Just a disclaimer if you are sensitive with anything to do with mental health please do not read this story of how Thread Rentals came to be. I do not want anyone left feeling upset. If you are dealing with mental health and are feeling unsafe please contact any of the following for help.
- Helplines and local mental health service booklet
- Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- Lifeline 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999 or free text 4357 (HELP)
- Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)
- Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
- Samaritans 0800 726 666.
Thread Rentals originally was one of those “Selling/Renting” accounts you see everyone creating these days. I set up one of those accounts at the start of 2017 in the hopes to sell off unwanted clothes and rent out pieces I was not yet ready to part with. I never would have thought that one day I would create my own clothing rental company. For my whole life I wanted to study Law. I had never been so certain of anything. I knew it was my life’s passion to be a lawyer, and if I was successful enough, I hoped to one day have been an owner of my own law firm. Once I graduated at the end of 2016 and I applied to study Law at the University of Auckland. In January 2017 I was accepted to study Law conjoint with Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland. I was so happy to be following my dreams!
But life is never that simple... At the end of 2016/start of 2017 I went to a party with a group of my close friends. The party was being hosted by a boy who used to date one of my old girlfriends, at this stage we had not been friends since August of 2016, and the party was in December 2016. My boyfriend knew her ex so we went to the party because of that. The next day I started receiving messages from an account on facebook called “hotassgirl”, and that was where the Cyber Bullying started. For 6 months I was being messaged by several anonymous accounts attacking me threatening to ruin my life, and to come after the people I cared about. In total I think I had 3 instagram accounts, and 5 facebook accounts under random names like “hotassgirl”, “pleasetalktome”, “imgonnagetya” message me throughout those 6 months. My parents began receiving no ID phone calls from this person to which they would pick up the phone and there would be silence before the call ended. My boyfriend was receiving calls saying things like “We know where you live (and proceeding to say his address over the call)”, “We’re coming over to beat you up” and so on with the threats. I am not going to deny it, yes it affected me really negatively to go through all of that. I felt really unstable with my life because no matter how many times I reported an account a new one would pop up, no matter how many times I denied a call, my boyfriend, or my parents denied a call we all knew it would not last long until the next one came through.
It got to the point where my boyfriend and I broke up because I had changed negatively over the 6 months all this was going on. I dropped out of university studying Law conjoint with Bachelor of Arts because the girl who was behind the account studied at the University of Auckland too, and going there every day with the thought of seeing her was too much for me to bear. If she could call, make fake accounts and message me and those closest to me over social media, what would she be like if she saw me or anyone she was targeting in public? I knew I was the main focus for her, so I had to get myself out of what could have potentially been a really nasty situation. We asked police to step in, once the girl who we knew was behind all messages was questioned it all stopped, but despite the messages coming to an end, I had already lost everything I cared about. The person who was behind all the messages won. My self esteem had been taken away, my care was gone, my motivation had been lost, my degree flushed down the drain, all over some girl who would Cyberbully me non-stop from December 2016 to June 2017. I just felt like life was not worth living, and it was like that for the rest of 2017.
I began renting out my clothing via Instagram as a personal selling account, I had maybe 300 followers roughly to start off with. I remember one day deciding okay I have seen a few companies here and there renting out clothing, and I love shopping so why not jump on board with this. I wrote down 5 potential names for my company and asked my friends what name caught their attention and Thread Rentals was the top contender. I change my instagram name on the selling account to Thread Rentals and I remember making myself a very poor attempt of a logo as I have 0 clue how to use photoshop. Thanks microsoft word!
So we started with the name. At the time I decided I wanted to get into the rental business I had roughly 20 items, which is not much for a rental company, but for one person to have 20 dresses I had an endless supply of outfits. I started Thread Rentals out of my families spare bedroom, which the OG renters will remember! Any photos I had of my rental pieces were taken on self timer of me in my bedroom. Originally my plan for Thread Rentals was to rent out my personal wardrobe, and I thought I would do really well doing that as I had heard of people who had done this with their personal items.
I had a photo shoot with one of my friends at my dads warehouse, where I am currently now based. I thought the self timed photos were not doing me justice anymore and I thought I was big enough to set up my own website. So I had my friend pop on everything I had, and captured photos of her against our infamous white brick wall. I spent days setting up my website, at the time I thought what I was doing was going to help me out in the long run... BIG MISTAKE! At this stage of my life (around August 2017) I still remember that I was very frustrated with what was going on around me. This was when the Cyber Bullying messages had stopped, but I still was not coping with the bullying that happened afterwards. I got bullied because I was not okay, I was not able to process any situation positively, and as a result I got bullied more because my depression seemed to be a joke to some. I was working part time to give me the funding I needed to continue to bring in clothing. At this stage I was very on and off with Thread Rentals, constantly leaving work dealing with panic attacks, running on 0 sleep and being completely stressed out due to how my life was at the time. At this time I was still running Thread Rentals out of my spare bedroom. A big part of running your own rental company is allowing your clients to come in to try on your pieces. It was a very rare thing for me to bring people into my house to try on clothing as I did not feel like seeing anyone, I just wanted to be alone secluded in my room with no human contact.
