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  • Writer's pictureHeather DiPrato

NINJA DUDS: Redefining Secondhand Fashion

NINJA DUDS

by Heather DiPrato of Yardley Living


Juggling the demands of a career while raising a family can at times feel like an impossible task. Heather Manley, the visionary behind NINJA DUDS, has been rewriting the rules. Hers is a story of resilience, adaptability, and turning challenges into opportunities. It also led to the creation of the local consignment phenomenon that is redefining how families reuse and recycle apparel.


After nearly two decades as a 5th-grade teacher, Manley found herself at a crossroads. Her twins Eleanor and William were each facing unique challenges right as she was getting back into the swing of her career. Navigating a year of medical complexity for Eleanor and a Level 3 autism diagnosis for William, she realized the need for a structure that could "fill in the gaps" as she worked full-time and attended to her family's needs.


Enter the concept of the "Ninja" – inspired by a friend's lament about needing a helpful “ninja” to tackle life's challenges! Heather started a side hustle she called Random Task Ninja, handling everything from grocery shopping to dog-sitting. Yet, it was her knack for organizing that helped pave the way for NINJA DUDS. Recognizing the widespread issue of excess clothes in homes, she ventured into local consignment, providing a solution for those who wanted to part with their gently worn, and often new, clothing.


Initially operating through a Facebook group with a handful of friends, NINJA DUDS quickly gained traction. Along with friends Denise Cashman and Robin Schiavoni, the team developed a local community of over 250 members, facilitating the exchange of clothes through porch pick-ups. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NINJA DUDS faced a turning point. Porch visits became challenging, prompting the team to establish headquarters in Washington Crossing.


The move to an online shopping model with contactless pick-up proved to be a gamechanger. As word spread, NINJA DUDS attracted over 3000 local moms, forming valuable connections with small businesses in Yardley and beyond. Rhian Huhn joined the ranks, further expanding the NINJA family.


Three years later, the business has evolved and is a thriving community, serving not only as a consignment hub but also as a platform for moms seeking flexible work opportunities. With a current roster of over 300 active consignors and the launch of a brand-new website, NINJA DUDS is reaching new heights.


Their mission goes beyond providing affordable and sustainable fashion; it's about empowering moms to embrace fresh starts. The focus on gently worn clothes getting a second (or third) chance aligns with environmental sustainability while offering a sentimental journey for mothers parting with their children's special belongings.


Heather's journey proves that with passion, dedication, and a supportive community, a fresh start is not only possible but immensely rewarding. The launch of their website signifies a new chapter, bringing the consignment experience into the digital age. As NINJA DUDS continues to grow, Heather envisions creating opportunities for other moms facing the same challenges. At NINJA DUDS, each garment passed along to a new wearer helps tell a story of reinvention and the joy of new beginnings!


Curious about consignment? To learn more about NINJA DUDS, visit their new online store at shop.ninjaduds.com.



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