The Resale Shop’s purpose is to raise money each month for Safe Harbor, clothe and provide our clients with material goods, and offer amazing thrift to our community. The life cycle of a donated good is not commonly known and we desire to offer a small glimpse into that process.
It all starts at the donation door of our Resale Shop with members of the community. We couldn’t operate without individuals passionate about Safe Harbor’s mission, those who desire to give back and contribute what they can to further the goal of ending domestic violence in the Upstate. One woman’s bag of pre-loved clothes is another woman’s ability to look professional for a new job. Isn’t that how the saying goes? A shirt, for instance, is lovingly packed up in a bag and brought to our donation door by a donor. It’s brought in and handled with care by one of our Donation Assistants, a hard working person who spends their day taking in donations, moving furniture, dumping trash, packing up boxes of clothes for the next season and sorting items, just to name a few things from the to-do list.
That shirt is added to a pile of donations ready to be sorted, a mound that serves as a visual reminder of the desires of those in our community. Bags upon bags are sorted every day, not to mention boxes of home goods, shoes, toiletries, artwork, lamps, dishes, you name it. If one of our shelters has a specific need or there is a current request for a client, those items are immediately set aside for that purpose. Otherwise, the items will be put up in the Resale Shop. In the case of clothes, the Donation Assistant looks through the entirety of every bag and makes the call: “Should this be sold or recycled?” If she finds clothes that are a little too loved, are ripped, soiled, have a strong odor, are missing buttons or have broken zippers, she bags them up separately and they go in another pile. Don’t feel bad for those items, they do good too! They are picked up weekly by a textile company and pay Safe Harbor by the pound for what they receive. We make it a priority to use everything we are given in one way or another. If the clothing is free from those criteria listed above, it is placed in item specific piles and ready to be processed by another person.
The next phase for the shirt begins. Every day, multiple racks of clothes are hung, sprayed, tagged, priced and put on the floor by employees and volunteers of the shop. There is a special level of care and attention to detail at this stage. Clothing is sprayed down with a disinfectant, tagged uniformly and priced individually. We take the time to notice brands, quality, whether them item has tags and also take one more opportunity to look for imperfections. This is a crucial step for the end goal of the Resale Shop. The time taken during this step directly reflects the feel, care, and appearance of the shop. Now the shirt is ready to go through our processing doors and find its new home.
When you walk into Safe Harbor Resale Shop, you are stepping into a space that means different things for different people. You might be a mom who is having a little bit of alone time before picking up the kids from school, you might be a college student on a budget looking for a new dress for a party Friday night, you might be a reseller trying to make ends meet during these financially hard times, you might be an employee or volunteer who is deeply committed to the cause or you might be Safe Harbor client starting a new chapter in life. Because everyone’s reasons and days are different, we aim to create a peaceful and friendly environment for anyone who walks through our front doors. Candles are lit, jazz or folk music is ringing out, employees are making sure everyone is seen and heard. Items are clean, the shop is organized and tidy, home décor displays and mannequins are everywhere you turn to offer inspiration and to help you see possibilities for your own home and wardrobe. When you make a purchase at the Resale Shop, 85% of your purchase goes directly back to Safe Harbor. As for clients of ours, the Resale Shop is here to provide them with any material need…for free of charge. It might be suitcases as they make a transition out of an unsafe environment, clothes for their children, outfits for a job interview or a new job, dishes and bedding for a new home of their own or to fill their closet because with starting a new beginning they left every single thing behind.
That shirt donated goes from being taken to the store by a passionate donor, brought through the back door with respect; to being sorted, hung, looked over, cleaned, priced, and displayed creatively; to tried on multiple times in the shop, rung up and taken out of the front door to be given new life by a customer or client. It is shopping that matters.