Thrifting Goes Upscale And High-Tech (NPR)

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Lisa Tumbarello, Supports a Goodwill trunk show at Caramel, a boutique in Washington, D.C.

Think that designer blouse you're giving away to Goodwill will wind up in a thrift store? Think again. These days, Goodwill Industries, like many nonprofits that are searching for better ways to raise money and broaden their appeal, isn't going the traditional route with some of its designer donations.

Like trunk shows. Goodwill of Greater Washington recently pulled together a selection of its higher-end donations for a one-night sale at a retail store in Washington, D.C.

Professional stylist Lisa Tumbarello was on hand to help customers. There are even refreshments, sparkling cider and chocolate.

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Customer Terry Thomas, who had picked out a velvet-trimmed black coat, was pleasantly surprised as the cashier rung it up.

"That will be $9.98," the clerk says.

"What a bargain," Thomas says. "That's great."

Portia Obeng searches the racks of Goodwill clothes at the trunk show.The nonprofit holds several of these trunk shows each year in the hope of attracting shoppers who might not go to a regular Goodwill store.

"The misperception I think amongst most donors and consumers is that Goodwill's mission is to sell low-cost goods to people in need," says Brendan Hurley, of D.C.'s Goodwill. Hurley says they're really trying to make as much money as they can to provide job training for the disabled and disadvantaged.

"We're always trying to maximize the amount of revenue that we can make off of each sale. A big part of our marketing strategy right now is to educate the public on that, which is one of the reasons why we're really focused on fashion," Hurley says. "We're trying to reach a new and a younger consumer who might look at Goodwill as a realistic fashion option."

And hopefully become a loyal lifetime supporter. D.C. Goodwill has its own fashion blog with tips on great deals, like designer items with the price tags still attached. About two dozen other Goodwills around the country run their own year-round boutiques. More will be opening in the coming year.

Read more of this article at www.npr.org.


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