At a glance

The Village Threads is an online-only clothing closet that provides foster families in the wider Dallas metro area with free clothes.

To list products "as new", they were using a photo box and white background which left shadows. agreed to offer a pro bono service in exchange for publicity by The Village Threads. Only a couple of months have elapsed since the two organizations started working together, but the improved quality of the images side-by-side with old posts is outstanding.

Foster children particularly enjoy the experience of shopping for their clothes and receiving a pristine package in the mail. It may be the first time they have had this neat experience.

"The Village Threads saw good results with almost every provider. What stood out was your API. It required almost nothing to add to our process and was extremely straightforward to integrate."

Tim Pilson


Dallas, Texas-based The Village Threads is the first online free clothing resource for foster families. The service, known as a “clothing closet” has been serving families in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area since 2020 and is organically expanding on a county-by-county basis throughout the state.

Tim and Kat Pilson started The Village Threads following their own experience as foster parents. They understood how much time these families could save by not having to travel to a physical location to pick up items. They also wanted to improve the experience for foster children creating more of a gift-receiving experience.

The Village Threads takes donations from anywhere before sorting through items, checking the quality, and laundering them before posting on the website for selection by families.

The challenge

The Village Threads is a completely online experience for foster parents and children. Families search through the website and “spend” an allotted amount on clothes each quarter using a special code and only paying shipping costs.

"When children come into a home, they may have nothing but the clothes on their back," says Pilson. "Foster families are immediately in need of clothing and the small amount of government funding only comes a month or a month and a half later. Not that the expenses go very far…"

To display the donated items in their best light, Pilson wanted to create the appearance of an online store, as if clothing was brand new.

"We had a photo box with a white background and the images were fine but we had shadows behind them."

Cleaning them up by hand would have taken him about half an hour an image which was not practical given the number of items donated, around 2-3,000 a year.

Meanwhile, because The Village Threads is a non-profit, it couldn’t afford to pay an editor to do the cleanup.

The work

Searching for photo processing in general, Pilson found and tested some images. He saw it had the ability to automatically do all trimming and make it look like a retail site.

A major plus would be the easy integration: the organization uses PHP to manage products via Shopify. They could just add the software to the beginning of the process.

"The Village Threads saw good results with almost every provider,” says Pilson. What stood out was your API. It required almost nothing to add into our process and was extremely straightforward to integrate."

Removing the background with would only add about 3-5 seconds per item.

Pilson got in touch with the sales team to explore the idea of a pro bono partnership.

"I reached out on a whim," he says. "I was excited but to be honest I didn’t expect a lot. However, the sales team were fantastic."

The Village Threads and agreed to a partnership of background removal in exchange for publicity and recognition on the website.

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The result

It has been just a couple of months since and The Village Threads started working together but Pilson is excited with the results.

"You can easily see the difference when you place images side-by-side," he says.

One unexpected bonus was the delight the foster children take at "buying" and receiving new clothes.

"We knew foster parents would enjoy the experience," says Pilson. "But in fact, the foster kids really took great pleasure in finding their own items. For many, it was the first time they had been shopping for themselves. It is a neat opportunity."

If there was any challenge to overcome, it was deciding how many credits would be needed since the rate of donation changes.

"We agreed to start on a certain number of credits and see where we went from there."

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