ve put the kids to bed, they’ve got families, but they’ve still got that passion and they want to be able to sell their wares or be creative in their own time. And I’m big on that, I’m really big on supporting that so that’s where that whole heart side of it comes from. But yeah I 100% get carried away with things.

At the start, I’ve gotta tell you though, honestly the building of the business wasn’t great for my marriage because I was physically putting myself online. I’m better now cos I’ve got people that source for me as well but yeah I’m talking hours and hours of sourcing on Instagram and posting, making sure that I was always fresh on Facebook, which was obviously a lot bigger back four to five years ago than it is now, so I was making sure I was on there. I was doing six to seven Instagram and Facebook posts a day to try and build throughout that initial phase… now I’ve calmed down a bit and I’ve also got other projects on now that I need to be focused on, but yeah it was a really interesting time. I naturally, every day of the week, get carried away (laughs) it’s just my personality! I get into one thing and then I’m like “OMG there’s another small business!” It kind of has that ripple effect where you’re ten deep in Instagram and you’ve found the coolest thing ever and they might be round the corner from you, or they’re in a little country town in Australia, and they’re doing really awesome stuff so it gets you all excited. I want to focus more on that next year. That’s going to be my big thing, to really unearth some incredible small businesses.

Hand painted pots from @fourbynine, image via @iheartbargains

Sounds like a fantastic plan! You just briefly mentioned that it’s not just yourself anymore, you do have other people working with you behind the scenes?

Definitely. I oversee everything, though Instagram is 100% mine and I do that all myself… I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I could let that go… but I have a content director now that works part time/full time hours in terms of a couple of days a week. We chat all the time, we’re on email all the time and she makes sure that there’s a content schedule there. I have 10 bargain writers and I’ve got two major home editors. I’ve got an art editor. We’re branching out. A lot of these girls have their own influences online as well and they want some experience in profiling their work and sourcing bargains and sourcing some really cool stuff so yeah we’re a good team. We go out for dinner, I give them a lot of mentoring help as well, we’re really good friends actually. A lot of the time now, if I get a business brief of some kind, I try as much as possible to include them so they’re gaining work whilst being a part of IHB as well, cos they have their own followings, especially my home editors. So yeah I’ve got writers, I’ve got Ash my content director who keeps me on the ball. She runs my EDM’s and she uploads all the content. I think for bloggers out there that are doing their own content, it’s so difficult to get your head around working full time and then coming home and uploading all your own content. I did that for probably two and a half years by myself and it absolutely stretched me to the end of the earth BUT in saying that I had to do that to get my audience.

Of course you had to or you wouldn’t be as successful as you are today.

That’s a really important point actually. I mean, it was extremely tough and extremely demanding on me personally and physically to sit up every night and do it but I just thought there’s no one else doing this so if I continue to sit here and do it then I’m going to beat everyone else at this game because there’s no one doing this. I think that’s the whole point about persistence. Be consistent and persistent and you’ll be the best in whatever space you’re after. I still work very hard at the content and after I put the phone down to you I’m working out what we’re talking about for small business gift guides and things like that for Chrissy so yeah it’s an ongoing thing that you’ve gotta stay on top of.

Image via @iheartbargains

Well it’s certainly coming up roses for you now, you’re hitting your strides! You said you’ve only been doing it for 4 years now and I’ve recently seen some behind the scenes action for something you’re doing with Big W. Was that part of your goal, to collaborate with a brand?

Kind of… Big W wasn’t a necessarily a goal so to speak but I think in the last 12 months video has become extremely prevalent with brands. People and brands are starting to understand that visual and video communication is going to become bigger than ever and I think I’ve started it early which is a good thing and I urge bloggers to do the same. Not everyone can get in front of a camera but if you can try and sort of promote your personality that way it’s a great way to engage audiences. I found that people really responded to that and the other thing is that I really enjoy it.

