New My Sister’s Closet pop-up shop

New My Sister’s Closet pop-up shop on Main St

New My Sister’s Closet pop-up shop

My Sister’s Closet is launching a pop-up shop from February 17-August 31 at 3958 Main Street to further support its anti-violence work!

The boutique is very grateful to have recently received a massive clothing donation from the film industry, which has allowed for an opportunity to sell unique clothing pieces alongside a curated collection of new and gently-used clothing for all genders, with an emphasis on women and femmes.

The volunteer-run My Sister’s Closet pop-up shop is an extension of My Sister’s Closets’ two physical storefronts, located on Commercial Drive and Seymour Street in Downtown Vancouver, and our online shop. Just like the established locations, the Main Street pop-up shop advocates for zero waste and the thrift movement, thereby doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint to proactively help fight the climate crisis.

New My Sister’s Closet pop-up thrift store on Main Street
New My Sister’s Closet pop-up thrift store on Main St in Vancouver

My Sister’s Closet is a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), an organization providing education, advocacy, and support towards eliminating gender-based and domestic violence. With 100% of its revenues going towards funding BWSS’s programs and services, the boutique has been instrumental in saving countless lives since it opened in 2001.

All revenue raised from the My Sister’s Closet pop-up on Main St will directly fund BWSS’ 24/7 crisis line, which expanded in 2020 when requests for its services significantly increased.

New Main St location details:

Address: 3958 Main Street, Vancouver BC V5V 3P2
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11am-6pm

We hope to see you there!

Supply Chain Issues

Supply Chain Issues. Opportunity to panic? Or to do different?

Opportunity to panic? Or to do different?

Supply chain issues have been all over the news of late.

Reporters and experts telling us, “If it’s on the shelf, buy it because it won’t be there long!”. Headlines scream, “Buy your Christmas gifts now, shelves are emptying!”, “Feeling Supply Chain Pain?”, “Where’s my stuff?”.

These unexamined statements lead to panic, panic buying and mindless consuming with the results being increased personal and financial stress and a whole lot of waste to our landfills.

Some facts on waste in Canada[1]:

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Within 6 months, only 1% of everything the average person buys is still in use, the other 99% has been discarded

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545,000 tons of waste is generated from gift-wrapping and shopping bags each year

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Household waste can increase more than 25% in the holiday season

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less than 11 percent of plastics are recycled

Now, let’s see how we are doing in Vancouver, British Columbia – some facts:
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Vancouver’s landfill (opened in 1966 and has an end date of 2037) currently has 225 hectares filled with garbage [2]
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in 2018, the residential, commercial/institutional, and construction and demolition sectors in Metro Vancouver disposed of a total 1,282,752 tons of waste – per capita disposal rate in the region is 0.48 tons per person [3]
We, as people, are producing a staggering amount of waste that is causing havoc on our environment. We can no longer do the same behavior over and over and expect different results. Some would say that is the definition of insanity.

There are many factors causing the current global and local supply chain demands: climate change, COVID 19, and a spike in consumer demand. Shoppers buying up products as quickly as they see them — and in large quantities — results in a shock on the supply chain that’s known as the “bull-whip effect.” “When you crack a whip, a small action at the hand propagates into a big effect at the end of the whip,” said Dr. P.K. Kannan, the Dean’s Chair in marketing science at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. “It is the same with supply chain — a small shock in demand upstream can create a big shock downstream”. [4]

Consumer demand has grown so quickly over the past two years, it’s equivalent to about 50 million new Americans joining the economy, according to Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, told Insider. [5]

What are we demanding though? Items we or the people we are buying for don’t need or want or will even use, ending up in our nearly full landfill?

Seeing the supply chain issues as a time of panic buying and hoarding items will not change the situation. Doing the same behavior over and over every time while expecting different results is not going to work. We have to do something different. This is an opportunity to do just that!

