Friday, November 30, 2012

"Thrifting" a Movement Sweeping the Nation with Goodwill in the Lead

By Lisa Respers France
 (CNN) -- After Denise Honeycutt sashayed down the catwalk modeling a sleek sleeveless black dress with a blue lace jacket, she felt so good she bought the outfit.
"I got those two pieces and a skirt for $20," she said. "How's that for a deal?"
Such bargains may not be haute couture, but during a recession they are a thrifty shopper's dream.
As budgets tighten during the economic crunch, buying used clothing is no longer just for fans of vintage wear.
Many are discovering the hidden treasures in consignment shops, as well as thrift stores and other places once thought to be only for the destitute.
That's a message that Brendan Hurley, senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill of Greater Washington, has been working hard to get out.
Goodwill of Greater Washington provided the fashions Honeycutt modeled for the show at the Arlington United Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia, and has been actively campaigning to spread the word that Goodwill fashion is contemporary and hot.
"Most people have a misunderstanding of Goodwill's mission and they believe that our mission is to sell inexpensive merchandise to the poor," Hurley said. "In fact, Goodwill's mission is to provide job training and employment services to people with disadvantages and disabilities. We just happen to fund that mission through the resale of donated items at our retail stores."
To change the negative perception, Hurley said that four years ago they started a campaign to make the stores more appealing as a source of inexpensive fashions by holding virtual and live fashion shows.
Hurley said things really took off after they launched a viral marketing campaign and the very successful DCGoodWillFashions blog.
Em Hall is the retail marketing manager who blogs as the DC Goodwill Fashionista in a gig that has become so high-profile that she was invited to blog this year from Fashion Week in New York.
About once a month on average, Hall and her team put together "travel and trunk shows" where they pull merchandise from their nine stores, put them on rolling racks and take them to events for attendees to shop.
People respond to the great prices and selection as well as the opportunity to recycle by buying someone's gently used clothing, Hall said. Tell us about your thrift fashions
"The response has been tremendous," Hall said. "We know that finding that treasure at Goodwill, finding that vintage piece, really resonates with people."
Across the country, Goodwill stores have launched several creative ideas to attract divas (or divos) who may have more style than funds.
Goodwill Industries of Michiana Inc. of South Bend, Indiana, has "Boutique Days," where they work with local fashion reporter and consultant Kathy Friend to raise awareness that Goodwill can be an excellent resource for brand name and designer clothing.
Those who donate at least 20 clothing items receive an opportunity for a private consultation with Friend at a reduced rate.
"On a trip to Goodwill I've found Chanel handbags still in the tissue paper and in Saks Fifth Avenue bags," said Friend, who as part of her consultation teaches clients everything from how to spot signs of wear to how they can get pieces altered. "I was like, are you kidding me?"
The Goodwill/Easter Seals program in Minnesota held a "Second Runway" fashion show in February where 30 volunteer fashion designers took existing clothes from surrounding Goodwill stores and turned them into hip new outfits.
The event attracted more than 500 attendees.
"We were given $50 and we could create up to three looks out of things we found at the Goodwill," said designer Kristina Bell, who whipped up a cute little dress out of recycled T-shirts. "I've always been a thrifter, but now it's a really good way to save money."
Someone else's hard times can be a fashionista's gain.
Denise McShane owns McShane's Exchange, whose two locations in the Chicago, Illinois, neighborhood of Lincoln Park have seen an uptick in those unloading their Prada and St. John.
"Business has really boomed," McShane said. "The bad news is that we are in a recession, but I absolutely have had a surge in consigners."
McShane said she offers those who still have a cash stash a bit of retail therapy during hard times. They can get great buys at a reduced rate.
Such shops, known in the industry as resale stores, have long attracted quality merchandise, said Barbara Nell, owner of The Daisy Shop on Oak in Chicago.
Nell said women are bringing in only the best for resale.
"Women seem to be cleaning their closets of their most luxurious items," said Nell. "It's not just the bread and butter or staples of their wardrobe anymore."
iReporter Elizabeth McElherne scored a $25 mink coat in August at a shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Check out Elizabeth's iReport on her find
"If you can't buy something new, you might as well recycle and buy someone else's stuff," McElherne said. "I saw that coat and I said 'If it's less than $100 I have to get it.' "
Nicole Mladic is the "babe" behind the "Budgeting Babe" blog for "young, working women who want to spend like Carrie in a Jimmy Choo store but have a budget closer to Roseanne."
Mladic said she encourages her readers to not only shop thrift, but also to be generous in their giving.
"I make sure to thin out my wardrobe every so often," she said. "Any pieces that I am not wearing, I donate."
That type of generosity is much appreciated, especially in the current economy.
Melissa Temme, a national spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said that while the need for low-cost clothing is increasing, donations for such clothing have remained consistent and that could spell trouble.
"It means that down the road we may not be able to stock our shelves," Temme said. "In the long term, that's a concern."
Katherine Ransom, communications manager for Goodwill of Orange County, California, said that as more people turn to thrift fashions to help stretch their dollars, they are discovering the clothing is a lot more current than they might have imagined.
Ransom said even Hollywood types are getting in on the act, as wardrobe consultants for television shows and movies are also perusing the racks for good buys. A recently launched coupon campaign is bringing in even more shoppers, she said.
"People are saying 'I've never done this before, but now is a good time to start,' " said Ransom, whose organization launched 10 years ago. It now includes merchandise from 77 Goodwill organizations around the country. "They are taking advantage of the quality merchandise with really deep discounts."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Style Secret Ad Campaign

