Fundraising for Fashionistas

Christena Reinhard’s online clothing store is about more than looking good — it’s about doing good too. Union & Fifth sells donated luxury goods, from gently used Gucci handbags to Burberry summer dresses, and gives the proceeds to a charity the customer chooses.

It’s the first nonprofit of its kind in the country, says Reinhard MBA ’08, who credits her master of business administration education with helping her launch the big-hearted shopping site in 2014.

“It’s a win-win for women who love both shopping and helping their favorite cause,” Reinhard says.

At USF, Reinhard learned the skills to be an entrepreneur, including how to write a business plan, pitch investors, market, and coordinate logistics. When it was time to launch Union & Fifth, she drew on support and advice from former professors and classmates.

“So many people stepped up to help,” she says. “Professor Mitchell Friedman talked public relations with me; Professor John Durham talked advertising with me; classmates who work at huge marketing companies helped me plan marketing strategies.”

Today the nonprofit has 15 employees in California, Ohio, and Massachusetts and partners with brands like Eileen Fisher to expand its business and distribute overstock merchandise.

Its innovative approach has garnered attention from magazines like Women’s Wear Daily and Redbook.