In an excellent article written by Carolyn Ali of UBC, Second-hand gifts, new experiences: shaking up holiday gift giving, Dr. White and Dr. Hardisty offer six strategies that can help us all start the shift to more sustainable gifting. [6]

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1. Focus on the individual

If you’re advocating more sustainable giving in your social circle, figure out what resonates with each person, says Dr. White. “If you’re getting somebody to change their behaviour, not everybody wants to hear that it’s good for the planet. Some people want to hear that it’s good for their family, or it will save them money, or maybe they’ll enjoy getting creative with gifts.”
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2. Get creative with gift ideas

A gift doesn’t need to be tangible. “Research shows that gifts of experiences make people happier,” says Dr. Hardisty. “People enjoy them more and they connect you to other people.” There are plenty of creative gift ideas and ways to celebrate with less waste, says Dr. White, including offering people a service like babysitting, which they might appreciate more than anything else.

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3. Ask people what they want

If you are buying an object, getting the recipient exactly what they want can help avoid waste. While a thoughtful surprise is often seen as the perfect gift, Dr. Hardisty says thoughtfulness can be conveyed in other ways as well. “People love getting things they requested,” he says. “It shows that you care about them, listened to them and remembered what they said.” And, he adds: “If they say they don’t want anything, don’t give them anything.”
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4. Tell people what you want

Conversely, if you don’t want to receive material objects, make your wishes known. “People really want to get you a thing,” says Dr. Hardisty. “Tell them you want an experience or something like food that you can consume instead. Or tell them, ‘If you feel like you have to buy me a book, get me a used book.’ Or if it’s a sweater, ‘how about one made of recycled materials?’”
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5. Make “second-hand” cool

“What other people are doing, and what is socially acceptable, is a very big driver of sustainable behaviour,” says Dr. White. To combat the stigma of second-hand gifts, consider modifying the social rules for things like Secret Santa gift exchanges to have everyone give second-hand or re-gifted items.
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6. Keep the traditions, reduce the stuff

Tradition and habit has a strong influence on behaviour, says Dr. White. “Figure out ways to keep the essence of tradition without having tangible things that people don’t want and just end up in the trash.” For example, if your tradition includes celebratory Christmas crackers, make them yourself out of sustainable materials and tuck in individually tailored gifts.

Let’s take this opportunity to shift our attitudes and behaviours toward more sustainable gifting that can bring more than environmental benefits to us.

These shifts can lessen the negative and harmful impact of capitalism on our minds, spirits, and our wallets.

Make “second-hand” cool to combat supply chain issues and climate change

Battered Women’s Support Services My Sister’s Closet Statement on the Ending of Eco-Fashion Week

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), through our eco-fashion thrift boutique, My Sister’s Closet (MSC), was honoured to participate three times at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week (EFW) which was created under the brilliant leadership of Myriam Laroche. Eco-fashion week was established in Vancouver, in 2010,  and aimed to present the solutions and innovations working to develop a more responsible fashion industry. The sustainable fashion spectrum is diverse and multifaceted, as it considers the environment, the working conditions, the supply chain as well as responsible consumption practices. Myriam endeavored to inspire change in individuals and the fashion industry. We respect Myriam’s  decision to end EFW. We share her vision to inspire and engage people, retailers, the industry locally to make better choices in their consumption and manufacturing of fashion. EFW brought focus to very important ideas and vision to designers in repurposing fabric and textiles and education to the general public through their eco-fashion workshops.

In 2011, we joined EFW with (zero.O.lab) our collaboration with Katherine Soucie which was our very own in-house clothing label for My Sister’s Closet. (zero.O.lab) was also a space for artists, designers and creative thinkers to conduct research on zero waste art and design concepts. Using collaboration as method for exploration and dissection on fashion production and consumption,  and served as an incubator into the conversation between art, fashion, and the commerce of identity.

BWSS and Zero Lab

BWSS and Zero Lab

BWSS and Zero Lab

In April 2013, we presented a full runway show, Sisterhood Swagger Runway Show. The collection was born from the empowerment of women and their fashion dreams to end violence against girls and women. With style all about the swagger of empowerment; an embodiment of the diversity of the left coast where the mountains meet the sea and where Toronto, Montreal, New York and Paris lean in to learn more.

