Trend-spotting off the Beaten Path

Style-makers and trendsetters, even Hollywood celebrities, have long known the benefits of combing Goodwill Stores for hidden gems, but a funny thing happened on our way through the recession. Goodwill stores across North America noticed an increase in sales – the exact opposite of most retailers. According to senior management at the Maryland head office, the time was right to improve the brand – “to promote Goodwill as a cool place to shop.”

And although it may take some readers by surprise, I know my way around the aisles of the local thrift store called Double Take which offers good, clean, used clothing and household items and training and employment opportunities for street youths.

Last year, I was asked to be keynote speaker for the Yonge Street Mission breakfast held at Toronto’s Design Exchange, in the heart of the financial district.

The “Mission,” a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring all people to achieve their full potential, asked me to do a makeover on two street youths. The goal was makeovers of a sufficiently high standard that one young woman and one young man could apply for positions at clothing stores in Toronto’s prestigious office towers. My budget? Less than $40.00 for both candidates.

goodwill_PDVD_allljpg Double Take Store
All my shopping was done at Double Take, where the emphasis is on affordable clothing for people, like my makeover candidates, working towards a new career. Fitting indeed, considering Goodwill’s founding philosophy was “a hand-up, not a hand-out.” I regularly drop off parcels at Double Take and encourage everyone to support local thrift stores. When you go, take a peak. Maybe you’ll find a hidden gem in your size, see a celebrity, or spot a trend on the cusp of discovery.

Watch: Video of the makeover

Read: New York Times style columnist Ruth La Ferla’s article:
“Look Who’s Shopping Goodwill”

Learn more about Yonge Street Mission:

Find a Goodwill Store near you:


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Author's Bio: 

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., is a leading image and etiquette consultant. For over 20 years she has provided corporate consultations, helping hundreds of men and women realize their professional and personal goals. She is a sought after speaker at national business meetings, regularly gives comprehensive workshops to corporate groups, and offers private consultations on business etiquette, dress and dining.