Economic Opportunity

Outfitting Veterans With Pre-Loved Suits to Give Them a Second Chance

Rachel Chen, eBay News Team

With the help of his eBay store, Alex Carrera is empowering veterans across the country by providing them with free business clothes.

Alex Carrera has always felt a calling to make the world a better place. 

As the son of a family that emigrated from Mexico to the United States, Alex witnessed firsthand just how difficult it can be to start over. Whenever he could, he sought out opportunities to make an impact in his local community and eventually found Save a Suit, a nonprofit that provides veterans with free business suits.

“I knew I had to get involved,” Alex said. “It was an opportunity to help veterans, and the work was so fulfilling. I loved helping the community in one way or another.” 

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Alex quickly became an integral member of the nonprofit team, working his way up from volunteer. Today, he serves as president and is the mastermind behind Save a Suit on eBay

Save a Suit’s eBay store sells pre-loved blazers, ties, shirts and dress pants that have minor flaws. 

“Our veterans deserve the absolute best,” explained Alex. “That’s why Save a Suit has a very thorough inspection process for all of our donations. For items with small imperfections, like a faint stain on the collar or some loose threads, I will list them on eBay instead, where someone can get a discounted price while supporting our charity.” 

The money that Alex makes on eBay goes right back to Save a Suit, which receives thousands of men’s and women’s suits every year and matches them with veterans from across the country. So far, the nonprofit has helped clothe over 5,000 veterans. 

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It still surprises Alex how many veterans Save a Suit has reached — and how much support he has received from his local community. 

“We’ve partnered with banks, dry cleaners and other local businesses,” Alex said. “In the beginning, I was skeptical: how many people have old suits just lying around? But 10 years later, I still have people crying on my shoulder, saying, ‘This suit is special to me, and it’s hard to let go, but I know you’ll send it to a good home.’ It’s an honor to be entrusted with their stories.” 

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The response from the veteran community has also been overwhelming. Veterans from as far as Alaska have reached out to request a suit and share their appreciation. For Alex, receiving those phone calls reminds him of why he developed Save a Suit in the first place: to thank them for their service and to celebrate everyone’s ability to make a difference. 

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Alex advises other eBay sellers looking to make an impact in their local communities to cultivate meaningful relationships. 

“It has always been my dream to help people; selling on eBay has only widened my reach,” said Alex. “For me to come into the veteran community as an outsider and to be embraced wholeheartedly is such a wonderful thing. At the end of the day, all I want is to return a fraction of the kindness that these veterans have given me.”