In October 2013, we presented a second full runway show, Fashion Forward to End Violence Against Women, the collection titled,“Fearless,” was curated by nine women, including two artisans who designed unique pieces for the event.

It was beautiful to see that our participation each year increased community awareness about how and why a woman’s organization, like BWSS, was involved in ecofashion. At BWSS we have always known that the issues of violence against women, fashion, consumerism, and the environment are all connected and EFW gave us a platform to illustrate how all these issues were interconnected and mattered in building a healthier and more just society.

The fashion industry —a $2.5 trillion sector—is the second most polluting industry on Earth, right behind oil. Manufacturing a piece of clothing has a tremendous impact on the environment—for example, beyond the carbon emissions caused by energy consumption, the typical pair of jeans eats up 1,664 gallons of water in its lifetime. Regardless of this ecological toll, the average  individual still throws way 81 pounds of clothing and textiles into the trash every year which heads to our landfills.

We are disconnected from the people who make our clothing as 97% of items are now made overseas. There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same rights or protections that many people in the West do. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world and roughly 85% of all garment workers are women. The human factor of the garment industry is too big to ignore; as we consistently see the exploitation of cheap labor and the violation of workers’, women’s, and human rights through globalization and as direct result of unchecked consumerism.

Cambodian garment factory workers toil at the W&D garment factory, just southeast of Phnom Penh, April 28, 2004. (AP Photo/Isabelle Lesser)

 

Battered Women’s Support Services formed My Sister’s Closet based on some of the same ideas as Eco Fashion Week; shifting away from excess consumption, recognizing the role of textiles and the overarching degradation of the environment and looking at oppression and globalization especially how they grind down on women’s lives in terms of the male violence they are subject to and the sexual violence and exploitation they face at various levels in the fashion industry.

And although it is the end of an era for Eco Fashion Week, the ecofashion movement continues and we are proud to be a part of a community that is grounded. And this movement continues to reuse, repurpose and envision economic model that are sustainable and safer for women, communities, and the environment.

BWSS social enterprise, My Sister’s Closet, advocates for zero waste, revenue generated from the sales of donated women’s and men’s clothing and accessories help fund violence prevention and intervention services that we operate assisting us to respond to 11,000 requests in 2016. Donations can be dropped off anytime during opening hours at its location, 1092 Seymour on the corner of Helmcken St., Downtown Vancouver.

Creative Cafe Day at My Sister’s Closet

We are so happy to announce we will have a Creative Cafe Day at My Sister’s Closet Wednesday, July 27th from 11am-5pm.

My Sister’s Closet is located at 1092 Seymour Street (at Helmcken Street) in the Vancouver district called Yaletown.

The event is all about inviting and giving space to local artisans, musicians, performers, artists, and more to create, to share, to engage, and celebrate community.

In addition, bringing awareness and raising support for ending violence against girls and women and for breaking barriers around mental health and disabilities.

My Sister’s Closet Women Artisans will also be present with their wonderful creations.

We are so looking forward to the day…our Creative Cafe Days have gathered some really beautiful energy and folks to the space and one just feels so good from it all.

Please find attached our poster for the event…please share with your networks and invite them to come check it out.

Creative Cafe Day July 27th 2016

Thanks all and really hope you can come by and soak up some creative goodness!

Download the full-size poster here.

You Are Invited To An Exclusive Adorn Shopping Party

You are invited to an exclusive Adorn Clothing Swap & Shopping Party at My Sister’s Closet.

This exclusive Adorn Party will offer fun, mingling, refreshments and fabulous fashion from My Sister’s Closet.
My Sister’s Closet is a thrift boutique a social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS). All proceeds from the boutique go towards the services and programs BWSS offers girls and women. In the past year alone, BWSS answered 13,000 crisis calls.

When: Wednesday, October 15th 2014 at 6:30-8:30pm

Where:My Sister’s Closet
1092 Seymour St. at Helmcken, Downtown Vancouver

Music, refreshments, door prizes, gift bags, beautiful fashion, and so much more will be there for you!

