Uncommon Threads

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My life has been a whirlwind over the past few months. I am ready to drop from exhaustion, but over the top happy. My dream has come true--I started a boutique called Uncommon Threads.  
Photos by Emily O'Brien

My background is in social work. For the past 20+ years I've been running a social service program to empower low-income families. Nine years ago, I launched a wardrobe styling business and a few years ago I started blogging. A little disjointed you might think. Social worker, wardrobe stylist and blogger----crazy combo, isn't it?
Well I found a way to make it all mesh. Uncommon Threads is a boutique style clothing program for low-income women struggling with self-esteem and self-confidence. Many of the women we help are domestic violence survivors.  Our mission is to empower and strengthen women through clothes. 

Lack of self-esteem can be debilitating--it can prevent women from reaching their full potential, from choosing positive relationships, getting jobs and promotions, and from being happy and healthy. Plus self-confident strong women make positive role models for their children! Building women up is our goal---from the outside in and the inside out. Clothes are a powerful tool to increase self-worth.

Here's how it works. Social workers refer clients to Uncommon Threads for styling sessions where the women get a little education on the messages clothes send, lots of positive reinforcement and pampering, and leave with a few outfits that make them look and feel beautiful. Our boutique has a high-end feel, but it's warm and inviting. The inventory comes from both community and business donations. We only accept new or nearly new clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. We truly want our clients to feel like they are "shopping" at a boutique, not at a hand-out program. My vision for the future is that Uncommon Threads will become a women's empowerment center-- complete with self-esteem workshops, coaching, mentoring and even internships.

I live in a kind and generous community. The outpouring of donations and offers to help has been absolutely incredible...

The owner of a local painting company heard our story and gave the boutique a total makeover. A HUGE thank you Peluso Painting and Restoration!
Uncommon Threads before
Photo by Emily O'Brien
Uncommon Threads after---a boutique is born! Peluso Painting and Restoration built us a custom shelving unit in addition to painting the space.  All materials were donated by Jackson Lumber and Millwork.

My blogger sisters cleaned their closets and sent me boxes of 
clothes and accessories. Thank you to SheShe Show, Ask Suzanne Bell, Fashion Should be Fun and You're Never Stuck.
Love these beautiful women! 
Photo by Emily O'Brien
Lynn Ritchie,  Covered Perfectly,  Cordani,  Dresscode ,  Chic Consignment and Set in Stone Custom Jewelry donated brand new clothes, jewelry and shoes for our women. Thompson FerrierJORD, Les Fleurs Rose & Dove , Artist Stephanie Mobbs Deady Green Park Studios and Beau-gant donated items for our fundraising efforts.  Bell Tower Cafe, The 99 Restaurant, Dottie's Delights, David's Catering provided food for our first event.
I have a board of the kindest and smartest women around. That's Lysanne LaPierre on the front right with the red scarf. She's my COF (Chief Operating Fashionista).
Photo by Chantal Kellerd
And the most giving volunteers.

Over the past few weeks we've raised over $5,000 on our online giving page and generated $4,000 at a recent boutique night fundraiser. Funding is essential--we have start-up expenses, operating costs and rent to pay. We launched on a zero budget!

Someone recently asked me why this program has taken off in such a big way---why in just one month we have been able to accomplish so much. We've already been featured in The Boston Globe and we have an upcoming television interview. Why is this concept so appealing?

I'll tell you why. Because women love to help other women. We feel good about offering encouragement and support. We get pleasure in celebrating each others accomplishments and successes. We like to lift each other up. And let's not forget that women love clothes! It's a win win....empowering women from the clothes in your closet!
Women can do great things together.

I want you to meet a few of our recent "spokesmodels".
Photo by Cathleen Trainor
 Say hello to the beautiful Darlene Dumas. Here is Darlene "before"...
Photo by Cathleen Trainor

Photo by Cathleen Trainor
 and "after"
Photo by Cathleen Trainor
Photo by Cathleen Trainor
Here's what Darlene had to say...
"I am a struggling single mom to an 11 year old boy with ADHD. It has been very hard to find the time to focus on myself. I want to say that working with Susan has really boosted my confidence level. She took me under her wing and made me feel "special". I have been trying for the past six months to feel good about myself. Just want to say that Uncommon Threads has really been  helpful with how I feel about myself. I hope that other women who are having a difficult time will be able to benefit from Uncommon Threads."

And meet the gorgeous Renee Osborne...
Photo by Cathleen Trainor
Photo by Cathleen Trainor

Photo by Cathleen Trainor
 And "after"
Photo by Cathleen Trainor
Photo by Cathleen Trainor

And here's what Renee had to say...
"I was not feeling really confident about both my casual and work wardrobe. My self-esteem isn't that great.  The minute I walked into Uncommon Threads, I started to feel good. Susan is amazing and doesn't stop until she gets the perfect outfit for you. She put together some great work and casual outfits. I felt so good when I left the boutique. I would recommend Uncommon Threads to any woman who wants to look and feel amazing. Thank you for making a difference in my life."
So throughout this crazy time in our country, kindness lives.
I've experienced it first-hand through Uncommon Threads.

If you would like to support Uncommon Threads, here's how you can help...

Photo by Cathleen Trainor
Kindness makes the world go-round!
XO Susan

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