“When I sit with the charity, we’re helping them maintain their budget, improve their budget, get rid of the goods. They’re not ending up in the landfill, which is key. And then once, once it gets to the other countries, then it’s helping their economy. We’re helping them sell their goods. I mean, there’s even stories of, they would have parties in Africa. When it, when a bale of clothing would arrive, they would have a big party to auction and sell it all off.”

– Melenie York Logistics/Export Manager at Whitehouse and Schapiro


What happens to the excess textiles that arrive at charities and thrift shops? Whitehouse and Schapiro buys secondhand textiles and sends them abroad where they can continue to add value to different economies rather than ending up in a landfill – helping the originating charity at the same time.

Melenie York is their Logistics/Export Manager. She regularly interacts with buyers, suppliers, freight forwarders, and fumigators to move as many as 10 containers per week.

In this conversation, Melenie shares her unique supply chain concerns with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton, including the constant worry about shipping containers sitting in ports such as Chile or Pakistan that are unable to move under the pandemic shutdown conditions.

Intro – Amanda Luton (00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world, supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts. Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white,

Scott Luton (00:31):

which you hear on supply chain now, welcome to today’s episode, Greg, how you doing? I am doing great. It’s been a great day and I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re up to now. We’ve got a great conversation teed up. Uh, we’ll introduce our guests momentarily, but today’s episode, we’re continuing our logistics with purpose series PowerBar, dear friends, over at vector global logistics. And this show, Greg, it’s all about folks that are changing the world in some way, shape or form, you know, quickly it’s become one of our favorite series, right? There’s been some really endearing and some invigorating stories come out of this. So I think this episode is going to continue in that regard. Quick programming note, if you enjoyed today’s episode, do check us out wherever you get your podcasts from, and don’t forget to subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing.

Scott Luton (01:17):

All right. So Greg, let’s dive right in. Uh, let’s welcome in our R esteem cohost for today’s segment Valeria Hernandez with vector. Hello, malaria. How are you doing great. Great to see ya. I really have enjoyed our warmup conversation and of course we’re big fans of what vector does. So especially our work together on the series. Now the Lariat Greg has brought a special guest to today’s show. Well, we have got Melanie York export manager with white house and Shapiro, Melanie, how are you doing? And well, I’m doing well. All right. So for starters, Melanie, tell us about yourself. You know, where are you from?

Melenie York (01:57):

Do you have a story from your upbringing? Right? So I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. That’s where I am now. I grew up here and when I was 23, I went and lived in New York city. Studied art history, worked in the art world. When the art market crashed, I went and worked for an art book distributor. So people were still buying art books. People were still interested in art, but couldn’t afford art, buying our books, small little catalogs, museum parallels, but then they published a book on models and that book flew

Scott Luton (02:27):

and became global.

Melenie York (02:30):

So that book opened up a Japanese market, which then opened us up to selling them other photography books. So I became, so I was a sales, I was in sales, but then I was in charge of exports to Japan, Germany, England, and Australia.

Scott Luton (02:47):

So, Hey Melanie, real quick. Or you’re an art lover.

Melenie York (02:50):

I still do love art. Yes.

Scott Luton (02:52):

What’s your favorite type of art or artists?

Melenie York (02:55):

I don’t, um, pigeonhole. I, I just love pretty, but I am a snob about it. I love that, Melanie. I love that. Alright, so we’re going to shift gears here and Valeria, we’re curious, better journey, right? Yeah. Tell us about your role in your professional journey. So when I was in New York, I would go to the warehouse. I would visit the warehouse would work with the warehouse. Workers, saw the inventory, and then the circumstances brought me to Baltimore. Back to Baltimore. I came to work at a warehouse that bought used books from different Goodwills salvation Army’s missions, used books by the truckload. I was the logistics manager, arranging all the trucks to their warehouse in Toledo, Ohio. So that started me off with working with, with charity suppliers. So, and seeing the important role that this offers to that this money offers to them to have, to be able to maintain their programs and continue their soup kitchens and their food drives.

Melenie York (03:59):

It’s also big money also at the end. So also it seems like that was your, one of your first forays into recycled goods. Right. You know, just because the first owner of a book, you know, it’s done with it, many more folks could enjoy that same book. Right. So right. To see the story of a, of a book travel. So then, um, when I left that company, I went to work with white house in Shapiro cause I was familiar with them cause they were also buying books from our suppliers. And when I started bill Shapiro was alive and working and he, um, was leading the organization and he would always talk about, there’s a book travels at a T shirt and it’s about a tee shirt that was made in China and it followed it around the world to the whole chain. So when I started there, I was just doing, um, over the road, trucking and working with many of the same Goodwills and salvation armies, and then sending them to warehouses in Houston and Miami.