Space is limited RSVP with Karen [email protected]

Find the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/744928712234580/

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You can download the poster here.

 If you could do something to end violence against girls and women, wouldn’t you?

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My Volunteering Experience at My Sister’s Closet

Violence Against Women does not only impact the woman. It impacts all who surround her. If she is a mother, violence against her will affect her child(ren) and her relationship with them. In Canada there are estimated 3,000 women with their 2,900 children who flee their homes from violence and stay at transition houses each year.

At BWSS, we recognize that women are often at the centre of the family, the community. What is done to her will ripple out to who she is connected to. Thus, in our work with women who are mothers, we explore the impact of violence on her, her children, and on her relationship as a parent. This exploration often provides insight, information, resources, and tools that empower who she is as a woman, as a mother. The transformation from disempowerment to empowerment gets modelled and seeps into her connection and parenting with her child(ren), feeding their sense of self and ways of being, feeling, and acting.

We are grateful for Mia’s sharing because it not only illustrates how by empowering women we strengthen our community. It also shows us that experiencing and/or witnessing violence does not mean “forever damaged”, a view held by some. Violence against women is a horrid experience done by another often a loved one that negatively impacts the whole being, true. However, it does not have to define and dictate who and how you are, there are ways to overcome the impact and reclaim the power to be your own person and to be the one in control of your life. Mia’s story shows us just that. Thank you Mia.

My Volunteering Experience at My Sister’s Closet

by Mia K., My Sister’s Closet Volunteer

mia_volunteeringExpMSC_1My memories of My Sister’s Closet and BWSS reach back into my childhood. As a kid growing up with a single mom, we always found great prices at My Sister’s Closet. I was so happy to get books and toys that we would not have been able to afford brand new. I distinctly remember when my mom went to a BWSS parenting workshop and I played and ate noodles while I waited for her. After that workshop, my mom changed the way we did things at home and thanks to that parenting workshop, I grew up with the mentality that if we live together we must help each other out and not just force one person to do all the work. I also began to develop independent life skills that are preparing me for life as an adult.

My mom has a sheet of paper that she got from BWSS that says “model of a healthy relationship”. She taped it to our storage room wall and I remember as a child reading it curiously, not knowing where it came from, but still storing what I read in my mind. Every time I walked into the storage room I saw that paper, and eventually it became ingrained in me. Today, having realized how I and those around me deserve to be treated, I make sure all my relationships abide by that model.

equality wheelDomestic Abuse Intervention Programs

I started volunteering at My Sister’s Closet this past April 2013. I decided to come to My Sister’s Closet because I knew what it stands for and supports, having shopped there before, and wanted to give back to community the best way I could. It has been wonderful experience. I do not only work with great clothes, but also work with many wonderful people with different skills and personalities. In the past, I had trouble fitting in, particularly in high school, but My Sister’s Closet feels just like a community. Everyone has something different to bring to the table; everyone has a different way to solve a problem. The volunteers at My Sister’s Closet are a diverse group and it is a joy every time I meet a different volunteer.

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 At My Sister’s Closet I learn to be accommodating because everyone has a different opinion. I develop my skills as a team player rather than an individual worker as I would usually do. We each play our strengths and cover for each other’s weaknesses and this is what makes a team work well. Coming to volunteer at the store feels like a breath of fresh air amidst the constant flood of schoolwork. I always feel like I am doing something useful when I am able to come in and leave my frustrations behind to be surrounded by everyone’s good energy, whether that be on shift, just coming into shop, or at a volunteer network meeting. Thanks to My Sister’s Closet, I feel such emotional fulfillment that material things could not give me; the fact that.

Learn more about My Sister’s Closet, social enterprise of BWSS here.

My Sister's Closet on Instagram

 

Last year, Battered Women’s Support Services responded to over 10,000 crisis calls from women and girls to get help and end violence. We could not provide this essential support without your contribution.

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