bal harbour blog

A Fashionable Project

Q&A
Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk co-founders of Fashion Project, which has recently announced a partnership with Neiman Marcus

Who would have predicted that an Alice and Olivia jacket buried beneath old shoes, gym shorts and a clock radio would spark one of the most successful donation charities in the world? In 2011, Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk found that Alice and Olivia gem which led them to create Fashion Project—now an industry leader in online clothing donation, aiding 34 countries and partnering with 800,000 plus charities. And Neiman Marcus is the latest company to team up with Fashion Project, enabling shoppers to donate and do good, while also getting a little fashion reward for their efforts. We spoke to Palmer and Rizk about how they got their start and how Bal Harbour shoppers can get involved.

Your first visit to a local thrift store was an “ah-ha” moment for you. Tell us about that.
Anna and I went to a local thrift and were able to tour their back room. We saw this beautiful Alice and Olivia jacket mixed in with old T-Shirts. Both items were being sold for the same low price. We realized that if we could come up with a way to sort donations from generous donors we could sell the slightly higher end items for their true value and make up to 100 times more for charity.

Who were some of the first supporters of the project?
We had great early supporters in the charity and fashion community. Early on, we worked with March of Dimes of Massachusetts and Big Brothers Big Sisters who let us tell their members about Fashion Project as we were growing. We have also been working closely with Susan Posen, who ran Zac Posen previously, and she has been a wonderful advisor from the beginning.

Fashion Project is a community of members donating and shopping for causes they care about. What causes are nearest to your heart?
I have always supported organizations that focus on improving education and bringing access to education to everyone. My mother and sister are both in education and I've seen how important a strong educational base is to future success and wellbeing. I am a big supporter of She's the First, it is a wonderful organization that sponsors girl's education in developing nations, giving them the chance to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school. One of the wonderful parts of my job is getting to discover so many different nonprofits and seeing how passionately they are working at their missions.

How did your newly launched partnership with Neiman Marcus come to fruition?
We are honored and excited to be working with Neiman Marcus. The InCircle team reached out to Fashion Project and asked about how we could partner together. From there we worked together to come up with a program for Neiman Marcus customers that would make it easy for them to donate from their closet for causes they care about. Neiman Marcus customers can go to fashionproject.com/incircle to sign up, and we will send one of our White Glove Concierges to pick up their donation. With every 10 qualifying items they donate they will be rewarded with a $100 gift card.

Are there particular brands or items that are especially big sellers for you?
Handbags are generally our biggest sellers. Our customers love brands like Tory Burch and Prada.

Are there any items that are not acceptable?
We take items ranging from J.Crew to Prada that are in like-new or new condition. We have a full list of brands we take at fashionproject.com/brands. We also have our wonderful concierge team on hand to answer any questions.

You have reached an incredible 34 countries and continue to expand and help a variety of different charities around the globe. What are some of your goals for Fashion Project in the future?
Our goal at Fashion Project is to have everyone in America looking in their closets and donating to causes they care about through Fashion Project. We have such a passionate community of donors and shoppers and we want to continue to grow that community through our retail partners. At Fashion Project we are passionate about providing a seamless donation experience so the Fashion Project community can continue to give money back to charities around the globe.

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