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Featured #bloomgirl: Sage Schwer, Founder of Porch Finds

We are so excited to announce our newest featured bloom girl, Sage Schwer! Sage is a fellow University of Delaware alumnus and the founder of Porch Finds! Sage worked as an intern at bloom while she attended the University of Delaware and really helped to form our internship program at bloom! We love Sage's passion, energy, creative ambition, and entrepreneurial drive, and we had to share her amazing story with all of you! Read all about Sage's journey of starting Porch Finds below. 

Tell us the story of Porch Finds and how it got its name!

The story of porch finds is a culmination of many aspects of my life coming together and all finally making sense. Since I was young, I have always loved fashion and wearing outfits that made me feel important. My passion for fashion got its roots from going on shopping sprees with my fashionista mom and buying clothes that really showcased my style and spunky personality. My sense of adventure also made going thrifting with my friends feel like a treasure hunt to find unique clothes that were one-of-a-kind. We loved putting together outfits that we knew nobody else would have and setting ourselves apart. To a fashion girl, there's no worse feeling than showing up to an event and accidentally twinning!

While attending The University of Delaware and majoring in fashion merchandising, I started to understand and learn about the production side of the Fashion Industry. My teachers began emphasizing sustainability and the importance of the process that it takes for clothes to be made, along with the conditions that clothes are being made in. This really got me thinking... how could I love fashion so much but never have thought about where the clothes that I was buying were coming from? When I learned that according to the EPA, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year and that "it takes over an average of 1,000 gallons of water to create one pair of jeans", I felt like I was so ignorant to an industry that I had immersed myself in for so long. I realized if I, someone who is majoring in fashion, was just hearing about sustainability and the negative aspects of the industry, then most consumers definitely did not think about a clothes lifespan before purchasing!

As my fashion sense and awareness of the sustainability issues within the fashion industry continued to grow throughout college, I also had the incredible opportunity to become an intern at bloom. Being surrounded by positive, like-minded women made me feel empowered to follow my dreams. I interned at bloom for four years as a social media coordinator and during that time I was able to see the company transform into an incredible lifestyle brand and really bloom into something that offers much more than just planners. Working from home for bloom over my breaks away from school, I also juggled other internships that were more fashion related to expand my knowledge from what I was learning in school. I became familiar with the way that things worked in the corporate fashion world and after seeing how wasteful it was firsthand, I realized I liked the idea of buying for a store, but not for a store that directly contributed to overproduction and poor quality in their clothing. I dreamed about one day owning my own store where I not only liked the clothing I was selling, but could make sure the clothing was sustainable.

Fashion sustainability, female entrepreneurship, and creating a positive impact on the world around me are things that I have become truly passionate about. In an effort to combine these different aspects of my life, I decided to create Porch Finds as a way for consumers to guilt-free shop for one-of-a-kind items that showcased their personality while simultaneously informing them and encouraging them to be more sustainable. I thought, "Why don’t I just start making my store right now? Maybe I could sell clothes on my porch and present them in a cute, upscale, yard-sale type way!" My friends loved the idea and were so ready and excited to do something different! (I think they were most excited to make our porch look super cool and make money). I shopped around at local thrift stores, gathered my friend's unwanted clothes, and took some of my personal pieces to refurbish. I decided it would be a cool idea to have it on our porch so that people walking by would see it and, our porch was absolutely epic! My roommate Dana and I tossed around a few names. Some of them were too typical thrift store like “amethyst thrifting” or “gypsy vintage”, but I had always liked the word finds because I was finding these amazing pieces all over in unexpected places. And then the name clicked, "Porch Finds!"

The first day of “Porch Finds”, my friends and I completely transformed my house and iconic porch to look like a clothing store that channeled vibes from the '60s and ‘70s. From there, we hosted two more pop-up events at school. The last event of my Senior year Porch Finds was not only a store, but a social event with live music and entertainment. I had a local band perform and collaborated with other student run companies like AndAgain. I liked the idea of making Porch Finds not only a store but a destination to hang out and chill with friends. It was not until my last pop-up shop as a student at the University of Delaware that I really thought I could make Porch Finds a successful business after college. I stressed about finding a good job in New York and then decided to follow my dreams and work towards something that I really loved and enjoyed doing. I created the Porch Finds Online thrift store, Porch Finds social media sites, a Poshmark Store, and depop sites and have been doing pop-up shops all around the country ever since!

What sets Porch Finds apart from other online clothing stores?

Porch Finds sets itself apart by providing customers with unique, one-of-a-kind clothing that not only has the motive to make consumers feel good and confident in what they’re wearing, but that genuinely cares about the fashion industry's future, and wants people to learn the truth behind “trendy” clothes that seem to go in and out of style in a matter of weeks. Porch Finds is also unique in the sense that it started off as events and then became a real brand and company, when usually it’s the other way around. Porch Finds deviates from the norm because we have the best intentions for our customers and the industry. We are real and show our funny, awkward, and sometimes crazy personalities! I want Porch Finds to make people think; think about shopping, consumption, and the lifespan of clothing, before and after purchasing.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I’d have to say my biggest inspiration is people. Pretty broad I know, but it’s true. I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that every person has a different story and experience which  shapes the way they see the world. It’s almost too much to process when you think about how different everyone’s lives are and how many pieces have come together to make them the people they’ve become. I love listening to stories, being inspired by experiences, and getting to share emotions with those telling them. Relating to fashion, it’s inspiring looking at strangers outfits because style and dress shows a lot about a person’s culture, personality and overall self. You wear a part of yourself through your outfit, even if you’re one of those people who just throw on whatever’s at the top of your drawer in the morning. When you decide your outfit every day you are choosing how you want to look to the world, whether it’s conscious or not. When second-hand shopping, I’m always intrigued by the stories behind the clothes, and love to give these garments a new life, a new story to tell. So, when I am exploring cities around the world, getting to know people and their stories, I draw inspiration from the outfits they wear, their creativity and the experiences they share with me.

What are your favorite bloom products?

I’ve always been a "list girl" and found it to be the most efficient way of getting things done and staying organized. Since starting Porch Find's online store and beginning to truly form it into a brand, I’ve come to realize that even though they’re great, a to-do list is not enough for a working girl boss! Now, my favorite product would have to be the Vision Planner! There are so many awesome features to help encourage and jumpstart someone on the goals they want to accomplish! I can use the appointment tracker to stay on top of photoshoots and other events, I use the empty note pages for brainstorm sessions and there’s a section for my to-dos!! Also I’m absolutely obsessed with the Palm Leaves print! 

Where do you see yourself/your company in 5 years, and how do you see yourself directing that growth?

I have a lot of dreams and plans for Porch Finds and even though it can be overwhelming at times, it’s all so exciting and amazing knowing I have people’s support who see a future for the company. In the next 5 years I plan on owning a fashion truck that travels around the country doing pop-up shops at college campuses, festivals and female empowerment events. I hope there is an aspect of styling involved in my job, whether it’s going on tour with a band and styling them for every show while hosting the Porch Finds events, or having styling be a part of the Porch Finds service. I plan on having my own place, with office space to house my clothes and for employees to run the website. In addition, I plan to have a few employees who tour with me and who are really dedicated and love the mission and experience of Porch Finds. I plan to have a brand ambassador program called the Porch Finds squad where students get to represent Porch Finds at their school, get free clothes and the chance to host a pop-up shop on or near campus!

 

We hope you are inspired by hearing Sage's story! Have a #girlboss story to share? Email us at bloom@bloomplanners.com for a chance to be our next featured bloom girl!

Never stop dreaming, never stop blooming!

xoxo,

the bloom team



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