SOMERVILLE — Everybody loves great bargains in this economy, especially for designer clothes. And it is the season for giving and making others happy. One website covers all these bases, making shopping a charity cause. TraTutti.com is a consignment website that prides itself in saving and giving. It resells lightly worn designer clothing for low prices and donates a portion of the profits to Boston based charities.
"We donate 20 percent of what we make to six charities," said website founder Ashley Judge. "Tra Tutti keeps forty percent of the money, and the last forty percent goes to the consigners who donate the clothing."
Tra Tutti donates to AIDS Action, Big Brother Big Sister, Dress for Success, MSPCA, The Home for Little Wanderers and Rosie’s Place. When you shop from Tratutti.com and buy something, you can choose which of these charities you want your twenty percent to go to. When you finish up and pay, Judge writes a check and sends it to the charity of your choice. There is a reason their motto is "couture with a conscience."
Judge considers herself a young entrepreneur. She has a large background in non-profit business, managing events for Goodwill and then becoming the Manager of External Affairs for Ambassador Swanee Hunt in Cambridge. Then she decided to create a company based on a new business model.
"I wanted to take this nonprofit experience and combine it with my other two passions: bargain hunting and fashion," explained Judge, "Tra Tutti is absolutely a for-profit entity, but we’re a â€˜social enterprise,’ a business for the common good with goals of success that don’t just include being financially successful.”
This is how it works: if you own any designer clothing in good condition, then you can send it to Tra Tutti and they will sell them for you. You can even have Judge and her crew goes through your closet and helps you clean out what you no longer wear. When it’s sold, Judge returns forty percent of the profits back to the consigner. Then Tra Tutti keeps the remaining forty percent. This way, everybody benefits.
Every few months Tra Tutti also holds a sales event with Kick Ass Cupcakes. This is a joint venture with Kick Ass Cupcakes owner Sara Ross. She also sees the appeal of donating to charities.
"Kick Ass Cupcakes donates hundreds of cupcakes a week to charity events all over the city," said Ross.
These events, called "Couture and Cupcakes," allow shoppers to check out a selection of designer clothes while enjoying free cupcakes and champagne.
"I think this is a great idea", said one Tra Tutti shopper, who declined to give her name, "It’s not going to make me feel guilty because usually when you shopping you feel guilty because your selfish. But in this case you’re shopping and you’re making everybody happy and your making these charities happy."
The next Couture and Cupcakes even will be in February, so log on to TraTutti.com for details. While you’re there, check out the selection of great clothes for great prices, and don’t forget to choose your favorite charity you want your money to go to.