Bringing Thrift to the Masses: A New Take on Goodwill®

Window display for DC Goodwil's Edited boutique

Take one amazing donated city space, add a cultural phenomenon, mix it with charitable organizations, throw in some spectacular secondhand goods and gently stir.

BOOM! What you get is the sweet, sweet taste of Edited, Goodwill of Greater Washington’s three-day pop-up shop that earned rave reviews and temporarily drove hordes of shoppers to Chinatown in downtown DC this week. The shop was a cooperative effort between the DC-based Goodwill®, architecture and design firm Gensler and Pepco, who donated their gallery space for the event. They worked together for at least eight months to make it the well-deserved success it was.

For three glorious days — and in the same block as high-end chain stores — politicos, business people, office workers, CEOs and people who may have never even have visited a thrift store before shopped side-by-side and learned what thrifting aficionados have known for ages: Goodwill is affordable, sustainable and just as awesome as full-price.

Display inside DC Goodwill's pop-up boutique

It was a beautiful thing to watch. And I have to admit: not only did I go to the opening night party, I went every night after work for the three days it was open to check out the new selection and watch people filtering in and out, just so I could overhear what they thought of it and watch their reactions.

For people new to thrifting, this boutique concept is the perfect answer to sustainable shopping without the work. Apart from having hand-picked donated merchandise that’s edited (pun intended) for a more scrutinizing audience, the store was impeccably decorated, minimalist and colorful, while also appealing to a broad spectrum of shoppers at the same time.  It’s inviting to people who would normally be intimidated by the sometimes overwhelming selection that typical thrift stores offer —  stores which typically attract a more “thrill-of-the-hunt” personality.

Interior of DC Goodwill's pop-up boutique

What I saw and heard over those three days made my heart smile with joy. The lines for the dressing rooms and check-out counter were long, the racks were well picked over by the end of the night, and I don’t think anyone left without a smile on their face and a bag in hand.

I have high hopes that this idea will catch on. Bringing this type of eco-shopping to the masses that would otherwise not think to go thrifting will only help add more fuel to the movement that’s already underway.

Thrift on, DC! Thrift on America! Our collective dollars make a difference not only in others’ lives, but also in our own.