Shit, you know 4 years ago I started this thinking it was never going to be a money earner for me, it was never going to be a business per say and I’ve never really treated it like that until very recently, until these brand partnerships became available and they’re calling me and they’re saying “we want you to talk about our products cos you’re so real”. I think that was a big day for me because I’ve wanted to do video by myself, and I’ve done that for myself, and it was a big deal that Big W wanted me. I had two days to pull myself together, to get to Sydney and then talk about their products to camera for a good two days. So yeah for me that was a bit of a pinch myself moment. I’d been kind of this bargain battler just doing my own thing for so long and then this big brand calls and says “we want you as our ambassador for our YouTube clips” so I was like “oh my god that’s great… really?!” And, look I’ve done a lot of telly and video now, as well with big brands, so I’m getting in that space where I absolutely adore it and it’s kind of like my sweet spot when I’m there, I really love it. I want to do more of that, so to have them call me was a big day.

But yeah, be it Big W or any other big brand, I welcome working with lots of big brands. But Big W is really about to ramp things up in the video space which is exciting because not everyone is so they’re going to be behind if they don’t. Plus, it’s an amazing team, a very fast paced and amazing team. AND really cool product too so that was fantastic.

Chelsea doing her thang with the Big W crew, image via @iheartbargains

So cool! Such an amazing brand to be associated with and to get that call up!

Yeah it is! And I’ve been thinking about this for a long time but I feel like there is a space for a Trinny and Susanna in Australia and I also think there’s a space for that Gok inspired television, you know? It’s a bit big of me to say but I feel like we need to be filling that space. We need to be showing women how to dress and it doesn’t have to be expensive. So my whole thing is that it’s budget, everyone should have access to really cool fashion, and that was my whole pretence when I first started. Just because I’d had a baby and didn’t get paid maternity leave, it doesn’t mean that I need to look like a slob. And I think a lot of women go “oh it’s too expensive and it’s too hard”… it’s not, you just have to have the ability to see what’s out there and I’m kind of bridging that gap if you like.

Well yeah, you’ve done all the hard work for them. You can either go hunt for it yourself or you can jump online and check IHB stuff out. I’ve been looking at your site and can see now that you’ve got so much more than just fashion, you’ve got homewares, makeup, styling tips… basically a one-stop-shop kind of thing so people can just come here and get it all at once. Was that the intention to begin with or it was just the fashion to start and then this was a natural progression?

Definitely was just meant to be fashion to start and for probably a good 18 months to 2 years that’s what it was, and that was great. But I think in the last 18 months (and actually A Current Affair interviewed me the other day about this) the whole uprising of incredible, designer looking homewares for under a hundred bucks is just amazing, it’s fantastic what you can get now and how you can make your house look for not a lot of money. And obviously with The Block I think that really helps too, all the media around that sort of thing helps with getting it out there. What Kmart have done with their homewares is insane, so I think what starts to happen is that people are no longer embarrassed by a bargain. They not only are not embarrassed but they want to share it and tell all their friends and then their friends go and buy it. So this real cult following around Kmart bargain bloggers started, so IHB taking on homewares was inevitable really. It wasn’t like someone rang me one day and said “why don’t you do homewares”, it just naturally happened. I started covering it and thinking gosh there’s so much.

Amazing goodies from @kmartaus, image via @iheartbargains

I think Instagram really played a big role in that too. I was getting a lot of small businesses who would contact me and say hey I’ve got these incredible pots or prints or whatever it was and it just wasn’t fitting under fashion so I introduced a homewares category. I would say now that I’m probably about 60/40. 60% fashion and 40% homewares. And then on top of that we do Shop This Look, plus every now and then I’ll do a beauty post. And we’ve just launched I Heart Art which is a collaborative project with my sister who actually runs Populart, which is an online destination for people who like affordable art. She does art under $1,000 and has been doing that for a few years now, and I said to her one day why don’t you do under $100 just for me. Basically it’s really accessible art for renters or people with small apartments that don’t have the big budgets, that’s probably going to be quite a popular part of the homewares section. You could go on forever with bargains really!

Art under $100! Image via @iheartbargains

You could! And actually art is one of those things these days that a lot of people are getting into, it’s becoming more and more popular so I can see that section will probably take off quite well.

