Online clothing shopping is an endless world of opportunities. Nowadays, there are countless websites and even mobile apps where you can buy, sell, and even trade with others online. What if there was a place where you could shop used designer-brand clothes at affordable prices while benefitting global charities at the same time? Fashion Project is the industry’s leading clothing online donation service that sells like-new or gently-used clothing and accessories with up to 55% of net proceeds benefitting charities. Members of this online community can donate clothing and shop based on causes they care most about.
Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk founded Fashion Project based on the radical idea that shopping and fashion should not only be enjoyable but have a beneficial impact on the world. Ecouterre spoke with Anna Palmer, co-founder and CEO of Fashion Project to learn more about this groundbreaking endeavor:
What’s the story behind Fashion Project?
Both Christine and I have experience with nonprofits, which taught us how to drive business in an atmosphere where funding is crucial.
We met at Harvard Law, and one of our tax law professors was talking about clothing donation, and just how much money is left on the table when clothes are donated to charity.
During our graduation, we talked about what happens to the $13 billion in items that people donate each year. Shortly after on a trip to a local thrift store, we uncovered an Alice + Olivia jacket with a $2 price tag buried beneath old shoes, gym shorts, and a clock radio.
As fans of the brand, we knew the jacket could be resold for close to $100, so we decided to find a way to use fashion as a force for good.
How does Fashion Project work?
After sending in their donations in a pre-paid mailer bag, donors assign a charity to each of their contributions on www.fashionproject.com.
Each donation is processed at our headquarters and then sold online [through our site] or through an offsite partner.
For every single item sold on the site, regardless of the channel, Fashion Project donates up to 55 percent of the net profits to the donor’s charity of choice and the donor is issued a tax receipt.
We accept gently-used women’s designer clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories from specific brands, which are listed on the site, to ensure the best experience for our shoppers.
Each product you sell benefits a different charity. How are product prices and donation amounts determined?
Our donors select the charity they want their contributions to benefit. We partner with charities that embody our mission to do as much good as possible and change the world.
Product prices are determined based on brand, condition, age, and seasonality. As mentioned above, for every single item sold on the site, we donate up to 55 percent of the net profits to the donor’s charity of choice.
In what ways does Fashion Project embody environmentally friendly business practices?
Fashion Project inherently practices sustainable business through our model: accepting and selling gently-used clothes that would otherwise be thrown out. We also use recycled, recyclable boxes for shipments and donations.
How do you see Fashion Project changing the fashion industry?
Since its launch in 2012, Fashion Project has become a force in the fashion industry. We’re the industry leader in online charitable “re-commerce” and the ultimate shopping and donation platform for women who want to give back.
We provide the community with the opportunity to do something impactful for someone in need at every touch point.
Christine and I saw an opportunity to maximize the billions of dollars in donated clothing each year, and we created the first site featuring one-of-a-kind, donated designer looks at up to 90 percent off.
Fashion Project combines the beauty of fashion with the passion of charitable giving, and creates a personal relationship for each donor and shopper that visits the site.
What do you hope to accomplish with Fashion Project?
We founded Fashion Project with the sole mission to raise as much money as possible for charity by using fashion as a force for good. W
e want to show the world that there is always a way to help out, whether it is donating to and shopping our site, or starting your own nonprofit.
We want both our donors and shoppers to realize that they have the ability to give back, to turn their closets into cash for charities. We saw $13 billion in items that people donate each year and decided to turn that into support for charities and nonprofit organizations.
To date, we have raised over $400,000 for charities. We want to take that dollar number to the millions and expand our reach.
What new features or collaborations do you have in store?
On April 17, we are launching My Fashion Project, also known as My FP, a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that allows individuals, nonprofits, designers, and retail organizations to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.
My FP gives users the tools to build personalized sites that tell a story and encourage friends, family, and their communities to shop or donate for their cause, and use fashion as a force for good.