The modern world’s hankering for things vintage and retro has seen a Dunedin woman’s idea to capitalise on the trend, converting vintage linen sales into much-needed funds for Presbyterian Support Otago Family Works.

In just six months Mrs Barbara Rowe, of Mornington, and supporters of her venture have sourced, washed, bleached, stain-removed, dried, repaired, starched and ironed delicate vintage linen to sell on TradeMe and raise $1000 for the foodbank.

Mrs Rowe gained extensive knowledge about linen from her time as Convenor of the Mornington Presbyterian Church’s linen fairs and sales, when fundraising for the church centre.

“Once fundraising was over I still held donated vintage linen, so after listening to Presbyterian Support speakers talk about the need for funds, I was motivated to get to work again,” said Mrs Rowe.

“People know of the venture, so drop off vintage pieces for me to prepare for sale. Much of it is stained so it takes a lot of time using different products to remove the marks, but I get there in the end.

As the venture is self-funding and Mrs Rowe wants to make as much as possible for the foodbank, she hand-makes envelopes specifically for each lot sold, and even decorates the cardboard used for packing. All up, the venture has become less of a hobby and more of a full time job.

Mrs Rowe, known as ‘Gran Bee’ on the auction site, lists six sets of linen every week, attracting buyers from throughout New Zealand.