Melenie York (04:55):

And then I grew up in, grew in the organization and now I’m in charge of exports. And so you are managing the shipping across over the road truck, correct? Right. Okay. And how long have you been at the organization and group seven years now. And one last question before turning to Greg bill is no longer with, he passed away last August. Okay. And he founded the organization and it’s a family organization. It was a family run business. It’s I believe four generations now. So it was his grandfather and his father were in the business and now his nephew, Ryan London has taken over and he’s expanded it globally. Tri-fold pretty much. All right. Well, appreciate you that clarification. So Greg, let’s dive more into the organization. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about what the company does. You share a little bit with us, at least when you started, but it sounds like that’s expanded quite a bit.

Melenie York (05:50):

So I’m sadly with them, the pandemic right now, our shipments to Chile, which is how I work. Vector co have come to a halt, which is terribly sad and horrible. We, at one point before the pandemic, we were doing maybe eight shipments a week with vector and Chile. So we supply all of their used clothing stores and their toys stores. We supply them with toy, use toys, clothing, accessories, belts, and purses, Rick, a BRAC, which is all of your knickknacks that you have in your house, right? Yeah. John and chotchkies go or, you know, and then it’s all we sell it all by the pound, by the pound and sell it by the pound.

Scott Luton (06:30):

Melanie, have you rerouted some of these goods,

Melenie York (06:33):

we’re holding onto a lot of goods right now. Pakistan just opened up. So, but they just take clothing and maybe some shoes, we ship a lot to Nicaragua. We supply a thrift store, chain Mayer. What we send to Pakistan. It usually goes, it may end up in Africa, but we don’t right now. We’re not currently shipping directly to Africa. But one thing I forgot to say is that my father and I had no intentions of following in his footsteps. He was an export manager as well, or Kira or Shapiro in sense, a different,

Scott Luton (07:04):

Oh, now I’m working with this small world. So you’ve shared with us kind of the run up to the show. And it’s interesting when you define a role or give it a title, how sometimes that’s just a small portion of, what’s done. Tell us a little bit, we know you’re the export manager, but tell us about what all you do and

Melenie York (07:25):

a lot of customer service. So when the suppliers call me, I have to know everything that the suppliers have to ship that week. And then I work with my boss to figure out which, which customers we’re going to send it to. We’re going a lot, the loads. Then I reach out to the forwarder and I get my bookings and I set up the drayage. Then I do the invoicing, I get the invoicing and then I complete the load. So submit the information back to the forwarder, but also there’s customer service in between with the supplier and with the forwarder, a lot of back and forth.

Scott Luton (07:57):

Hey, Melanie, way back. When I think it was my first role in manufacturing, 15 years ago, most of what I’ve managed kind of in a similar role that you had was all domestic. And then occasionally we had to ship stuff and get stuff across the border from Canada. And those were some of my longest days because of the, of the customs issues. And some of the things I can’t imagine, especially with all the countries you’re involved with, you know, all the problem solving and firefight. And you probably do just to get stuff where it needs to

Melenie York (08:27):

one of the biggest snafoos that happened last year had two bookings off by one. Number, one container was intended for Karachi and one was going to kill it and they got swapped and they ended up in Dominican Republic where they had to wait for many days, until we could figure out how to divert them. The carrier felt horrible. We had to deduct the money. We deduct it from him. It was ugly. And there was nothing I could, could have done. I couldn’t have stopped.

Greg White (08:59):

I got a quick question that might help some of our folks who aren’t as familiar with logistics and transportation. One, if you could describe drayage for folks and to share a little bit about how you and the folks at vector work together, you know, and how they help you through this process,

Melenie York (09:17):

drayage is dead inland fucking in an intermodal container from the shipper to the port. So that shipper has to get an empty container from the port and then return it back to the port with Valerea also with Chile, which complicates matters a little is that all of the containers for certain items require fumigation. So that’s a real hassle because you have to hold the container for several days in a yard, it takes 24 hours with fumigation, certain cities don’t have fumigators. You have to find out how to get the fumigator there. So with vector, they set up the fumigation. Sometimes they’ll set up. So there’s a difference between port bookings and door bookings. Sometimes they’ll do a door booking where they take care of all the shipping, everything from doctor door, or sometimes I’ll work with them and I’ll, I’ll do the drayage. I’ll do the trucking. So we’re just constantly in touch with the deadlines to when there’s a port cut. And if you missed the port cut and then the container sits there for days and accumulates to merge,

Greg White (10:22):

I have to ask this question now then have you two ever actually met in person? That’s that’s incredible. Cause you were talking about having texted and communicated with one another, a lot of ways. Wow. That’s cool. I’m glad we got to do this. I’m impressed that y’all go the extra mile and work with the fumigators. I didn’t realize that was part of the activities y’all get involved in.

