Jessie Freschl's Journey to Repurpose
Jessie Freschl comes from a long lineage of fashion and style lovers. Her grandmother started a clothing boutique in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was later passed on to Jessie’s mother and then onto Jessie herself. A great deal of her childhood consisted of sleeping in fitting rooms and sewing new clothes for her dolls. The art of fashion was instilled in her from a young age, and it ultimately guided her into adulthood.
In 2010, Jessie moved to New York City and started her personal styling business, Freschstyle. Many of her clients were individuals with high net worths and closets full of luxury clothes. After a few years of personal styling, Jessie realized that her clients stimulated the economy by always buying new but they didn’t want to just throw their old clothes out. This is where she got the idea to start Repurpose.
After two years, Repurpose was able to be established as a non-profit. All net proceeds from sales on Repurpose go directly to women and family first charities in New York City. A list of some of the charities Repurpose supports can be found here. When asked what she would like people to know about Repurpose, Jessie said, “it’s clothing from women, for women.”Repurpose began as an unofficial extension of Freschstyle, in which Jessie helped her clients organize their wardrobes by what they wanted to keep and what they wanted to get rid of. The clothes her clients would get rid of were then sold to people who wanted luxury goods but didn’t necessarily want to pay full price for them. Then the profit from these sales would go to charity. This process worked well for everyone involved, as charities were receiving donations and donors were able to receive tax deductions for their philanthropy. After about five years, Jessie decided that this service should be a separate entity from her styling company and, thus, Repurpose was born.
She hopes that, in three years, Repurpose will be able to give away $350,000 worth of grants to partnering non-profits. She also wants people to know how important sustainability is to Repurpose’s mission. Instead of throwing away unwanted clothing, they can now be donated to Repurpose and support underserved communities in the U.S. as well.
Jessie emphasized that her hope for a better world for her children inspired her to create Repurpose. She wanted to show them that “we all can be activists in some shape or form” and that they can do their part in making the United States a better place for everyone. Starting Repurpose was a leap of faith for Jessie, and she expressed that, “even if it fails at least she tried.” This is a sentiment that she strives to instill in her children through her business.
When asked about the future of Repurpose, Jessie wants to be able to expand it into a brick-and-mortar. She also looks forward to seeing Repurpose stores across the U.S.
Repurpose is committed to raising funds to fight COVID-19 and systemic policy racism by partnering with the following organizations. Net proceeds of online sales will go to the following organizations:
Blog post written by Kayla Sabre