Newly launched site reStitch lets you shop Goodwill online

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For secondhand fashion fans, there’s a new site to know about: reStitch, an online shop stocked with thousands of new and gently used finds culled from Goodwill donations.

Launched this year by Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin, the site puts a fresh, contemporary spin on digital thrifting with a look that’s more boutique than dusty thrift store or everything-under-the-sun eBay.

With thousands of new items hitting the site each month, reStitch promises hardcore thrifters the thrill of the hunt without leaving home. At the same time, the ability to search by brand and style recommendations based on your searching streamlines the process and makes inventory from multiple donation drop-off points and retail stores accessible in one place.

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While it’s new, reStitch isn’t the only place to shop Goodwill donations online. But its focus on apparel sets it apart from predecessor Shop Goodwill, whose inventory spans multiple categories and pulls items from numerous stores from Goodwill’s network of 164 independent agencies across the country.

To learn more about this new destination for online thrifting and the part Goodwill plays in diverting apparel from landfills, we spoke to reStitch’s Kristen Rihn, a member of the Retail Leadership team at Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin.

reStitch is not the first online shop to sell Goodwill donations. Can you give us an idea of the size and scope of the Goodwill organization and how reStitch fits into the bigger picture?

reStitch.com was developed by Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin (Goodwill NCW), one of the 164 North American agencies and one of five Goodwill agencies that serve Wisconsin.

Goodwill NCW has 27 retail stores and training centers in 35 Wisconsin counties, and our organization offers 29 human services programs to fulfill our mission of “Elevating People, Transforming Communities.” In 2016, those programs touched the lives of more than 63,300 people in our service area.

Goodwill of Orange County (Calif.) developed ShopGoodwill.com about 10 years ago. ShopGoodwill is an auction-type site that specializes in selling books and collectibles. Other Goodwill agencies, including Goodwill NCW, sell items on that site as well.

Building an ecommerce site that lists hundreds of items daily within a non-profit organization is no small task.What has the journey behind reStitch been like?

It has been an incredible journey, with more than a year of planning, brainstorming, testing and developing before the site went live. Developing a solid business plan and then implementing new processes, platforms and technology to support that plan was critical.

We also worked hard to develop a strong team that could support reStitch and give her the love and attention she deserves. Our entire agency – from the Finance Team to the Engagement Team to the Information Technology Team – has been part of this journey. We work very collaboratively at Goodwill. Together, we can create more than we can alone.

What happens to clothing that isn’t accepted for sale on the site?

With 27 retail stores and an Outlet Center, much of our apparel is sold in our stores. If items aren’t listed on reStitch or sold in our stores, we partner with agencies and vendors that can purchase textiles in bulk and they are repurposed, reused or recycled.

How often do you post new merchandise?

We list approximately 400-600 items almost every day, and we’ve worked hard to refine our processes so that we can be as efficient as possible.

We know that our customers want a large variety of newly listed merchandise, so we are striving to fulfill that request, and we will grow that daily number of listings as our customer base increases.

We’ve listed as many as 1,000 pieces in a day, so we have a lot of opportunity to surprise and delight our customers.

What makes a garment site-worthy?

Items listed on reStitch need to be in very good condition.

All brands are welcome, but we try to avoid — or minimize — the number of “mass merchant” or “discount” store private labels such as Basic Editions, Merona, Faded Glory, etc.

With so much inventory available on the store, what tips or advice do you have for us as we’re browsing the site?

Items listed on reStitch are categorized as “New with Tags,” “Like-New” or “Gently Used.”

“New with Tags” is as the name suggests. “Like-New” indicates the item appears to have never been worn, while “Gently Used” items could have a wrinkle or appear a bit worn on the inside of the garment.

Items with holes, tears, defects, odor, stains, have shrunk, etc., do not meet our quality standards and will not be listed.

How does reStitch further the Goodwill’s role in promoting sustainability? 

It’s our duty and responsibility to be good stewards of every donation we receive from our generous donors. To do this, we work hard to make sure we are selling items we receive in the best possible location. This often means we sell them in our stores, but at other times, we list them online (ShopGoodwill for collectibles, reStitch for apparel) or in our Outlet Center.

In every instance, our goal is to keep donations out of landfills. It’s impossible to do that 100 percent of the time, of course, but we keep millions of pounds of donated goods from that fate.

In 2016, Goodwill NCW collected 48,844,949 pounds of donated materials (textiles, shoes, furniture, toys, sporting goods, electronics, glassware, and more) and 73 percent of that (more than 35.6 million pounds) was saved from landfills.

The addition of reStitch is just one more way that we will value our donors generous gifts and give a second life to worthy items.

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Do you have a favorite place to donate clothing or thrift shop online? Let us know what’s topping your list in the Spirit of 608 Facebook group



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