You may have noticed a few Blue boutiques quietly springing up in your area. From Denver and Tacoma, Wash., to Western Michigan and New York state, these Goodwill spinoffs are growing in popularity across the country.
So what's the deal with these stores anyway, and how are they different from ordinary Goodwills?
For starters, Blue stores are marketed as "upscale boutiques" (think: posh consignment shops rather than we-take-anything thrift stores). According to the company, the stores feature "the best Goodwill has to offer," such as top names like Lucky Brands, Coach and Cole Haan.
"The best part about shopping at Blue is not only the extreme bargains you’ll find, but that the revenues from the sale of items will be used to fund Goodwill’s job training and placement services for people with disabilities and disadvantages in our community," Goodwill says of the spinoff on it website. "Your purchases make a difference."
Upscale consignment stores — along with Web-based fashion sharing solutions like Rent the Runway — are increasingly popular among millennials on tight budgets, even those who may not necessarily be interested in the environmental benefits of buying used.
The idea has sparked so much interest that a 1,900-square-foot, first-of-its-kind boutique called Déjà Blue recently opened its doors in Denver. Catering to cash-strapped urbanites seeking fashion-forward clothing or in-demand vintage duds, the store provides affordable, gently used items that carry virtually no environmental impact.
The store also hosts an annual event, called the Good Exchange Fashion Show & Clothing Swap, where locals can revamp their wardrobes and get some fashion inspiration. Fashion icon Tim Gunn and up-and-coming designer Mondo Guerra, winner of Project Runway Season 8, were in attendance at this year's Déjà Blue event.
Further indicating that Goodwill's endeavors in fashion-forward exchange are picking up steam, the company recently opened a second Déjà Blue location on the Las Vegas strip.