Valeria Hernandez (10:45):

Yes. Everything that goes to the killer that is using it. It has to be fumigated. So we coordinate everything to make these happen. It takes 24 hours to be permeated, but well, many of the health of a lot with this,

Greg White (11:02):

Larry, I know you particularly and everyone at Becker, big fans of white house heroes. Tell us a little bit about, you know, why you wanted to share them with the logistics, with purpose series and what you see. That’s so special about what they’re doing.

Valeria Hernandez (11:19):

Okay. Yeah. I think we choose many because she’s one of the biggest shippers that we work with. We work together from different places from gala Baltimore, Philadelphia. They are always shipping with us many containers. Sometimes actually we moved 10 containers per week. She’s always helping us with all information. She is very nice. So I think that is one of the most important things to work with someone that is open to help work. It’s easy for us to work with someone like Melanie. So we admire him. We really like to work with here with her company. That’s the reason

Scott Luton (12:04):

it seems like there’s a noble mission element, Melanie, to what you and your organization does. Right? I mean, sure, because first off, starting with the supplier. When I sit with the charity, we’re helping them maintain their budget, improve their budget, get rid of the goods. It’s they’re not ending up in the landfill, which is key. And then once, once it gets to the other countries, then it’s helping their economy. We’re helping them sell their sell goods. I mean, there’s even stories of, they would have parties in Africa. When it, when a bale of clothing would arrive, they would have a big party to auction and sell it all off. That brings imagery to minds. I mean, that’s the power of logistics, the power supply chain. So I appreciate what you do. It’s gotta be really rewarding, Melanie. I mean, to be a part of that and be able to make that happen and get rid of the obstacles and the problems that get in the way of those types of cells.

Scott Luton (12:58):

I mean, frankly, celebrations around the world, that’s gotta be a rewarding day. Yeah, it is for the most part. Well, and lots of headaches, I’m sure there’s lots of headaches as well too. So Melanie Valera and I were talking kind of, we love asking our guests kind of beyond more broadly, you know, what, what’s an issue or a topic or challenge or two, but you’re really tracking more than others right now. I think right now, because of the pandemic, it’s really hard to see when things are gonna open up right now. I can’t imagine how many containers are sitting in Chile, not being unloaded. And now we’ve stopped picking up in Pakistan. How many containers we’re already sitting there waiting to be unloaded. And then how long they’re going to sit at the port to be unloaded for a while. There was a container shortage because containers weren’t coming back from overseas, that seems to have loosened up some, I think just the question of what the world’s going to look like visibility.

Scott Luton (13:58):

It has been all the rage for years, right? And supply chain across in the end supply chain. And what you described there, at least to me, Melanie, I think of the lack of certainty and the lack of visibility. And uh, and that’s just in current operations, right? Where things are today. And then you apply that same level of uncertainty and lack of visibility to where we’re headed. There is a lot of concern and a lot of folks are, you’re trying to figure that out together. So malaria, what does that mean? Kind of hearing that, and as you think about other customers or the industry, are you seeing a lot of that? Same, no uncertainty out there.

Valeria Hernandez (14:33):

Yeah, totally. It’s been like one month ago that we’re having some issues because of the pandemic I’m in charge of all the experts going to Chile virus is extremely bad. So right now our clients in Chile are asking to not cheap anymore. So that’s of course a problem that all the warehouses have been emergency they’re in homes. So that’s a big problem, but we have to push more and to see where else we can shave on how we can help our clients. Of course, of course we have to call them to send emails, to see if we can help in some way.

Scott Luton (15:15):

All right. So Greg, as we start to wrap up the interview, I know we want to make sure folks can get connected, right? Yeah. Melanie, tell us a little bit about how folks can find white house in Shapiro or maybe even connect with you.

Melenie York (15:28):

So our website is www we buy rags.com. We also sell rags, but we buy rags.com. We’re always looking for new suppliers and new buyers, so they can find me through. We buy rags.com.

Valeria Hernandez (15:43):

I want to say something about vector.