Yeah and to be honest I find it quite difficult cos my forte is 100% fashion, that’s why I have the homewares editors as well. But I can see a great image or a great product and can say yep that will fit really well on IHB, but for me I like to focus on the fashion and still write pieces on fashion and solving people’s problems. I get a lot of people requesting things like “oh are you doing a bathers feature?” and it’s like yep yep I’ll get onto that! And it’s important that I do that myself and I don’t give it to someone else to do, still being the face of the brand and the writer who does all the fashion stuff. So after all these big shoots I will be getting back into it and making sure I’ve got my three to four pieces a week, really meaty pieces, where people go “oh my god there’s some great stuff in there” and they might find a couple of things that they like, so yeah that’s really important to me on a day to day basis to keep that going.

You mentioned earlier that some brands do contact you asking if you can feature their products. In the beginning you were finding products off your own bat and promoting them, are you getting a few paid/promotional requests too?

Yep so I 100% work with small businesses to promote their product, and nine times out of ten I’m doing that for free out of the goodness of my own heart because I want them to do well and succeed. The thing that costs brands is where they want me to style, photograph, get videographers in, get editors in, all that jazz. You know, there’s a whole world behind blogging now that if you want it to look slick there’s a team and that costs money. By all means, I get a lot of people contacting me saying can I send this to you for you to use. I almost need an outlet now where once a week I just do a video of stuff that I get sent! But yes if I do get sent something then I’ll post about it. But the other thing is, is that everything that I’m posting I believe in. The amount of emails that I get sent from businesses that aren’t quite setup yet, they might not have their photography right, their products might not be right, or I get something that will fall apart, then I don’t put those things up. I’m only putting up what I believe in, what I love and what I know is going to rate really well.

Blush bargains from @pillowtalkaustralia, image via @iheartbargains

Makes sense as it’s your content and your reputation is on the line when suggesting a product.

Well yeah it’s my opinion really! It’s my thoughts on what I love. And the way to make money from a blogger perspective, I’ve probably been making money for the past two and a half years, is through brand partnerships. Brands need to sell product and what IHB offers is very different to other blogs and influences, where they post a beautiful picture and people say “wow that’s so gorgeous, I’d love to own that” and a $1,000 handbag, I think the thing with IHB is that people are actually purchasing the product. It really is an amazing advertising medium for brands to go down if their product a) is a bargain, because that’s obviously a really big thing for me, and b) it needs to be beautiful, it needs to be cool etc. I suppose I have a criteria in my mind, that Ash would also have, to judge the products that come in for whatever we’re putting online. So there is a process behind it all. But then if I’m styling…

Chelsea styling a flatlay like a pro, image via @iheartbargains

Styling is one of the most un-glamourous roles I think I’ve ever played. Even fashion styling. It’s fucking hard work. It’s chasing labels, it’s chasing brands, it’s picking up stock, it’s dressing models… it’s not a walk in the park! I’m ironing at 11 at night cos I’ve got a shoot the next morning! I don’t know if you saw it but I did an Instagram stories once of a Saturday shoot that I did in the city and I did every single step of the way.  Doing my own hair and makeup, packing the car up, getting my husband to help me get all the stuff into the car, meeting my photographer in town… we’ve both got kids so we’re missing a Saturday with them… it’s fun, don’t get me wrong! But there’s a lot of hard yards behind having your own content business. And you’ve constantly gotta build that, you can’t just go ohh I’ll have a couple of months off. You know what I mean?

Absolutely! It’s tough but you have to stick it out or someone else will get ahead of you.

Like even in the last week I’ve been thinking, god I’ve got a shoot next week, so now I’ve got to get the product from somewhere, whether someone’s sending it to me or it’s a brand partnership or a sponsored post, you’ve got to constantly be playing that integration role as well as being fair to the small businesses. If they’re asking for photography and styling and all that then I try and do really fair rates so they’re just paying me for my time and not necessarily that sponsorship dollar. And obviously with bigger brands they want more. They want really slick photos not taken on your phone, they want EDM’s created all about them etc so there’s all of that that you have to take into account. And also my team. I’ve got a video production team and editors that I use (these guys come with IHB but they have their own businesses going on) and all of that costs money, it’s people on the ground. You’ve gotta worry about sound, cameramen and also locations. If I’m not shooting at home then that costs. So there’s all of those things that I don’t think a lot of people sitting at home realise, and even some brands, they don’t realise what’s involved. There’s a lot involved to get a good shot.

