BY MOLLY BRUSH
Many Bloomington residents know My Sister’s Closet as a place to find bargains on gently used women’s clothing and accessories. What some might not know is that it’s more than a resale shop—it’s also a nonprofit organization that helps women achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Founded in 1998 by local entrepreneur Sandy Keller, My Sister’s Closet partners with more than 40 social services agencies to prepare women who have faced challenges such as homelessness, domestic violence, and chronic illness to enter the workforce. Women who are referred by the agencies to My Sister’s Closet receive vouchers for professional attire from the organization’s Bargain Boutique, at 414 S. College. My Sister’s Closet staff and volunteers work closely with each woman to help her select clothing and accessories that will present a positive, confident image to prospective employers.
Voucher recipients also can participate in the My Sister’s Closet Success Institute, which offers workshops on topics such as job search strategies and interview skills. In October, the organization is launching Ready-2-Work, an intensive 12-week certification program consisting of hands-on modules in which participants will learn business skills such as sales techniques, social media marketing, and inventory management.
Since its inception, My Sister’s Closet has served more than 1,800 women through the voucher program, and 85 percent of the participants have found employment, according to Keller.
“It is possible to improve the economic circumstances of a female-headed household,” she says. “But it takes all of us working together to do so.”
SAY HEY, GOOD LOOKIN’ …
We’ve got more Charlotte, Shelli, and Alexis in these extra pictures by Jeff Richardson from our fun fashion shoot featuring clothes and accessories from My Sister’s Closet: