Cindy Graham talks Vintage Vogue & Goodwill

Cindy Graham currently serves as the President of Marketing for Goodwill of Central and Southern indiana and has been an employee of the organization for 22 years. Over the last five years, Goodwill has opened three Vintage Vogue stores in Indiana, including in Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, and blocks away from the Indiana University Bloomington Campus. PATTERN had the pleasure of sitting down with Cindy and talking about her involvement with Goodwill and the success of Vintage Vogue boutiques.

In an era of thrifted fashion and refurbished apparel design from hidden gems found in local thrift stores, Goodwill has revolutionized the way we shop with their Vintage Vogue boutiques. We sat down with the Vice President of Marketing for Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, Cindy Graham. Graham has been a Goodwill employee for over 22 years and manages all external and internal messaging for the organization including their retail and mission operations.

Vintage Vogue is a speciality thrift store that focuses on upscale vintage and modern clothing and accessories. Beginning with the first store opening on Kirkwood in Bloomington, Indiana, Vintage Vogue’s aim has been to create a sub brand model of Goodwill traditional stores but with pieces that you can’t find in a traditional store.

A crew specializing in boutique merchandising hand selects every piece that is sent to Vintage Vogue out of all Goodwill donation streams. The donations come in at every location and then are processed at the store they’re sent to, or in overflow at stand-alone donation centers. That’s when the merchandise begins to be sorted for Vintage Vogue. Special finds and hidden gems are still going to be found inside traditional Goodwill stores; however, Vintage Vogue is the go-to location for vintage designer and contemporary pieces.

“I want to make really sure that people understand that we’re not picking every great piece out of our whole donation stream, and then not putting them in our traditional stores but putting them here,”says Graham. “There is a selection process that it goes through where we ask ‘OK, is this vintage? Does this have a retro-contemporary look? Can we put this somewhere where it’s a higher price point?’ The reality is you’re not going to want to buy something at a Vintage Vogue that you can get at a Goodwill because you’re going to get it at a lower price at Goodwill.”

Just like every one of Goodwill’s stores, the revenue that’s generated from the sale of merchandise at Vintage Vogue goes to support the mission of the organization which, simply put, is to help individuals become more self-sufficient through education, employment and health.

From their competitive edge in such a niche market to one-of-a kind pieces in each boutique, the savvy and success of Vintage Vogue is undeniable. The boutique’s footprint

is much smaller than what you’ll see at a traditional store, allowing you to touch every piece of the merchandise and decide if something is right for you. The boutique also offers a selection of pieces for men, something that not many stores similar to this do not offer in Indiana.

“If you want to see retro and contemporary merge, then you will see pieces that you can either take and make your own and create something around it, or you can find and entire outfit,” says Graham. “It’s the person who is coming in… to say ‘I don’t want to show up somewhere where I look like the person next to me,’ and I think if you buy something at Vintage Vogue, that’s rarely going to happen.”

You can visit Vintage Vogue boutiques  Monday-Saturday from 10a.m. to 9p.m. and Sunday from 11a.m. to 7p.m. On the first Saturday of every month, Vintage Vogue will open an hour early, and customers will be able to shop with same discounts applied in traditional Goodwill stores.

Photography by Aliza Brown.
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