I think that’s important for people starting out to realise but with all that, putting all of that to the side, the only reason I’m able to do that is because my content is what it is today. That was only through sourcing for two and a half years non-stop. And literally, I remember one New Year’s Eve, everyone was out partying and I felt stupid I was like “why am I doing a post on New Year’s Eve!?” And I sat there and I said to myself I’m going to find… I don’t know like, ten sparkly shoes…I don’t even remember what it was, but I was at my holiday house and everyone was at a party across the road and my husband was saying “are you kidding me?” and I said I’ve just gotta do it. I just had to do it. It was sort of that pig-headedness I suppose, I was determined in that phase early on to not miss a beat.

Dress from @rundelilahclothing, image via @iheartbargains

I think now I’m able to step back and go alright, you don’t have to do 6 posts a day, it’s ok, let’s make them more quality than quantity. I used to just put up one pair of shoes, because it was a very small blog I’d just find something and put it up. Whereas now audiences are demanding better content, they don’t want just one pair of shoes under $100, they want maybe 15 pairs under $60. So that’s a lot of work, that’s a good 2-3 hours of sourcing. That’s what sits behind all the glamour stuff. Styling is a very interesting role, and from the outside it’s perceived to be so exciting and glamourous. I know some top stylists that do fashion in Melbourne who are good mates of mine and they have slogged their guts out for many years doing lots of freebies, lots of volunteer work, and people don’t realise that going into it. You can’t just have an Instagram success overnight. There’s so much hard work involved. So many man hours. And lots of no sleep (laughs) I make it sound horrible but I just want people to know that is a serious side to it as well in terms of the grunt of it all.

And the thing is now you have such a strong following and you need it keep that up and the fact that you want to keep it up is even better. I love the fact that you’re so passionate about this and the fact that you want to give your followers good content, it’s fantastic and refreshing to see.

Because if you don’t everything falls over. I can work with big brands and go and do video shoots and all that stuff but if, at the end of the day, my long-standing fan base, who have been with me from the start, log onto my site and see that I haven’t updated it in two weeks, and it’s looking really scrappy, then your brand starts to fall over. So my whole thing is that content is absolutely prime and now there’s ways and means of promoting that content. Instagram’s fantastic if you’ve got a good following. I’m constantly going to seminars and conferences to find out how I can grow my Facebook audience cos that’s so hard now with pay for play. You’ve got to keep evolving. You know Snapchat? I don’t like it but I do it. There’s all these areas that you have to keep pushing yourself personally because if I’m stuck in Facebook and Instagram land and there’s all this stuff happening around me, then you’ve got to be up with it or you don’t grow. But it all comes back to your content. It’s all gotta link back into some sort of creative hook that no one else is doing. That’s what I tell people when they tell me they want to start a blog. That’s my advice. Go and find something that no one else is doing and do it well.

Image via @iheartbargains
Cushions and succulents from @pillowtalkaustralia, image via @iheartbargains

That is some bloody good advice! Ok so a big question here… What do you like better: your online shopping or do you love trawling in the shops?

Oooh it’s so hard! Look I should say online but I really really do love a good trawl! Like I know that Big W has just gone online but I would rather go in there. But for me being a mum and the convenience factor, I’ll give you an example, I’ve got a wedding on this Saturday and I’ve got a great little boutique down the road, and I don’t think that online is quite where it needs to be yet in terms of one day delivery, so if I’ve got something that I need quickly then I’ll always go in store. If I’m searching for cool casual wear or high heels, I say oh I’m just gonna get them online. So it all depends. I do a lot of online shopping, clearly cos that’s what I do every day of the week, but I do love a rummage and I do love going down to my local boutiques and seeing what’s there and feeling and touching and trying on. Totally. I don’t really get the chance for big shopping days anymore so the pieces that I need I get online and if it’s a last minute thing then I’m always in the shops. Always! I think it’s nice to go and try on. There is that whole side of it.

