How to authenticate Coach bags

 If there is a place to come into contact with a large number of designer bags, authentic and counterfeit alike, it is among Goodwill’s donations! Coach is one of the designer brands I see most frequently, from Cashin-era all the way up to this season’s styles (OK…maybe last season’s). Thousands of bags later, I have picked up several ways to help determine the authenticity of Coach bags, and I’d like to share a few tips and illustrative photos. Continue reading


Customer Experiences

This email is a general compliment rather than a question. I am a member of a Yahoo vintage sewing machine group. I posted a message about what a great sewing machine I purchased on the shopgoodwill site. Although I bought it from the Tacoma store, I did not mention that in the posting. Several people posted messages in response, all mentioning the fine sewing machines and packing thereof that they purchased on the site from Tacoma, Washington. Not all Goodwill stores were praised, but the Tacoma store received only praise!! Thanks for keeping these wonderful sewing machines alive and cherished.
– April 27, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I just wanted to thank you for the nice packing job. It arrived safely today. Thanks.
– Janet, April 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM

My gorgeous eyelet nightgown just arrived!!! I am thrilled!!! This gown will have a lot of fun…I am doing a revival of the Broadway musical “I Do! I Do!” A lovely show spanning 50 years of a marriage. This gown is for the wedding night scene. And, it is a bit of perfection. Just thought you should know it arrived safely. Thank you.
– Marybeth, April 15, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Thank you so much for disassembling this case. All pieces arrived with no damage. Excellent job!
– April 11, 2011 at 2:09 PM

There needs to be a way to give you feedback for such a great deal! I’m sure the details on the listing for the boots I just received didn’t say anything about never being worn! These were such a nice surprise and they look brand new! I have been recommending the shopgoodwill site to everybody! Thanks again!
– April 10, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Your staff is great.  Due to weather and traffic delays, I arrived at the Service Center a few minutes after 4PM.  But the individual there was quite helpful and very gracious.  I was grateful for her assistance – and was able to wear my new leather fringed collar at our organization’s Annual Dinner – receiving many, many compliments. Thank you again – please pass this along to your staff!
– Judith, a very happy customer!! On March 21, 2011 at 10:02

Got the watch! Hey thanks for saving the O ring and those two little springs, those are VERY important and Casio won’t sell them to you separate so that was great. This series of MT-G 900s came from the factory with a defective solar capacitor (looks like a battery) so I replaced it with the upgraded one and put the springs back in where they go, lubed the gasket and am wearing it right now! Saved me about $60 over a new one and works perfectly. Thanks so much for the fast shipping and excellent packing too. Take care.
– March 15, 2011 at 9:33:07 AM

OMG, you guys are killing me. You have so many nice things I can’t stand it. Thanks for all the wonderful things I have bid on so far and I wish I could say stop putting up great items but I cannot bring myself to say that. Best regards, have a happy day and I look forward to much more up in the near future.
– Diane, Monday, March 14, 2011 at 9:12 PM

ALL my orders with TGIB have been equally perfect regarding Service, Book Conditions, Prices, all aspects of Packaging, etc. I have no complaints. Also, the books always appear in much better condition that as listed. I have received free shipping on several orders. That has been a special added blessing to my ordering with TGIB. Carley has been outstanding enabling me to buy from TGIB, answering questions, keeping me posted about orders, etc. I am always thrilled by my perfect orders and the wonderful people at TGIB! God Bless you all for the wonderful work you do to help others!
– Carolyn, February 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

I just wanted to email you folks that I picked this item up (very big framed art) and it was no problem. I wanted to really thank you folks for your help on this and I’m very happy! You might let the workers know that their work is great and appreciated – a very big thank you.
– John, February 17, 2011 at 5:11 PM

My trains arrived safe and sound.  Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to adjust the shipping price.  Much appreciated. I also wanted to commend  your packing/shipping person.  Each item was carefully wrapped and separated to avoid damage.  Something that is very important with these old trains.  I have purchased items from you before, and have appreciated this attention to detail each time. Thanks again.
– Matt, February 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM

This is not a question, just a big thank you. I have bought several things from Tacoma Goodwill and they are always shipped so fast and the quality of the items has been exceptional. Just wanted to let you know you are appreciated!!!
-Carol, February 1, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Just wanted to let you know I receive my ring yesterday and it was more beautiful than the picture. Thank you so much!!! have a blessed day!!!!!
– January 29, 2011 at 5:51 AM

I got the trumpet, thanks it arrived in great shape. I’m a member of “Bugles Across America”, we play taps for no charge at any veteran’s funeral. If you know of any vet who has died, be sure to visit our website and we’ll probably be able to get a volunteer to play taps at the funeral just about anywhere in the US. I’m a vet myself and playing taps helps my PTSD a lot. I wanted a trumpet that looked a little more military than the ones I had. This one is perfect. Did the old GW price tag actually say $150? If so, someone could have gotten a great bargain! I’m sure glad nobody did. I’ll never sell it, it plays beautifully, just what I wanted. I’ve seen this year Connstellation trumpet go for $800-1000 on Ebay, if it’s in perfect shape. I actually bid up to about $777 I think, I was surprised no one else was bidding at the last minute. I couldn’t afford that much but I couldn’t resist. Thanks for the good packing job. I will put this horn to very good use and I’ll never sell it. Thanks, thanks, thanks.
– Dave, January 14, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I don’t know who was in charge of shipping out this car but I would like to say a gigantic THANK YOU for doing it so quickly!!! I really was sweating getting this in time for Christmas for my 13 year old, he has been wanting this car for years and about had a cow when he saw it on here for sale! So I want to say thank you to that person for making another Good Will dream happen for a child that loves vintage toys.  Thanks again.
– Randell and Samantha, December 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

For the 2nd time this month, I’ve received an item I am thrilled with. Earlier I received a Dooney & Bourke tote. Today I received a Coach handbag. Exactly as described and in even better condition than I expected and the price was crazy good. But even more importantly, it is an authentic Coach handbag. Thanks so much!!!
– September 30, 2010 at 3:05 pm

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It’s All About The Dress: Shopping Prom at Goodwill

It is all about the dress.

Prom, weddings, other formal occasions – the dress is the centerpiece of the event. It must be beautiful, flattering, and special. It also really helps if it’s within your budget.

Shopping for formalwear, whether for prom, a wedding or a glitzy party, can be difficult at Goodwill and other non-specialized second-hand stores. Unless you get really lucky and find something perfect on the first try, it requires patience and probably several trips.

This year, Tacoma Goodwill decided to make it a lot easier. A store full of over a thousand formal dresses, tuxedos, shoes and accessories will be open for one day this month – April 16 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store is located right next door to the North Tacoma Goodwill store on 6th Ave. Details are available here.

You might be surprised at what you find. Many dresses featured in the sale are unworn with tags still attached. There are adorable vintage dresses, slinky evening gowns, classics in satin and styles with a bit of an edge. You’re bound to fall in love with something, and you will pay much less than what you would at the mall or a specialty dress shop.

Below are just a few of the many dresses available for purchase on the 16th.

This black satin gown is new with tags from David's Bridal. The beading and sequin detail in pink wraps around to the back of the dress.

Fab flapper-style dress, medium purple with beading detail and black fringe.

A shorter style, this vintage red satin and black lace dress is a fantastic look, and you can be sure that no one else at your event will be wearing the same thing.


This gorgeous beaded silk gown is reminiscent of the night sky, blue fading to black with sparkling beads that look like stars.

Think Spring Cleaning!

Goodwill International and The Clutter Diet’s Lorie Marrero held a Twitter party this week with some fantastic tips and information to help you get organized and jumpstart your spring cleaning.  

