Meet a Founder: Rachel Kelley
Rachel Kelly is not only a co-founder of the Ethical Network she is also a Sseko Fellow and the Executive Director of San Antonio's newest thrift store Revolution Thrift.
Continue below to find out more about this new thrift store that's changing the thrifting scene in San Antonio.
When did you first get the idea for Revolution Thrift?
In the spring of 2016, the thought crossed my mind that people often want to donate to their favorite charities; however, they don't always have the funds. As a single mom of three this was an issue for me. However, I realized we all have stuff and if we could turn that stuff into cash then we could support our local nonprofits. As I envisioned this donation process, I saw a circle getting larger and larger as charities spread the word about an organization that was there to support them. So, I googled circle thrift and found a store in AZ doing just that. I called the founder and learned they were giving away $25,000 each month. After that conversation, I knew I had to make it a reality.
How long did it take you to implement the idea?
It took about 7 months to form a board of directors, complete the appropriate paperwork and raise enough funds to apply for our 501c3 status. We received our approval letter in December 2016. It then took almost another year to locate a space we could afford, raise the funds to pay the rent and utilities as well as all the supplies to stock a thrift store. We did not receive any grants or outside assistance, so it took some time to raise the funds.
About how many volunteers does the store have?
We have a committed group of about 15 volunteers who keep the store open 3 days a week. The ages range from 10 - 72. We get additional volunteers who need community service hours for school or work, but the core group can always be counted on to show up.
What keeps Revolution Thrift going?
The volunteers keep our store going! There is no way for one person to operate a retail store. It takes a committed team who believe in the mission and and have a heart for giving back to keep the doors at Revolution Thrift open.
Where do you see the store in 5 years?
I envision a store that is known throughout the city as the #1 thrift store in San Antonio - not just for the amazing items and wonderful prices but for the sense of community and purpose that is created by shopping and donating.
What makes Revolution Thrift special or different from other thrift stores?
I think there are a few key elements that set Revolution Thrift apart from other stores. First, we don't view our store simply as a store. We view ourselves as a part of the community. We get to know you. We learn your name. We listen to your stories. We help you find what you need. We are here to serve our community. Second, we are set apart from other thrift stores because our primary purpose is to give back to life changing charities in the San Antonio area. We are not partnered with one particular organization but have a direct impact on at least 12 different charities each month.
How can people help out?
Our biggest need at Revolution Thrift is volunteers. The saying "Many hands make light work" is true at any volunteer organization, but our task is even greater since we are not only staffing a retail store but also processing donations, cleaning items, attending community events and promoting other nonprofits.
Of course, not everyone can volunteer. For those that are not able, we also value shoppers and donors, which allow us to do what we do.
How many charities are there? Are there any openings this year?
We pick a minimum of one charity each month. We do have the option of partnering with two or more smaller charities if needed. We currently have filled all the nonprofit partner slots for 2018, but we are eager to fill our 2019 calendar.