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'Life happens for you, not to you': Waterloo entreprenuer launches online clothing store after pandemic layoff

Waterloo -

Kelsey Hellyer from Waterloo Region started an online business after being laid off from her retail job due to the pandemic.

“It’s crazy. At the time I was like, 'this is the worst thing that could ever happen,'” said Kelsey Hellyer, founder of Closet from Hell.

Looking back, she now believes getting laid off was one of the best things that could have happened as it motivated her to take her passion for fashion to the next level.

“Life happens for you, not to you. So just switch your thinking,” Hellyer said.

At first, she used her online platform to sell clothes out of her own closet but she has since expanded the business and now outsources from vintage warehouses.

“I’ll bleach dye or tie-dye pieces especially if there’s holes or marks on it,” said Hellyer.

She started her business in January of this year and it is already doing well.

“I’m projected to do about $150,000 by the end of the year,” the 30-year-old entrepreneur said.

Her warehouse is her basement and she works by herself, hand packaging every item with a personalized note to the customer.

“She was able to personally deliver the items to my house and during COVID, it was porch drop-offs,” said regular customer Ana Freitas.

Hellyer said she enjoys meeting her customers at local pop-ups.

“Supporting local is a big deal to me and also supporting girl bosses that are creating their own brand,” said Freitas.

Before Closet from Hell, Hellyer worked in fashion retail for almost a decade.

“I learned what sells and what doesn’t, even down to what colours people buy more,” said Hellyer.

Closet from Hell uses the site Shopify.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, Shopify officials said new store creations on the platform increased by 96 per cent in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic.

"One of the best things to come out of the pandemic was the seismic shift towards entrepreneurship. This happened globally, but was especially pronounced in Canada. We saw thousands of Canadians looking to achieve financial independence by starting and successfully running their own business during the pandemic," said Ian Black, Managing Director of Canada at Shopify.

Hellyer said her goal is to open a brick-and-mortar store in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Top Stories

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