Wash Cycle Laundry Joins Gearing Up for One-Day, Center City Donation Pickup to Benefit Career WardrobeBy Erin Kane |
Wash Cycle Laundry delivery cyclist Troy Martin hauls a flatbed trailer north on 6th Street. On Monday July 23rd, WCL will be collecting donations for Career Wardrobe. (Photo c/o Wash Cycle Laundry)
Later this month, a fleet of cyclists will careen around Philly, scooping up shopping bags filled with women’s clothing from homes, curbs, and office buildings.
Destined for a second wear, the donated items will be hauled to the downtown office of Career Wardrobe, a nonprofit providing services and professional attire to women transitioning into the workforce.
The one-day pickup on Monday, July 23rd, organized to make it even easier for city dwellers to purge their closets of unwanted clothing, jewelry and accessories, is the collaboration of three local organizations.
Joining Career Wardrobe are two pedal-powered groups: Wash Cycle Laundry, the green-laundering, socially minded enterprise, and Gearing Up, a nonprofit that provides women in transition with the skills, gear and guidance to ride bikes.
“Our partnership magnifies the power of the bicycle,” said Gearing Up’s Founder Kristin Gavin, whose organization transforms women into safe, expert riders.
But the innovative partnership also sheds light on the combined potential of the three groups. Their effort to utilize existing infrastructure while harnessing manpower and creativity will create new opportunities — and fresh looks — for many women.
Prior to their current collaboration, Wash Cycle Laundry and Gearing Up each worked separately with Career Wardrobe. Cyclists from both groups have benefitted from Career Wardrobe’s clothing and job preparation services, making the three-way partnership an easy fit.
“It was neat to realize how interconnected we all are,” said Troy Martin, a cyclist for Wash Cycle Laundry. “Giving back to Career Wardrobe was a no-brainer because it has done a lot for both of our organizations.”
Committed to being “good to the community,” Wash Cycle Laundry recently hired a Gearing Up program graduate and hopes to add more as it expands. “When we do hire, we try to be socially responsible about it,” explained Martin. Recruiting candidates from community-based job training programs, Wash Cycle Laundry reports an 80 percent employee retention rate.
A map of the area that Wash Cycle Laundry services.
On pickup day, a dozen cyclists will work in teams to cover a large radius, hoping to tow thousands of pounds of donated clothing toward Career Wardrobe and new ownership.
“Ninety percent of the clothes will go directly to our clients,” said Heather Bennett, Operations and Marketing Manager at Career Wardrobe.
Donations unsuitable for business wear will make their way to Career Wardrobe’s sister site, The Wardrobe Boutique, an upscale recycled clothing store for emerging fashionistas on a shoestring budget. All sales benefit the Career Wardrobe.
While business clothing and image consulting are important, Career Wardrobe also focuses on professional development. “Clothing is considered the carrot,” said Bennett.
After women are outfitted for the interview process, they attend workshops and networking events, mixing cover letter critiques with social media etiquette and tips for conflict resolution — all geared to support job retention and career development.
“Once you feel good, once you have that outfit and look the part, we want to make sure you can hold onto that job and start a career,” Bennett explained.
Career Wardrobe Donation Pickup
When: Monday, July 23 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Your Philly home, curb, or office building
Cost: Free, sign up online here.