Friday ReBlog: the Launch of ReStitch

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Cathy from ReStitch reached out to me to tell me about the launch of this new website and to give you all a chance to get in on the good stuff first!

I know many of you don’t have access to great thrifting and/or as much time as you’d like to go to a physical store and try things on.  ReStitch helps you solve that problem with online thrifting.  The brainchild of Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin, ReStitch is essentially an online thrift store that gives more people access to some of the great stuff coming through Goodwill NCW’s doors.

Per Cathy: “The purpose of reStitch is to help deal-lovers and thrifters look great and do good.  Every reStitch item has been donated, making it possible to put 100 percent of profits directly back into the community in the form of employment training, job placement services, financial education, youth mentoring programs and more!”

(We’ve discussed previously whether marking up thrift finds for online resale is good or bad – most of you I’ve heard from think it’s fine, and how much moreso if the proceeds benefit the good causes championed by the non-profit receiving the original donation!)

ReStitch will likely launch in early December, just in time for holiday shopping.  If you go to their website and sign up (righthand sidebar), you’ll get access to their goods before the general public does.  You can learn more about them from their intro blog post & by perusing the rest of their site.

Thanks, ReStitch, for the great opportunity!

 

This post was not sponsored or compensated.  Just spreading the thrift love!

Does Thrifting Contribute to Gentrification? Part 2

Last week I shared the conversation my friend Hannah and I had about whether thrifting contributes to gentrification. I mentioned in the intro to that post that it seemed disingenuous to write about whether my thrift habit negatively affects those with limited resources without including the voices of the people in question.  Hannah grew up using thrift stores as an affordable means of clothing a large family looking to conserve resources, but I also wanted to include other voices.  Plus, I needed to educate myself more on the subject. Hence, Part Deux. Continue reading “Does Thrifting Contribute to Gentrification? Part 2”

Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC

A few weekends ago we packed up and drove the 3 and a half hours to meet friends in Asheville, North Carolina for a mini break.  What follows is what I packed (and what my kid packed), what I wore, and what we did, including a thrift visit (sadly only one; I saw at least two more but we didn’t make it to them.  Next time, Asheville!).

If that sounds like a lot to cover, it is!  Buckle up, folks, this is a long one (but there are photos to help you make it through!). Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC”

A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace

Pendants are one of my favorite kinds of necklaces because that dangling pop of jewelry is dramatic and fun; the length also handily draws your eyes down the entirety of the outfit and won’t crowd your face/neckline.

Luckily for us, pendants are also the easiest kind of necklace to DIY, because you can pop a few beads and baubles together, slip it on a chain you already own, and BAM!  You’re ready to go.  That same chain can be used to showcase different pendants depending on your outfit and your mood.

You can thrift the chain, of course, but you can also thrift the components of the pendant. I did one here that I’ve been wearing a lot this spring, and today I’m going to show you another one I recently created for the winter wardrobe I’ve been revamping this summer – but surprise, it works great for summer, too!

Click through to see what I made and general guidelines for making your own thrifted/DIY pendant. Continue reading “A DIY / Thrifted Statement Pendant Necklace”

Does Thrifting Save You Money? Part 2

Given that you don’t have unlimited time OR an unlimited budget, how do you make thrifting work for you?  Has your thrifting changed as you’ve gotten better at it?  Unlike your younger self, you can’t spend your life in cut-offs that ‘sort of fit’.  So how do you find good stuff without spending a parcel of time and money on near misses?

This is Part 2 of a wide-ranging conversation reader Ginna from Feet Chic and I recently had about how much our beloved thrifting habit costs us.  Find Part 1 here , or scroll down to chime in!

Continue reading “Does Thrifting Save You Money? Part 2”

Love It or Leave It – or, Learning to Say No to Clothes at the Thrift Store

I went thrifting with my friend Caitlin the other weekend – she racked up several items to try on and I struck out, so I ended up in the very spacious dressing room (thanks Newnan Goodwill!) giving her picks the thumbs up or down.

(Shoutout to my mom for training me to think it’s fun to help someone else try clothes on – Ma, you would have been proud of my re-hanging garments and sorting into yes/no/maybe piles while my friend kept zipping through her selections.)

My friend mentioned at the beginning of the process that she always tries things on twice, to give herself some time to marinate on a selection before sealing the deal.  I nodded in agreement – sometimes you just need to revisit a piece to decide if it’s coming home with you.

