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Carol’s sons, Robbie and Ryan, are her clothes “runners” who do contact-less porch pick-up and leave a thank you note behind to every donor. PHOTO BY CAROL SIMPSON

Local Poshmark seller donates proceeds to those in need

By Mira Brody EBS STAFF

BOZEMAN – When she eventually retires, Carol Simpson imagines spending her time volunteering for a local nonprofit. While still working as Senior Customer Relationship Manager and raising two college-aged sons, Simpson has found a way to turn her Poshmark closet into an avenue to support not one, but many nonprofit organizations. In fact, she has such a growing list of charities that she hopes to contribute to that she has a schedule lined out for the weeks ahead.

Poshmark is a social commerce marketplace where people all over the U.S. can buy and sell new or used clothing, shoes and accessories. Simpson utilizes the platform to not only clear out her children’s closets, but also as a way to rally her friends and family around a community-wide charity initiative. She calls her closet Collecting Clothes 4 Charity, and over the last several months, she has been collecting donations, listing them, and donating 100 percent of her proceeds to local Gallatin Valley nonprofits.

“It was my goal when I retired to volunteer my time at a charity,” Simpson said. “Being in the Gallatin Valley, there are so many charities that are worthy of your time and you can’t possibly volunteer for all of them, so this gave me the chance to help every charity I wanted to—it’s the perfect scenario.”

Simpson, who lives in Bozeman with her husband and sons Robbie and Ryan, started cleaning out the families closets a the end of February and posting items to Poshmark. Especially with the region’s harsh climate, she says parents find that children’s seasonal clothing is replaced often before it is used. Poshmark allows parents to recoup some money from their children’s outgrown clothing, also providing them the opportunity to purchase gently used items at a more affordable price, while taking advantage of the environmentally friendly business model by reducing, reusing and recycling the items. 

“I thought, what can I do if I were able to post more clothes,” Simpson said. “I could potentially find a way to use this and raise funds for charities.”

The idea turned into reality after Simpson received excess, used clothing items from her neighbor. She posted the items for sale on her Poshmark closest and a majority of the items were purchased that same evening. 

After her early success, Simpson established a fundraising goal of $500 every three months. Once word spread that she was collecting clothing donations to sell with the proceeds returning to the community, donations poured in. She reached her $500 goal by the end of the first month.

“She’s a cancer survivor,” said Simpson of her neighbor. “So now when anyone donates to me, I ask if there’s a charity in Gallatin Valley that’s special to them, and that’s how choose where we give at that time.”

Both Robbie, who attends the University of Montana and participates on the football team, and Ryan, who is transferring to Montana Tech to play basketball, are both home due to their classes moving to online formats. By helping their mother, they are gaining money management skills while attending school virtually, and acting as her “clothing runners,” going around town to those who have contacted Simpson with donations that are ready to be picked up. The transaction is COVID-19 safe and they leave a friendly thank you note on each door.

To this point, Simpson has raised $10,300 by selling the gently used clothing. With the proceeds, she’s made monetary contributions to Gallatin Valley Cancer Support, the Gallatin Valley Food bank, Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, the Bozeman 3, Bridger Foothills Fire Relief, Thrive “Girls for a Change” and HRDC Homeless Services and Warming Center. 

“I really try to take their recommendations because I want everyone in the community to take part in this,” Simpson said. “It’s just me using Poshmark as an avenue, but its really them.”

Simpson hopes to grow her charity efforts as she moves into retirement. With the outpouring of support from her family and neighbors, it’s no wonder her once side hobby, has transformed into a tidal wave of community giving.

“I think it’s the one thing I love about where we live—this community is amazing,” Simpson said. “When that fire hit I actually had a different charity set up, Love Inc., and moved them to a different month with their permission, so we could give money to where it is needed right now.”

Love Inc. was incredibly supportive, and because they were organizing a massive clothing donation for those who lost everything in the fire, Simpson purged some of her inventory toward their effort. Love Inc. is on Simpson’s impending nonprofit donation list—the one that keeps growing.

“When I said I was going to donate those clothes to Bridger [Fire Relief], I was inundated with clothing,” Simpson said. “What I do would not happen, the whole concept wouldn’t work, if it weren’t for the community we live in.”

Simpson has also made some strong connections within the community, both from donors and nonprofit leaders, who she calls “amazing people.”

“I have just a little piece of what they do and I get to meet all of them,” she said with modesty. “It’s pretty rewarding on my side.”

Poshmark has been supportive of Simpson’s efforts as well—it’s exactly the kind of community involvement they stand by and encourage, according to the company’s Senior Vice President of Community, LyAnn Chhay.

“It’s incredible to see how Seller Stylists like Carol have become entrepreneurs and are giving back to their communities in meaningful ways,” Chhay said. “In donating her earnings to local charities, Carol has demonstrated a distinct spirit of generosity and commitment to extending the life cycle of clothing in a sustainable way.”

As we all continue to adjust to prolonged social distancing, especially heading into the long winter months, Simpson’s story is an example of how we can remain connected to our communities, form new friendships and give back to those in need.

To donate gently used clothing, shoes and accessories to Simpson’s Poshmark closet, you can private message her on Instagram: @cc4c406, Facebook: Carol Simpson Collecting Clothes for Charity, or shop her Poshmark closet.

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