When it comes to having an Ethical Closet, we encourage people to reuse, swap, and upcycle clothing rather than buy new. That's where thrift stores play an important role in sustainable fashion. By shopping pre-owned you extend the life of clothing, save natural resources that would take to produce a new one, prevent clothes from going to landfills, save money, and find unique pieces!
Last week we had the pleasure to speak to Lourdes de la Matta-Little, a representative of Goodwill South Florida, on our Ethical Closet Series LIVE. Goodwill South Florida is a nonprofit that goes beyond selling clothes. Most of us know them for their thrift stores, however Goodwill SFL is a large organization with the goal of creating job opportunities to people with disabilities.
Check out the conversation we had with Goodwill SFL, and watch our Ethical Closet LIVE on @gabriellasmith's https://www.instagram.com/tv/CCHdvfrgH3S/
UP: What is the Mission of Goodwill South Florida?
GSFL: Goodwill South Florida is a nonprofit that creates hope, opportunities and a place to belong for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. How do we accomplish this mission? We provide opportunities for people with physical and intellectual challenges and other barriers. We help those we serve increase productivity and move towards greater independence through job training, employment and job placement.
UP: How does do the Goodwill Shops align with the mission?
GSFL: We fulfill our mission by receiving donated goods from our wonderful donors & selling them in our stores, the profits help fuel the organization and employ many people with disabilities and other barriers. Our programs serve over 6,800 people each year, most of whom have a disability or other barrier to employment. Through evaluation and training, we place our trainees in positions in our community.
UP: How many people does Goodwill South Florida employ?
GSFL: Goodwill SFL Employs over 3,000 people within the different lines of businesses
UP: What are the different lines of business Goodwill South Florida has to support the mission?
GSFL: There are 5 lines of businesses that help support our mission:
o Donated Goods (GW Stores and Shopgoodwill.com)
o Apparel Manufacturing (Goodwill South Florida proudly manufactures over 1,000,000 and growing pieces of apparel and textile items annually for various commercial and military customers in our Ryder Apparel Manufacturing Division)
o Commercial Laundry (Cleans over 40 million pounds of linens and uniforms for our hospital partners and is custom designed to serve the healthcare and hospitality industry in South Florida)
o 3rd Party Logistics Solutions (Logistics Management)
o Service Contracts (Providing high-quality, cost-effective facilities management solutions to our Government and Commercial customers, we are a leader in facilities management in the Miami area)
UP: How many shops do you manage?
GSFL: There are two (2) Goodwill Outlets 1 in Dade and 1 in Broward County and a total of 34 stores. Location can be found on our website at www.Goodwillsouthflorida.org/locations
UP: How has the Corona Virus Pandemic impacted donations? Did they increase or decrease?
GSFL: With the COVID pandemic there has been a surplus of donations which we greatly appreciate. Due to such a high number of donations we held our 1st ever Goodwill 50% OFF Sale on July 4th Weekend.
UP: What measures are being taken to ensure the safety of shoppers
GSFL: Goodwill South Florida cares about its employees as well as shoppers health and safety, we are following all county guidelines. Employees and shoppers must wear masks at all times, as soon as you come in to the store there is a temperature check and we provide hand sanitizer. We also ask that everyone remains 6 feet apart from each other. We allow a certain number of shoppers at a time based on the store capacity. Fitting rooms are closed and there is signage throughout the store.
UP: Where can people donate clothes?
GSFL: Donations can be made at any of our stores, donation centers or trailers located throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. Locations can be found on our website at www.Goodwillsouthflorida.org/donations
UP: Shopping second hand is an important part of building an ethical closet. The fashionistas are looking for brand labels- how are the shops organized to help consumer have a great in store experience?
GSFL: Every time you visit our retail stores you will find plenty of variety and special finds! We rotate our stock weekly, adding thousands of new items to our sales floor each day. Our stores are well organized, there is women’s, men’s, children, shoes and household areas. Clothes are arranged by type i.e. jeans, skirts, shorts, blouses, t-shirts, etc, and then by color. The search for your fave brands is part of the fun of shopping at our stores. You never know what treasure you will find!