“Spring means time to organize bathrooms and kitchens as we get ready to spend more time outdoors and cooking fresh spring produce” according to Lorie, who suggests considering Features, Function, Flow, and Frequency as you strategize the organization and placement of things in your kitchen. Frequently used items should be in the most accessible places. In another part of the house – the bedroom closet – this means placing your favorite clothing and shoes front and center while keeping the formalwear to the back and away.

Lorie shared some great links as well, one an article about how getting organized can help you get a job. The tips on organizing contacts, bills, files, your calendar and tasks, and even your first impression all make a lot of sense. She also linked a list of Donating Do’s and Don’ts, the first point encouraging you to consider whether your donated items will be used toward a cause you support, and how much of the revenue actually benefits the cause. For example, 83% of Goodwill’s collective revenue directly supports Goodwill’s mission and programs (which helped serve 1.9 million people in 2009). Some of the donation tips Goodwill International tweeted can be found near the bottom of this entry.

The Donate Movement is incredibly cool, its purpose being to help people give their gently used goods a longer life and help the community (explained more here). The Donate Movement webpage is a really useful tool. As I write, the ticker at the bottom says that Goodwill has diverted more than 2 billion pounds of useable goods from landfills since Jan 1, 2010. Two billion pounds! You can watch as the number of pounds goes up and up each second. There is also a great donation calculator that can give you a real idea of the impact your own donations have on people in Goodwill programs. Goodwill International tweeted some examples during the party:

  • Donating just 1 pair of jeans to Goodwill can give someone 11 minutes of on-the-job training.
  • Donating one lamp can provide 10 minutes of career counseling to someone who needs it.
  • Want to clear out some winter coats? Donating 2 could provide 28 minutes of financial training classes.
  • The old TV taking up space in your basement, when donated, can provide 31 minutes of career counseling.
  • Are the kids bored with their old video games? Donating 3 can provide 15 minutes of job search class.
  • If you’re cleaning out your kitchen, donating 10 plates can provide 15 minutes of financial planning class.
  • To donate an hour of career counseling, give 1 coat, 1 dress, 1 pair of shoes, 3 pairs of jeans and 2 sweaters.
  • Looking to donate something high value this year? A donated working computer can provide 5.3 hours of career counseling.

You can track your donations online with CharityDeductions or on your iPhone or iPad with iDonatedit. If you are a blogger, consider supporting the Donate Movement by joining the blogger network.

Goodwill International also tweeted these donation tips (for further information check out the Donation Acceptance Guidelines):

  • Do: always wash or dry clean clothing before you donate it.
  • Don’t: donate broken items!
  • Don’t: donate kids’ products that have been recalled. Check this site first:
  • Don’t: leave items unattended outside a collection center where they can be stolen or ruined by weather.
  • Do: Test electrical equipment and battery-operated items before you donate them.

So, where does that leave us? Organizing our homes and donating what we no longer need, of course! And we at Goodwill will turn your donations into job training, placement, and community programs – learn more about the programs in our area here.

A map of the stores and attended donation stations in Tacoma Goodwill’s section of Washington is available here. Thanks for a great Twitter party, Goodwill International, The Clutter Diet & Lorie Marrero!

Goodwill helps seniors find jobs & training

bildeTacoma Goodwill’s SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program) “helps seniors who are in need find jobs at nonprofit organizations or public entities and pays them minimum wages as they gain experience or training” according to Tacoma Goodwill spokesman Matthew Erlich.

Harvey Kortman, pictured here, is a 65 year old resident of Port Angeles. His income had been severely limited due to years of working in industries that did not offer pensions and for years did not take Social Security from his paycheck.

Through the SCSEP, Kortman has been placed as a handyman for the Clallam YMCA where he paints and does repairs while relearning skills he lost when he suffered a stroke in 2000. “I’m so thankful for this program,” he said.

Info from the Peninsula Daily News. Full article can be read here.