Definitely. There’s still so many people that prefer to go in and try bits on.

And also half the time with bargains you have to get in there. Like this amazing vintage looking striped dress that I got in the sales rack at Sportsgirl when I went down to Bayside Shopping Centre recently, there are so many amazing items in the sales racks there! You wouldn’t have found it online. All those sorts of sale items aren’t even online. So yeah I enjoy both but there’s a reason I do one or the other. It’s a mix I suppose…. I do love a good rummage.

Sportsgirl sale racks are key! Dress from @sportsgirl, image via @iheartbargains

Who doesn’t!? I love it to! Would much rather be down the shops having a rummage than online.

There’s a lot of people that don’t! My sister hates it (laughs)!

Oh really!? How surprising!

Oh she hates it! Like last night she went shopping and she’s texting me “should I buy this or should I buy this…” and I was like oh my god I just need to be there! And she’s saying “oh I hate this! Get me out of here!” but a lot of people hate shopping so I hope that I’m making it easier for those people. They might check out IHB and go oh that’s a great striped top for $30 I’m just gonna get that cos I need that in my wardrobe cos my basics are looking really shabby. So I hope I’m taking stress away for them. I can’t help everyone but I try anyway.

Boho homewares from $8! Image via @iheartbargains
Boho homewares from $8, image via @iheartbargains

I think you are, definitely. You’ve got the right idea. It’s a massive help for people who don’t like shopping or find it hard to come up with new ideas for clothes. And you’ve got some very loyal followers, a lot of them actually [over 15,000 on Facebook and 64,000 on Instagram] who I can tell love what you’re doing.

I do, I get a lot of nice feedback from them. I reckon they’re a good bunch of chicks! If we all got in the one room we’d have a pretty good time. I would love to do that one day. Events is one thing, as you know, that is a whole other ball game and I’d need to be really prepared for that. So maybe that’s something to come later.

Now my second last question, which I’m sure a lot of people are also wondering, came about from your Dress a Day in May campaign where you showcased a different dress each day in May… what on earth do you do with all those dresses and your clothes? You don’t keep everything, do you?

Oh no! The short answer is no (laughs). I’ve done this since the start actually, I donate them. Dress for Success is a charity here in Melbourne down on the coast, and what they do is they help women who have fallen out of the workforce (for whatever reason) to get back into the workforce. For me that’s such a major cause that I should be helping because I’ve never been underprivileged at all, and I don’t like to say that these women are but they have, for whatever reason, done it really tough. And often a lot of them have kids and they’re single parents.

I don’t understand how single mums do it but I know they have to do it, and I know there are single dads out there as well but, for me, if I made a million dollars tomorrow the one body of people that I would help is single mums and I’d help them get back into work. Dress for Success is already doing that so I’ve partnered with them and a lot of the time I’m couriering boxes down to them after I’ve finished. There’s actually a blogger, Ina from Sneakers and Soul, she’s running a big blogger market where everyone sells the products that they haven’t used in shoots, cos you do get quite a lot of stuff and you can’t physically wear it all… a lot of bloggers do that. I like to give it to someone else and have someone feel good about it because I can’t physically wear it all, it’s ridiculous. I currently have 3 wardrobes and also I am right now looking at a rack now where it’s kind of a TBC rack like “do I really need that or…” and if I don’t wear it in a couple of months it goes to the charity so yeah that’s how I do it.

One of the dresses from the Dress a Day in May campaign, image via www.iheartbargains.com

I definitely don’t hang on to everything and I LOVED a dress a day in May. I did start getting comments from people saying are you going to keep all these dresses but it wouldn’t be a good feeling to keep them all. I don’t have a need, no one has a need, for 30 dresses! So for me it was about passing them onto someone else.

Oh that’s amazing!

I actually met them at an event recently, the girls who style up these women who have lost their confidence and come into Dress for Success. And they had all these stories of the dresses that I’d given them and the people who received them and I thought that’s worth so much more than me keeping those dresses. I had tears in my eyes.

