Goodwill for Fashion: Who knew?

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Goodwill Industries in the Sacramento area is busily preparing for Style with a Purpose, at the Alta Arden Goodwill location on Saturday, August 4.  Though this particular event has a Back to School theme, fun and fashion is in store for all who attend.  According to Goodwill representatives, the goal is to make fashion accessible to everyone, to break down the stigma attached with thrifting, to promote eco-fashion and to have on-hand style advice for shoppers free of charge.  Regional Manager for Goodwill Industries, Hope Pearson, extends her invitation to customers of all ages and expects them to be impressed.  “It’s not your average thrift store,” Pearson maintains.  “Our quality is much higher than most thrift stores.”

The happening will feature a number of fashion experts in the Sacramento area, and welcome men, women, and children to get their fashion groove on.  Stylists will pre-select clothing items for people of all sizes, and other items will also be showcased.  During the event, guests will be able to browse “style stations” where stylists will offer personalized fashion advice.  This is Goodwill’s second stylists event in the Sacramento area.  The first one, held on April 28, was a rousing success.  In the process, Goodwill attracts new shoppers to its organization by pointing out how people can, through a little hunting, acquire amazingly inexpensive ways to enhance their wardrobe. 

While Style with a Purpose is designed to be a fun event, it supports a serious cause.  Each purchase to Goodwill helps improve lives of people who use the organization’s services.  All purchases of merchandise from Goodwill’s stores benefit the nonprofit’s mission of helping people with disadvantages achieve self-sufficiency.  In 2018 alone Goodwill Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada provided more than $20 million worth of resources to those in need.  Some community organizations benefitted are Next Move Homeless Services, Francis House Center, Wind Youth Services, People of Progress, and Community Link Capital Region.  “Our business wouldn’t be possible without donations from our community,” Pearson asserts.  What’s more, Goodwill is instrumental in helping people in the community rebuild their lives with its job assistance programs.

Goodwill was founded in 1902 in Boston by Methodist minister Rev. Edgar H. Helms.  Helms enacted the progressive idea of collecting household items and clothing in upper class sections of the city.  These goods were resold or given to people in need.  Thus, the Goodwill credo of not charity, but a chance was put into place.  Helms’ simple vision is now a nonprofit organization with assets of more than $5.5 billion.  Helms described Goodwill Industries as an “industrial program as well as a social service enterprise… a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources are depleted.”    

Goodwill Industries gets results.  In 2017, more than 38.6 million people utilized in-person and technological services from the organization to build their professional lives.  Also last year, the organization’s Good Neighbor program, which provides emergency assistance on a referral basis to agency clients, directly served 72,937 people across 35 countries. 

More than a century after Goodwill’s founding, events such as Style with a Purpose help perpetuate the success of the organization by bringing in a new, often younger clientele.  Betsy Appleton, who puts together the blog, reminds people that dressing snappy is affordable, thanks to Goodwill.  On the blog, Appleton describes herself as “a 20-something navigating the waters of adulthood with champagne taste on a beer budget.”  As a guest on NewsChannel 5’s Talk of the Town program in Nashville, Appleton provided frugal fashionistas with a few tricks of the trade.  When asked about her best tip for going through the racks, Appleton advised that it’s a different experience than walking to a rack in a department store.  In fact, she claimed, some elbow grease is required.  Appleton explained the digging in being a Goldwill digger.  “One is to be patient,” she asserted.  “Things aren’t going to jump out at you.  You have to spend time there, be patient, and be persistent.” 

Appleton added that the reduced monetary investment in clothing bought from Goodwill lends itself to experimentation.  A recreational fashion designer can feel free to take the scissors to alter a Goodwill garment, because it didn’t cost a lot of money.  “There’s no harm in doing a little DIY with Goodwill pieces.  You don’t have a lot invested in them to make them unique and fit you.”  Appleton was awarded Goodwill of Middle Tennessee’s 2016 Ambassador of the Year.

Heather Donaldson, creator of Style with a Purpose, received her inspiration for this event from a similar happening in Nashville, in which her sister Elisabeth participated.  A critical care nurse, Heather Donaldson started thrifting out of financial necessity, and now keeps doing it for fun and with a sense of social consciousness.  “When I was musician living in Los Angeles, I never had any money but needed clothing that would make me look like a star. Goodwill quickly became my best friend,” she reflects.  “I could find unique items made of rich fabrics that were often hardly worn. Now that my pocketbook is not as tight, I don’t thrift out of necessity, I thrift because I worry about this planet and the effects of fast fashion on the environment. I still find beautiful clothes for a fraction of retail prices and I use what I save to travel and enjoy life.” 

Donaldson will serve as a stylist for the event along with Caitlin Alfstad, Dev Anglin, Hagen, Keia Mae, Tuyen, Vince Vicari, and Xochitl. Each stylist in the event will be on hand to provide personalized fashion advice.  All attendees will be welcome to pick the brains of these local “bloggers, artists, and fashionistas,” as described by Donaldson. 

Style with a Purpose will take place on Saturday, August 4, at the Alta Arden Goodwill location, on 2040 Alta Arden Expressway, from 1-4 PM.  Light bites and beverages will be served.  For more information about Goodwill in this area, go to