All of the outfits in these photos was found in a local Goodwill store. All of the models in the photo shoot are Goodwill employees, volunteers or clients.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Outfits We Made One Day at Goodwill

Fall in Love With Fall Colors

By Nashelle Williams

Fall has arrived and just as the leaves change color and the weather gets cooler, so should your wardrobe. It is time to add layers to your outfit and change your color scheme. Time to put away the sandals and bring out the boots. Time to rev up your wardrobe.

When you think of autumn you think of the oranges, reds, yellows and browns - these are the types of colors you want when picking out your fall fashion. Just remember to keep things vibrant, you can still use some of those summer colors to keep your outfit fresh. For example, I recently bought a green knee length coat from the Goodwill which can be paired with any fall inspired colors.
Another thing you want to consider is layering. Layering is super important when it comes to cooler temperatures - it's about wearing multiple items and giving your outfits texture while staying super chic. Your outfit could consist of a nice jacket, sweater, scarf, jeans and boots. That seems like a lot of items but if worn the right way, it creates a great look. When layering make sure you choose different colors and patterns - one of the worst mistakes is to be 'matchy'. Great fashion is about giving your clothes texture and personality.

'Thrifting' - The New Craze at Goodwill

By Nashelle Williams

Are you the type of person who goes to the leading department store and spends too much on boring, average clothing? Why do that, when you can save money and stand out? Shopping at Goodwill gives you that opportunity. Not only will you set the trend with cash to spare, you will also be supporting a good cause.

When shopping at Goodwill it is all about creativity and finding items that fit your personality. Finding the potential in vintage items is challenging and a lot of fun! That is where I come in; I am here to show you how to spot all the possibilities.

There is a new movement called 'Thrifting' - this is when you go to thrift stores like Goodwill to find awesome, inexpensive, vintage clothes and make them hip. You can do this by piecing the items you found with more modern fashions. The 'Do It Yourself' process is like being a designer - you can transform something regular and common into something original and unique. There are plenty of ideas online or you can always use your own sense of creativity.

The hard thing about 'thrifting' is finding the cool, vintage clothes. Keep in mind that when you shop at a thrift store the clothes are donated, so you may not find exactly what you are looking for. That is where the creativity kicks in - look for items that can be adjusted. Maybe you found the perfect color skirt, but it is too long so... cut it, hem it up, use fabric glue. You have to be creative.

Style is what you say without saying a word. Let the world know who you are and what you stand for. Don't follow the masses, step out of your comfort zone and dress the way you want. You are original, so use that to your advantage. It is all about being you.