They were telling me about this one woman who hadn’t had a job interview in 15 years and she came in and she put one of my dresses on and you can see they go from hunched over, no confidence to holding their head up high when they leave… and I’m just like… that is amazing. To be honest I’ll probably end up doing that when I’m older. I would love to do that sort of thing, even now! I open my doors to people who need the help and everything. I’ve got a couple of local mums in my community that I help but also yeah it’s Dress for Success that are doing pretty amazing things in that whole space.

I just got goosebumps from that story, that’s so beautiful!

Top from @rundelilahclothing, image via @iheartbargains

Yeah it is! And I think it’d be nice actually, if more bloggers could get together… I might even have to organise something myself, another 2017 thing! But I know I definitely do try with my stuff to hand it on. I don’t know, I’ve just been taught that you don’t need that much stuff, no one does. And to be honest it just causes more washing more storage you know? It’s not needed, so I think if someone else can get joy out of it that’s the way to go. So yeah! And I’ll definitely be doing a dress a day in May again next year, it’s kind of become our thing. Although just thinking about shooting 30 videos… I did all of that in about three days so it was… yeah it was a very very big exercise. But totally worth it! It’s so good! So much fun with what I got sent (laughs)

It was so good! It was always like ooh what’s going to be the dress today! Plus the fact that it was so consistent and some great ideas in there too, was bloody brilliant.

I think a lot of people sort of tuned in at that point too. There was a phase where people were going “oh I wonder what dress it is today” which was great, so yeah we’ll definitely do it again next year. And I think if I can give the dresses away again then it’s just a really nice campaign.

Just quickly… Christmas! Any sneak peeks of special bargains that we should be aware of?

Hmm well I’m actually just starting to pull together something like what we did last year, an ultimate small biz gift guide, which last year we were slightly late when we started it. So we’ll start that but in terms of particular items or specials… gosh you’re really testing me cos I’m really not in that headspace yet! Nothing that I can think of but I do know that soon we’ll have our gift guide up. What we do… it’s fairly intense but it’s great… is we’ll advertise shortly on Insta to say “tag in your favourite small businesses” so it takes probably 2-3 days but Ash and I physically go through every single comment, we check out the businesses, we grab their photos and all that. It’s like the IHB following nominates their favourite businesses for the year. And then we pick something really iconic from that particular business then that goes into the guide. So that’s kind of where I’m sitting at the moment.

The IHB small biz guide is LIVE now! Check it out at www.iheartbargains.com

They’ll all be incredible businesses and will be all sorts of products. I got one the other day from this girl in Bendigo, who’s actually got this whole group of women – ugh I would SO love to just get out on the road and meet everyone! – called On the Go which is a group of small business which have got together in Bendigo and they meet all the time and they support each other. And she makes incredible, no artificial colouring, all natural ingredients, type of play dough for kids. So I’m like, cool!  We’ll do a kids small business gift guide. So I get people like that and I collect them throughout the year and do a guide at the end of the year, cos really the least I can do is give them a voice. And at the end of the year say “hey guys, get on and support small business and shop local”. I’m big on shop local. I do a lot of shop local for Christmas. So yeah that’s what’s coming up. Oh and I’ll obviously do Christmas Day dresses and all that sort of thing too which is always fun.

Dress from @lacenheelsboutique, image via @iheartbargains

Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing it all being revealed over the next few weeks. Thanks for the chat, Chelsea!

For all the bargains and fab findings get online to their site at www.iheartbargains.com or do as I do and follow I Heart Bargains on Instagram at @iheartbargains and Facebook at @IHeartBargainsAustralia to get amazing daily hits from Chelsea and the gang. I cannot stress how many fabulous finds you will discover on there – so much goodness!

Also, the Small Biz Guide is now live, click here to check it out for some amazing Christmas gift ideas and SHOP LOCAL peeps! It’s so important to support small businesses and encourage the creativity in our communities. Get amongst it!

And if you would like more information about Dress for Success and the wonderful work they do then jump onto their main site www.dressforsuccess.org and find the local affiliate in your area. There’s one in almost every state in Australia and loads more worldwide so get on board and donate if you can to this fantastic cause.

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