I do not remember exactly how many times I was in and out of hospital in 2017 to be honest with you. I had self harmed and tried overdosing constantly. I was not getting any sleep during the night back then. I could not sleep even when I wanted to. Thinking about all that had gone on in my life, my past, present, and future seemed so dark in my head. I would do anything to avoid that moment when you are lying there in bed with your own thoughts, I did not want to think because I knew I would only have horrible thoughts. I would stay up until my body was completely drained to the point where I was physically unable to keep my eyes open, I would then end up sleeping through the majority of the next day only to repeat itself again the next night. To me the world was a place full of mean people and it did not seem like it was going to get better for me. I went from being Cyber Bullied by someone who used to be my best friend, to being bullied because I was not in a good head space from dealing with all that I did. Being labelled as such things like “an attention seeker”, “a drama queen” or “over dramatic”, all because I said I was not mentally okay after the online bullying incident. I felt like I had failed myself, and felt like everyone was against me. I did not want to live and that was my outlook on life back then.
I do remember when it clicked in my head that I did not want to continue self harming, or trying to overdose every week. It started when I had taken pills one night at the start of September 2017 intending to overdose throughout my sleep, this time unlike all my other times I did not tell anyone I had taken pills or even made a post on my social media indicating I was not okay. I wrote it in my diary and was going to leave it as that. The next day I was constantly throwing up finding it super difficult to hold anything down. That day consisted of me eating, vomiting, sleeping, vomiting, eating, vomiting and so on. The next day was no different expect I started noticing differences like my eyes turning yellow, and my skin turning white. I went out that night, just sitting in my car to get away from home, I did not want to be in the place where I dealt with most of my pain. My mum ended up finding my diary while I was out and read the part where I wrote I had taken pills in the hopes of finally giving up. I had St Johns, and my parents pull up to my car, and I was taken to hospital. In hospital I found out that my liver function was over 1300, whereas your usual liver should be functioning between 30-50. My dad asked me why I did it, I saw how much he was struggling in that moment, I could see he was scared that he was going to lose me, and I think in that moment I realised that the people who actually did care about me the most were suffering. My parents were doing everything they could to keep me here. Throughout the constant amount of bullying I was going through throughout the entire year of 2017 my parents did not once want me to give up. It really broke me seeing my dad break down over what I had done to myself. In my eyes I see my dad as this big tough man that never cries and rarely lets anything bring him down. To see this strong guy break down over what his daughter had done crushed me because I was finally seeing the way I was affecting those who cared about me most. My doctor told us that usually when someone who leaves pills in their system this long without telling someone dies from the toxicity in the body, and that he had never seen seem someone come in this late after trying to overdose. In most cases people who try overdosing either tell someone before it gets out of hand, or they die from not telling someone, there is usually no in-between. So from there I was put on a 16 hour treatment in the hopes to save my liver and to stop me from needing a transplant. After 3 days of treatment, and monitoring I was finally allowed to go home, but I was on high alert. I had therapy sessions every week, I had mental health teams constantly assessing me, I had home visits from my doctor, my mum did not go to work because she needed to watch me.
Once it clicked for me that I did not want to go down the road I was following life began getting better. I dropped out of university studying Law and Bachelor or Arts, but I knew how badly I wanted to make something for myself. At this stage Thread Rentals had just under 1,500 followers, but I was so determined to be one of the big guys. I began with an outdoor shoot one afternoon, gathering pictures for the gram. I constantly had people coming in and out of the house, and the literal wardrobe I had my pieces in began get far too full with clothing. It got to the point where I thought it was better to set myself up in one of my dad's rooms at his warehouse. There we made a proper changing room, and installed a giant clothing rack.
I think my parents thought what I was doing was a hobby and that I would get sick of it and want to do something else. I felt really guilty for letting them down and dropping out of university. I knew that if I was going to have my own rental company that I was going to stick with it, I was going to be good, and I was going to make my parents proud.