But then she found this purple, leopard print dress by Soprano (retailed for around $50).  My friend’s face lit up and we both oooohed and ahhhhed – it was love at first fit.  “I won’t have to try this on a second time!” she gushed. Continue reading “Love It or Leave It – or, Learning to Say No to Clothes at the Thrift Store”

The Style Doctor Pays a House Call

This post should really be called “The Style Magician…” because that is what my friend called the process when she talked about it to her spouse. But I don’t think magicians pay house calls, and “The Style Magician” sounded a lot more hokey than “The Style Doctor.”

A few weeks ago my friend Caitlin asked if I would come hang at her house and help her evaluate her style (and her closet).  I couldn’t say YES! fast enough. Continue reading “The Style Doctor Pays a House Call”

Grand Opening Finds

I talked Tuesday about how much of a circus, shopping-wise, the Goodwill Grand Opening was.  I got there about 2 hours before the doors opened to tour the store and check out the merchandise, so I had spotted a few things I was interested in, but by the time I got around to shopping, a few of them were gone (I’m looking at you, blue dresses).

However, I did nab a stellar J. Crew white denim jacket, which, while not on my current thrifting list, will serve as a great thrift upgrade for the Calvin Klein jean jacket I got on sale for $25 in college:

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The blue color means it reads decidedly casual, which limits its versatility a bit.  But more importantly, a decade and a half on it now has a tear – sad day:
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This baby, however, spruces things up considerably:

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It’s work appropriate, and a perfect layer for our Southern climate where it is sultry all summer long (starting with 90 degrees at the end of April) but we insist on air conditioning the living tar out of our interior spaces.  You better be prepared to cover up that sun dress, Sugar.

 

I also found this lovely top, which, while unlined and probably not stellar quality, put a smile on my face.  The bold colors and the plump little birds just make you want to sing, no?

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


The sleeves are long (to the beginning of the elbow) and fitted, which is a different and cool detail, and the shoulders fit great, but the rest of the top is sort of swingy – much larger down below.  I’m debating whether to have it tailored to a more boxy silhouette (a la this top).  Having the armholes altered will probably cost a pretty penny… curse my lack of sewing skills!  If I can’t make it work tailored, I very well may hang it against the back of my closet as wall art.

 

Last but not least, The Grouchy Ladybug, a childhood favorite, in toddler-friendly board book form:

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We probably own 10x my child’s weight in children’s books.

 

What delicious finds have you discovered in thrift stores lately?

 

A Goodwill Tour & Grand Opening – Decatur Store

Accidental double post this morning, y’all – check back tomorrow for that post updated with photos!

Oh my goodness, y’all.

A Goodwill Grand Opening is like Black Friday.  People wait outside in a line for hours and then the store is mobbed in a rush of craziness.  Polite craziness, no killing-each-other-over-TVs craziness.  But still craziness.

IMG_3601Every cart looked like this.

Never again.  Because the checkout line?  It took an hour to get through.  My legs hurt just thinking about it.

 

BUT.

 

The part before the doors open was super cool.

I got to roam the newly stocked aisles all by myself, and dang if they weren’t gorgeous.  It was hard to look at some great finds and then walk away until it was time to shop.

IMG_3547 IMG_3545 IMG_3552It’s like an I Spy game.  Check out my Instagram feed (sidebar on the right) for more pics.

And I wasn’t super quick on the draw when it came to the doors opening (that was also tour time behind-the-scenes…), so I missed a few things I had my eyes on (like the hangers lower right above.  Sigh).  But if you can’t have a sense of humor about your luck and let others enjoy good finds, too, where’s the fun in it?

 

Re: lines snaking out into the parking lot, I asked Sidney, who was a lovely host and works in marketing at Goodwill of North Georgia, what the big deal was.  Turns out Goodwills (at least here in northern GA) like to put out their best stuff for grand openings, and they have weeks leading up to the big day to select the top tier items out of the backlog of donations they’ve received while the store was in the final stages of preparation.

So you get shelves that look like this:

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(Special price shoe wall of my dreams:)

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And racks that look like this:

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And some really amazing finds, like a whole shoe section full of Vans from baby- to grown man-size:

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Yes those are all Vans.

 

An hour later, though, that shelf is going to look like this:

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If you can’t stand rushed shopping situations, stay home.  But if you love the adrenaline of trying to nab the best deals alongside some stiff competition, get in there and enjoy yourself!