Melenie York (15:45):

I did get the chance to meet Emmerich and Rica came to visit me one day and their philosophy

Valeria Hernandez (15:50):

I see

Melenie York (15:51):

for their employees and their business model is fascinating. It’s really great. Valerie, can you talk more about how you all have the, have the structure to do what you want?

Scott Luton (16:04):

Love that I love that

Melenie York (16:06):

true. What it is a certain philosophy.

Valeria Hernandez (16:08):

One of the biggest values in Baxter is to take care of people. So we are, we really want to always help people. We are taking care. Oh, good. What we can give and what we have also, we are, I’m helping to Africa, to Ghana, a better is sending containers there. We also, in this moment that we are having the buyers, we are importing from China and mask task. Perfect. It could be, we are really committed to help people that’s or biggest value always to help. Also we are a company that we like to be different. We like to prove that we are basing it on results. We are a big team that we are a basis in three different countries, Chile, USA, Mexico. We are really committed to, to show the results that we have. We are happy to be here. Well, I’m totally happy. I’m proud to be in vector.

Scott Luton (17:21):

Love that. And you know, Melanie, one of the things you were alluding to, I believe was the culture where they, they do have a lot of latitude, you know, because this is a 24 seven type of industry we’re in, you know, having the latitude to contribute and the freedom to get the job done and whatever it takes while enjoying, as you heard there from malaria, enjoying the role and the company and, and working with the customer. So I think it is up to your point, Melanie. It is a unique, and of course, as this whole series is based on, it’s about changing the world and doing so where it’s not lip service, but you see it played out in the actions,

Greg White (17:58):

which is really important. Yeah. I, well, you know, we see that in person all the time, right? Our first studio was in the vector corporate office. So we got the all day long and, and we know Enrique from even before we were intimately involved with vector and got to see the culture. And you can see that the culture comes from the kind of person that Enrique is. And clearly he’s instilled that in everyone on the team, hilarious just said it better than weekend, better than repay does sometimes. And that’s also clear indicator of a strong culture is when everyone can communicate it. And that’s one of the things that we just really admire about it. They give with every single transaction, right? Every country has their specific philanthropy that they give to for every shipment. You know, we, we kind of coined this phrase give forward, right? Some people give back, they do their business first. And then when they get a chance, they give this company and much like yours, Melanie give first. And you know, that this whole give forward concept is how we’ve distinguished companies that do that. And we’re happy to be working with the folks at vector.

Scott Luton (19:09):

All right. So we invite our audience. Of course, the checkout Melanie York export manager at white house in Shapiro, we buy rags.com. I love that simple URL. I’m sure there’s plenty of ways that companies can now do business with and support the great work they’re doing based. And then the whole company is based in Boston. I know y’all do work internationally, but the is based in Baltimore, just got a new warehouse in Hanover, Maryland. It’s a huge warehouse. I don’t know the square footage understanding. Well, a pleasure Melanie, for you being on the show here today. I love your story. Thank you for having me. And we’re going to wrap up here at momentary a little bit big, thanks to Melanie York export manager with white house in Shapiro. Big thanks. Of course, to Valeria Hernandez and the whole vector global logistics team. I love the good work they’re doing Greg. Great show. A pleasure as always. And yeah, you bet. Great. Now this is a great logistics with purpose series a to our audience. Thanks for tuning in, as Greg shared, we encourage you to give forward, you know, seek out organizations like the ones right here that are, that continue to do incredible work. In these challenging times, we have, and check out a variety of resources, including podcasts, live streams, webinars, you name it on similar content at supply chain. Now radio.com and we will see you next time here.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Valeria Hernandez and Melenie York to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Melenie York’s involvement with warehousing and shipping came about from her interest and love of modern and contemporary art funny enough. In the late nineties, She joined a small art book distribution company in New York and took on the position of export sales manager as it grew internationally. Family matters brought her back to Baltimore and she began working as a Logistics Manager for an e-commerce site selling used books. From here, Melenie moved on to working with Whitehouse and Schapiro, a global supplier of secondhand products. Beginning with arranging domestic shipments via over the road carriers, she now oversees all exports and works closely with forwarders, intermodel carriers and provide customer service for our overseas customers.


Valeria Hernandez is originally from Quintana Roo, Mexico and is currently living in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She studied International trade and went to Germany to take International Management courses. She has worked as a sales agent at Vector for a year and a half, and she exports all used items from the USA to Chile. She likes new adventures, discovering different things, and she loves traveling and does it as much as she can.


Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com 

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here: https://supplychainnowradio.com/


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