"I’m not just selling clothes here. I’m impacting my community, empowering women, and building women’s confidence on a daily basis.” - Breonna Bell, Lead Store Associate & Trainer
Earlier this month, Katie Bain of Racked.com came by MADE by DWC Resale Boutique and interviewed staff and participants. In this piece, MADE by DWC staff, Andy Motz, Breonna Bell, and DWC participant Brenda show how donating clothing is more than economically beneficial: it can be life-changing. Read the full article here.
Last week, MADE by DWC (MADE), the Downtown Women’s Center’s (DWC) social enterprise program, teamed up with The Little Market to participate in a commercial shoot for the CNN Airport Network!
The commercial will focus on retail trends in fair trade shopping and highlight several fair trade products across Los Angeles. Penney, Monique, and Dana, all MADE program participants, will be among the featured artists, hard at work on MADE’s hand-poured soaps.
The feature will showcase the soap MADE produces for The Little Market, one of MADE’s primary wholesale partners since 2014. The retailer sells the all-natural soaps in a variety of scents, and has been working with MADE staff to develop a new scent, to be released later this year.
A CNN reporter and cameraman, plus two Little Market representatives visited us at MADE to get the inside scoop on how our soaps are created and visually capture each step of the soap making process. Penney showed us how to melt down and mix the ingredients and shared her secrets for pouring liquid soap into soap molds without creating bubbles.
Later, Dana and Monique provided a flawless demonstration of how to wrap the finished product in The Little Market’s packaging.
“I have great attention to detail,” Dana explained. “That helps me package the soaps in a way that looks nice.”
Penney, Monique, and Dana also shared how they became involved with MADE. As women with lived homelessness experience, each has her unique reasons for participating in the social enterprise workforce development program, and all are working toward different goals. Penney enjoys honing her artistic skills and hopes to sell her own products one day, while Dana is working toward an accounting degree and wants to work as a tax preparer.
For Monique, it’s about helping other women who may be going through something similar to what she went through.
“MADE by DWC is an experience I will treasure as long as I am here on this earth,” she shared recently. “I can make something to change someone’s life, as well as mine.”
We were thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase the work these incredible women do every day. The commercial will air later this spring on airport TVs around the country and will be featured on both CNN.com and YouTube. Be sure to check our website and Facebook pages @DWCWeb and @MADEbyDWChandMADE for updates!
With only a few weeks left of Women's History Month, join us as we celebrate women who empower and support other women.
"I've seen her go from homelessness to a home."
So says DWC resident Rachel C. (above left) of her friend and fellow enrichment workshop participantMagdalena T. (above right). In DWC's workshops, the two women talk and laugh together, having known each other for six years after meeting in a Skid Row shelter in 2010.
The pair began to participate in the Education & Enrichment programs at DWC and formed a fast friendship, encouraging each other as they learned to crochet and knit, and later learned to make candles, soaps, and jewelry.
"She's such an amazing woman," Magdalena says about Rachel. "Creativity helped me learn patience, and in the workshops I've seen Rachel becoming more patient, too. That's empowering."
"I can sit and watch her make ornaments for hours," Rachel adds.
Since their first visit to DWC, both women have since been housed with us. Today, as two of our most experienced workshop participants, Magdalena and Rachel help empower other women in workshops to develop new skills, build self-esteem, and thrive in our community.
Longtime MADE by DWC volunteer Bess Byers recently left LA to embark on a new business venture in her native Washington state. But before she hit the road, we chatted with her about the volunteer experience at the Downtown Women’s Center.
Following the popular success of its crafting-builds-community-themed exhibit at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Miracle Mile, Yarn Bombing Los Angeles (YBLA) connected with the Downtown Women’s Center.
Dena Younkin of Los Angeles based Downtown Women's Center's "Made by DWC" was given an international exchange fellowship grant through the LA Department of Cultural Affairs, to visit the UK and research and collaborate with similarly mandated service organizations and social enterprises.