I continued working on Thread Rentals, I also worked part time for my parents at their office right next door to mine. This allowed to to have an income, which I could spend on bringing in more stock. It got to the stage where I was being flooded every day with Instagram messages from being wanting to rent outfits. I was receiving upwards of over 100 messages a day. It was becoming too much for me to deal with on my own, I felt as if it was finally time to re setup the website. So in September 2018 I organised a photo shoot for the stock, best thing I ever did without a doubt! The website made it easier for all of you to rent out clothing without having to have a 20 minute conversation on the Thread Rental account in order for you to rent a garment, and it meant freeing up my time to work on the studio and bringing in new stock. I can definitely say it was a decision I am proud I made, and one all rental companies should think about. Make sure you find the right time to make a website, never too early that you cannot keep up with the monthly fees and never too late that you are swamped in work.
I remember when I put up a questionnaire on my instagram story the most frequent thing to be asked was if I was going to bring in larger sized stock. I did slowly bring in larger sized clothing but, I was finding it difficult because I could not afford to bring in different styled item each week in multiple sizes. But with constant hard work I am at the stage where I can bring multiple pieces in each week, and bring them in in sizes S, M and L all in one go!
It makes me happy knowing that so many of you back what I am doing, and allow me to bring you this service. I am insanely grateful and thankful for every single one of you. I promise you I will continue to work hard to carry on a great rental service. I can not thank you enough for supporting me in my business endeavors. I do not think any of you have any idea how much I value every single one of you. I have found that since creating Thread Rentals my mental health has hugely improved. I feel like I actually have a purpose now. After dropping out of university I was so scared I would fail to make my parents proud. I was worried I would not be able to find happiness in my life. I thought I would be stuck working at a job I did not enjoy. That has since changed and I feel as if I have overcome a large hurdle in my life. I take pleasure in what I do here at Thread Rentals. I look forward to everyday because I know I will get to meet some of the most friendly and supportive people this world has to offer. I have made so many friends since creating Thread Rentals, and all that combined with being able to do something I love makes me so happy and grateful. Of course, life is never easy and you will always be thrown something difficult every now and then, but I am now finding the hard stuff much easier to deal with, and it is all to do with every single one of you. Without any of you I would not be in the position I am in today. I would not be as happy as I am right now. Without your support Thread Rentals would ceased to exist, and I honestly do not know what I would be doing with my life. So I express my gratitude to those who have contributed to Thread Rentals, whether that be by following our page, liking a photo, commenting on a post, or renting an item, every gesture is appreciated, and I thank you for joining me on this journey.
Since Thread Rentals has been up and running I have overcome depression, and suicidal thoughts, I have also lost friends along the way due to suffering from Mental Health related issues. After going through everything I did, I am glad I am here today, I am grateful I was able to have that moment of realisation in hospital because I really do not know where I would be today if I never went through that. I never appreciated my life until this business really kicked off. I think we really need to understand that we do not get second chances in life. Your life is such a valuable thing worth holding on to, yes it will be a bit crappy at times, and it may be super frustrating and hard dealing with whatever it is you are going through, but that is not a reason to give up because you do not get to change your mind if you are not alive anymore. You will never know what could have been if you do not push through the hard times. I see too many people giving up so young when their lives could have changed for the better. The best moment is when you get to look back on it all, you see everything you overcame, and you thank yourself for staying.
I urge you focus on something you love doing, whether that be art, sports,writing, dancing, whatever it is you love doing you should definitely pursue it. Do what makes you happy. It might be a long road until success comes your way, but it will come, and you will find so much enjoyment and happiness when doing something you love. Heck I love shopping and now I own a rental company where you are constantly having to shop for clothes. I love it! I might not be a therapist, but having gone through really hard times and changing my mindset to following something I found to enjoy has really benefited me. I know we are told social media is bad, but creating an account solely for something you love has got to be such a great feeling. The people who follow you have the same interests as you, and it does not feel like you are so alone anymore.
Please talk to someone if you are ever going through anything, whether that be a friend, a relative, or someone whose job it is to deal with Mental Health. Find someone you trust and get it all out, and get help. I have been through awful times, I know what it is like to be in that headspace, and I will happily be there for anyone who needs to talk, just message me on my main forms of social media, and I will do my best to help you out as much as I can.
Again I want to thank everyone who has followed me on this journey, it has been a long one, but I honestly would not change it for the world. I am happy with what I do, I feel fulfilled, and I have decided that I will go back to university next year! Only this time I am going to be studying business! Over the course of this year I am looking to hire someone part-time or full time depending on the workload, and I am going to be setting up another business, which I can not wait to share with you all!
For now this is where I am at. If you got through my story give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it! I really look forward to continuing to provide you a great rental service, and I hope to meet more of you in the future!
Thank you for everything,
Isabella Charman x