Green shopping or a clothing swap is a great way to make room in your closet and help a worthy cause. Event organizer Joanne Rae, AICI CIP has made this her personal mission for the past 9 years. Working with the AICI Washington DC Board of Directors and chapter members, the annual clothing swap was held in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Each year, a new charity is selected to savor the swap proceeds. For 2015, FeedMore Central Virginia was chosen to give much needed funds. FeedMore is Central Virginia’s premiere hunger-relief organization comprised of programs like the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and the Community Kitchen. AICI is the Association of Image Consultants International, the leading and largest professional association of image consultants worldwide. The AICI Washington DC Chapter Board of Directors and members came to assist from Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland to take part in this AICI ‘Gives Back’ chapter event.
AICI does not require that chapters give with a specific program, just base their program on what is needed in the community and on the talent at hand. It does require that that at least 3 members are involved and this clothing swap had our highest chapter involvement for the swap.
AICI calls this initiative ‘Image For A Cause’.
With the global nature of AICI, with members in over 50 countries, image professionals around the world all make a difference. Members attending from the AICI Washington DC Chapter Board of Directors include: President Yelena Jackson, Immediate Past President Cindy Ann Peterson AICI FLC, Treasurer Tramaine Feaster, Secretary Linda Payan and Vice President of Communications Karina Shalaby. Other chapter attendees were Past President Roxy L. Rowton, Suzanne Douglas and AICI International Vice President of Certification and event organizer Joanne Rae, AICI CIP.
Joanne Rae, AICI CIP, event organizer, shared during the swap,
In our AICI chapter, we are committed to philanthropy and giving back to our community. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing these women find something special that did not work on the person who donated it. That person will often comment on how much better it looks on the recipient and new bonds and friendships are formed in the process. It is a wonderful event.
So what does green shopping mean?
Only garments that are current, clean, and in season are accepted. The garments for donation are delivered to the organizers to drop off locations prior to the event. They must be of the highest standards or items may not be accepted. Each person is given a number for all the items they donate. Then, the day of the swap, each attendee pays a fee of $25 at the door, which is donation for the swap recipient. And everyone waits until the announcements are made and the racks of clothes are unveiled for shopping.
Each attendee was asked to only take 6 garments at a time to try on, and to please put them back on the hanger and on the rack if they do not plan to keep the garments. Garments were arranged on racks left to right, small to large, racks were sorted by suits, tops, dresses, shorts, pants, skirts, and tables were set up with shoes, purses, jewelry, scarves and even a great selection of reading glasses.
The refreshments of wine and hors de’ oeuvres were in a separate room, to keep the clothes clean, but offered a great energy boost throughout the afternoon.
The real excitement took place with a live auction of a large tanned leather Gucci designer hobo handbag, about mid-way through the swap. Rae walked around and showed everyone the beautiful purse and pristine Gucci dust cover (which had been donated for the event, with a retail of over $1,200). After a little shopping and swapping, the room was filled with numbers and one lucky lady won the Gucci bag. The bag was generously donated by one of Joanne Rae’s clients.
It was interesting to see AICI members assisting with garment selection and color feedback for the ideal looks. Even more, when the person who donated an item saw another person trying one their donated items, it caused a wonderful kinship or sisterhood between many of the attendees. Perhaps the size was wrong or they wanted someone else to enjoy some of their favorite pieces. Great conversations of the past events of the garments as they were going to new homes were a very positive experience for both the donor and the garment recipient.
At the end of the day, shoppers brought their large stack of gorgeous items to the check out. Then, if you donated 10 items, you were able to take ten items, no charge. For any additional items over the amount that you had donated, you paid a mere $3 per item. All purchases and the donation were tax deductible, as well.
Special thank you to Joanne’s family: daughters, Kerith and Tyla, and husband. And dear friends, Deb, Cass, and Tiffany, in their extra efforts to assist in organization and planning along with the AICI WDC board and members.
Everyone that attended is looking forward to the next clothing swap. For you never know what you will find, but one guarantee is with a sip, shop, and swap, you’ll learn style and image tips and can help create a better life for someone else! I’d call that a very successful day of shopping and giving from the heart. You can make a difference by one conversation at a time. As we swapped style, we enjoyed serving our community a healthy meal of compassion.
www.AICIWDC.org and www.AICI.org