What exactly is POP! and what is its role in the GW community? 

POP! is a student-run thrift store started by four undergraduate students at George Washington University. Our goal is to promote a culture of sustainable fashion while contributing to a circular economy. We hope to advocate for sustainable habits, reduce textile waste, and empower our customers to use their power of the purse (POP) to make a difference! In terms of GW, we want to increase students’ accessibility to sustainable fashion and inform them of the environmental costs of the fashion industry! Did you know fashion contributes to 10% of the world’s carbon footprint! 

How did you get the idea to start POP! 

As a group, we conducted research on sustainable fashion with the GW Institute for Corporate Responsibility. We examined impact investing, consumer motivations, greenwashing and many other sustainability-adjacent topics. We decided that we wanted to translate our abstract and qualitative research into concrete and actionable change on campus. So, our semester-long research project culminated in the idea for a thrift store on campus and that’s when POP! was born.

What does POP! stand for?

POP stands for power of the purse! This pays homage to GW’s historical location in DC, referring to the House of Representatives possessing the power to tax and spend money for the national government. POP! aims to empower our consumers to use the power of their purses to make environmentally and socially conscious buying decisions.

How can students at GW donate clothing? 

We collaborate with GW Compost and host clothing collections at Kogan Plaza on Fridays from 9am-12pm! When students or community members drop off clothing, we give them a 10% off coupon for their entire purchase at a pop-up. Check out our Instagram (@popthriftstore) for more details!

Is POP! a student organization?

No. POP! is GW-affiliated, but we are not registered as a student organization. POP! is currently an LLC. POP!’s four founders are GW undergraduates, and POP! has multiple partnerships with GW student groups and offices, such as the Office of Sustainability, the GW Textile Museum, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the GW Innovation Center, and others.

How did POP! get its initial funding?

The co-founders participated in a 3-week I-Corp Customer Discovery Program hosted by the GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in May 2021. After completing the program, POP! received $3,000 in funding toward prototype expenses, which fund our first pop-up in September.

Throughout the Spring 2022 semester, the POP! co-founders successfully competed in GW’s New Venture Competition, winning $25,000 through the following awards: 2nd Place Social Venture Prize ($5,000), Best Financials Prize ($10,000), Best Undergraduate Prize ($5,000), and Viewer's Choice Award ($5,000). POP! will use this money to further its social impact on campus and continue to promote a culture of sustainable habits, inter-GW collaboration, and sustainable fashion.

Where do profits from POP! go?

100% of POP!’s profits go toward operations. The POP! team is unpaid, and all revenue goes toward buying more inventory (clothing, hangars, racks, bins), buying pop-up decor, and purchasing marketing materials (such as stickers, banners, etc.).

Questions or comments?

If you or anyone you know wants to help or get involved, we would love to have you! Just DM on our Instagram which is @popthriftstore!