From left to right: Marien Richardson, Jenne Richardson and Leetah McGee.
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Courtesy of Well Cloth’d Inc.
Chances are, when you’re reading this, your wardrobe is full of clothes and accessories that you haven’t worn in years. “People buy until they give up and change their wardrobe every season,” explains Jenne richardson. “Then either pile up things they don’t want or drop things off at Goodwill, while people who really can’t afford to choose between eating and dressing themselves can’t even go to Goodwill.” . “
This is why, in the fall of 2017, the native of Brooklyn, accompanied by her sister Marien Richardson, who both work in real estate during the day, and their lifelong friend Savahleetah McGee, a fashion and beauty content producer, started Well Cloth’d, Inc. The Brooklyn-based, black-owned nonprofit offers clothing and toiletry packages for those in need. The idea: Instead of dropping off used garbage bags of clothing at a shelter, they take the time to sort the items one by one to create an individualized shopping package or experience for each person or family in need.
It all started when they were hanging out at McGee’s house. Sitting on her living room floor, chatting together as McGee’s mother cleaned her closet nearby, it made them think how unfair it was that those who need the clothes most probably never get them. “We were Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters stans,” says Jenne Richardson, “which meant that every season we were buying trendy clothes that, while in great condition, were not anymore, so we bought more. “
From there, they developed the idea for their first free pop-up store, Bagging Brunch. Getting the donations was the easy part. “I wish it was more complicated than that, but we called our friends for donations,” says Jenne Richardson. “Being in fashion, Leetah had a close connection with a lot of people in the industry who were looking to free up closet space. Jenne Richardson created an Instagram account for the project and “started blowing the event up everywhere.” “Back then we didn’t have an office,” she says, “just a little bin in the lobby that BKLYN Commons gave us. We completed that in a weekend and it has been going on ever since.
The event took place at BKLYN Commons (where Jenne Richardson worked at the time) with over 150 attendees and 15 volunteers (i.e. their friends and relatives) working out the door. Transforming the event space into a boutique style store, they hung dresses and turned folding tables into displays for shorts, jeans, sweaters, and more. The founders invited the mothers of CHiPS, a Brooklyn women’s shelter where they had volunteered in high school, and CHiPS also recommended that they invite a few other organizations. “It was while sitting down and chatting with the mothers at CHiPS that I realized this was something that really had an impact on people’s lives,” says McGee. “It’s not just about connecting our network.
Since their first event, they’ve partnered with schools, shelters and apartment complexes to bring their pop-up to families and individuals in Brooklyn and Queens. The care does not stop only with the clothes of the three women. They have also formed partnerships with organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to provide their clients with workout classes, inspirational painting workshops, resume creation opportunities, interview coaching, and advice. financial planning.
“The concept is continuous care,” explains co-founder Marien Richardson. “We want our customers to feel confident. When they decide they are ready to make a change, we need to be there to support them in all aspects. We want them to feel good and comfortable in what they are wearing as they are changing their lives. It is a wellness business supported by clothing.