Last month, the Director of Marketing & Communications of Goodwill SoCal, Marla Eby, was kind enough to take me on a walking tour of their headquarters in the San Fernando Valley. Myths were dispelled, secrets were exchanged, and this girl’s day was made. Here’s what we learned:
MYTH 1: While researching for our Goodwill Girl editorial spread, I heard from several sources that ‘all the clothes you donate go to a central place, and they distribute evenly, so every Goodwill gets the same quality of goods.’
FALSE! I now realize those people were probably just trying to keep their special Goodwills secret. As Director Eby kindly pointed out, with the massive amount of donations Goodwill receives, that would be an expensive waste of time and very carbon unfriendly. The truth is each Goodwill has its own donation stations and a sorting facility in the back, the quality of goods is neighborhood dependent. I won’t go into details but you might want to consider this one. Or this one.
MYTH 2: Proceeds of sales are donated to third-party charities.
Also false. Not only does Goodwill operate 3,200 retail stores, these stores were created to raise funds for their real business – community career services. Goodwill SoCal alone operates eight career resource centers where they provide computer services, career training, veteran services, at-risk-youth services and job placement to thousands each year. They also run several small businesses that only employ those with special needs. As a result, a larger percent of funds raised to goes directly to those in need – 95% to be exact.
MYTH 3: Everything sold has already been used.
Traditional retail stores will often donate large amounts of new but not longer sold (aka dead stock, aka NOS (New Old Stock)) goods to Goodwill. This means they will often get large donations of items still in their packaging or with tags. These items actually do get distributed evenly to stores so ignore Myth 1 here.
SECRET 1: Weekly Tag Colors: Do you ever get overwhelmed by so many clothes? Well my friend, weekly tag colors are for you. Every week, a specific tag color is named the color of the week and all items with that color tag are 50% off. That’s right HALF OFF.
SECRET 2: Outlets & Clearance Centers: If the bargain prices are quite bargain enough for you Goodwill also has outlet centers – these center receive large corporate donations and items from other Goodwills so there is a great selection. The Christian Louboutins in the slider were found at the San Fernando Outlet Center.
SECRET 3: Zero Impact: Goodwill’s goal is to run in a way that is zero impact. This means reusing and recycling in every way possible. Clothes that aren’t sold go to bulk sale, then auction, then to rag trading groups or recycling centers. There are individuals to buy in bulk and resell in third markets or other countries which means that Goodwill might be responsible for keeping more goods and clothes out of the landfill than any other entity in the world.
To find your local Goodwill Retail and Outlet Stores, use the store locator on the Goodwill site.
To find your area’s promotions, events, and sales, use the store locator to find your regional Goodwill’s website and social media links which will list upcoming weekly colors and regional promotions.
NUMBER OF ITEMS SAVED FROM A LANDFILL: BILLIONS