My advice if you want to get in on the grand opening goodies is to go in right when it opens and spend 15 minutes cruising, then hop right into the checkout line.  You can always come back and enjoy the ever-changing merchandise at your leisure.

Also, bring something to do in line (for me it was work email on my phone).  Or talk to other shoppers waiting their turn at the cash registers.  I met some great people that morning.

 

Pre Show

Various folks involved in making this Goodwill happen spoke before the tours and door opening, and despite the potential for such speech-making events to be dull, they were engaging and told a great story.

Did y’all know that Goodwill of North Georgia has 2.9 million donors every year, opens 3-5 new stores per year (that’s mind-blowing), has revenues in the millions and used that money to put 16,000 people to work last year?  Their goal for this year is to assist 20,000 folks with job training and placement and they’re on track to exceed that amount.  This location’s new career center will be a huge help towards in achieving that goal.

Diara shared his experience as a graduate of the career center program, vice president of the alumni program, and now a participant in GoodBiz, an entrepreneurship program he’s using to get his web development and marketing business off the ground.  He teared up talking about how his 9-year-old daughter sees herself as a content contributor now that he’s a small business owner and how it’s changed his whole family’s outlook.  (He also recently went to DC to talk with legislators about Goodwill’s work.  Awesome.)


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The eminently tall Diara telling his story

Like I needed another reason to donate and shop…

 

 

Behind the Scenes

We got a tour of what lies behind those double swinging doors you commonly see in Goodwills.

Donations get dropped off here and immediately sorted for what’s usable/not:

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Some things do get trashed but pretty much everything that can be sold, either on their floor or to salvagers/recyclers, is.  Here are bales of extra clothing that isn’t in good enough condition to be sold; they’ll go to a clothing recycler:

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Usable items get sorted by store area and tagged with the color of the week, which helps the store track how long merchandise has been on the floor.  Typically, if an item is going to sell, it’ll do so within a month; items on the floor at the end of that time period get pulled for recycling.

Fun fact: to help with that rolling inventory concept, the color of the week changes on Sundays, so stop by that day or Monday to nab things that have just been marked down.

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Detailed instructions for pricing and tagging items:

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Then merchandise waits its turn to travel to the floor (which happens several times daily).

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The smooshed angle of this shot gives you an idea of how crowded it was…

And then you buy it!

 

Store Review

As I mentioned, the shelves were lined with their best stuff, so I won’t know until my next visit (and believe me, there will be a next visit) how their selection shakes out.  But I was pleased with what I saw – Willi Smith, Loft, Gap, Talbots, Vans, Justin boots, etc. – and with the organization (by color). Nothing was crammed or in disarray.

The changing room doors have locks on the inside, which means they don’t automatically lock when you close them, hallelujah!  That’s one of the biggest frustrations of other area Goodwills with self-locking changing room doors – no one’s using the stalls but you can’t get in without tracking down a store associate.  (They also had a call button at the fitting rooms, though, so it’s possible the doors do get locked back up periodically.  You’ve been warned.)

The store is spacious and well-lit and the aisles are decently wide.  One downside is that the line to the cashiers runs parallel to about half the dress section (just like in the Piedmont store), which means it’s harder to get at those dresses if there’s a line.

Big bonus: oversized try-on mirror for all your quick over-the-clothes try-ons.  (This is also where the best thrifting camaraderie happens.)

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Overall, it’s a great store and a great location.  This site used to be an eye-sore after an old K-Mart pulled out, but now the store, career center, and eventually Goodwill of North Georgia headquarters are bringing new life to the neighborhood.  Just seeing the re-done parking lot and newly planted trees put a smile on my face.  And I’m hopeful that the other stores in the existing shopping center will get a boost from this new anchor store.  (Shoutout to Madras Mantra if you love Indian food – very tasty vegetarian food.  Try the lunch buffet.)

 

Speaking of food…arguably the best part of the whole thing was the vegetarian breakfast frittata.  The catering was done by a Goodwill career center graduate… I’ll get her name from the gracious folks at Goodwill to share with all of y’all in the Atlanta area because it was That. Good.IMG_3590

 

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  Tune in on Thursday for my finds from this store!

Would you ever brave a grand opening like this, or do you prefer to wait a few days for things to settle down?  Scroll down to comment!