Behind the colourful clothes lining the rails on our shop floors is our incredible warehouse team and Shop Managers who work hard to curate all the garments donated to Traid by hand. This great operation is supported by two long standing members of our warehouse team, Rose Nkore and Elaine Josephs. Over the past 25 years the duo have worked together to help us put over 233 million garments back into use! In a special conversation, we sat down with Rose and Elaine to find out why they have stood by Traid’s mission since we first opened our doors in 1999.

Rose Nkore (left), Elaine Josephs (right) inside our North Wembley warehouse.

You’ve been colleagues for 25 years, what has it been like to work together over the years and how have your roles evolved? 

Rose: “I’ve known [Elaine] more than any other person on this planet. I don’t think in terms of work colleagues, you’re going to get someone better than Elaine. I say to Maria [Chenoweth, Traid’s Chief Executive] all the time as long as Elaine is there, we’ll be fine. I started as a Sorter at the warehouse in 1999 and there was a moment I thought, you know, maybe I could supervise people, so I asked Maria, and she said ‘go for it’, so my work has eventually led me to this role of being the Donations Processing Manager.” 

Elaine: “We’ve become sisters Rose and I. We both started at Traid together all those years ago and are still doing it today. I like what I do and I just do it to my best ability.”  

What’s the best donation you’ve found and what have you learnt from working at Traid?

Elaine: “Oh my God, lots! We have learned so much, especially knowing clothes and seeing what original vintage is. It’s super! You learn so much about the culture behind the clothes like the Sari, the African prints; all these different clothes that people wear. I’ve got lots of clothes anyway, but I don’t follow fashion trends. I’ve got my own style. Traid has taught me so much about fashion and the quality of second-hand. The best donations are vintage, original vintage, they are just beautiful.”   

Rose: “Our achievements are mostly not what you’re going to see upfront, we’re behind the scenes. But when shops make their money and we hear about how much goes towards supporting the projects from the clothes we sort, it makes you think that the work is all worthwhile and does so much good. I didn’t know so much about vintage when I first started at Traid, but when I saw the vintage pieces come into the warehouse, I remembered my mum’s clothes. You know how they treasure their clothes, and the quality, style and colours are just beautiful; this is what second-hand should be. We’ve seen so many clothes that we can sort with our eyes closed and tell if it’s a quality piece! You realise that if you buy something good quality you can wear it for years. I think the best donation I found was from one donor who gave us about 20 items of Gucci skirts, blouses and jackets!” 

What are your most memorable moments working at Traid?  

Rose: “I went to visit a project in Uganda and it was amazing. We went for 2 to 3 weeks and visited the rural areas where they were teaching local people life skills, how to tend to their land and how to use their resources better, like fetching water and learning natural ways to grow crops.”  

Elaine: “I’ve always learned a lot and enjoyed when the international project teams have visited us at the warehouse. When you have people coming from the project and they’re telling you what they’re doing, how it is really helping people and educating us about the work, I find it mind blowing. Even with the cotton projects, I tell my people about it and how they shouldn’t use pesticides and look at natural ways to help grow the crops.”