Local nonprofit boutiques are giving St. Louisans new reasons to shop for a cause. The shops are debuting clothing and accessories that will have you looking fashionable this summer while helping them donate much-needed dollars to area charities.
This upscale resale boutique is helping local women climb the rungs of the corporate ladder. Rung’s modern warehouse boutique atmosphere features professional women’s attire at affordable prices. In its second year, the store has added designer shoes and hats to accent its wide selection of women’s business suits and casual clothing.
To further broaden its mission, the boutique has extended hours to Monday through Saturday, and hosts weekly events such as 50 percent off suit sales on Thursdays and Happy Hour events from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays—which kicks off each week’s suit sale. “We put out a bottle of white wine and cookies, and people can come in and relax after work and shop for business suits,” says Kirsten Wylder, boutique manager.
In addition, Rung holds shopping trips for residents of Lydia’s House, a local shelter for abused women and their children. The women receive a $150 certificate to use at the boutique, Wylder notes. “We provide lunch and a private shopping excursion. It’s one of the most heartwarming events we host.”
Rung donates net proceeds to Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis in support of local charities that provide stabilization for at-risk women and children. Last year, it contributed $10,000 to the foundation.
This fine stationery and gift boutique sells custom wedding and party invitations, and other prints on designer paper hand-selected from around the world each year. The latest new products include graduation gifts, summer-themed party invitations and photo frames, says Letah Carruthers, board president. In the past 10 years, the boutique’s foundation has given more than $600,000 to local charities such as City Academy, The Women’s Safe House, Payback and Independence Center. It also supports women’s and children’s charities including Girls on the Run, Kid’s Place, Voices for Children, and Youth and Family Center.
Woman’s Exchange, which is celebrating its 129th anniversary, is unveiling new ways to help others help themselves this year. The organization continues to provide training and work for individuals through consignment at its clothing and accessories shop and tea room.
This year, more than 100 consignors are lending their artistic talents to hand-make casual and special-event children’s clothing, women’s jewelry and sweet treats to sell to the community. Seventy to 100 percent of profits benefit the consignors. “We have some consignors who contribute one item per year to supplement their income, and we have others, such as our classic cherry dress designer, who makes more than 500 dresses per year,” says Jessica Wright of Woman’s Exchange.
The organization also has added a retail women’s clothing and accessories section, which has become popular quickly, Wright says.
Woman’s Exchange has 100 board members who annually serve more than 5,000 hours.
Sign of the Arrow
The philanthropic retail needlepoint and gift shop, founded by the St. Louis Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, is offering new items and debuting a range of classes this summer.
New products this year include the organization’s 2012 limited-edition needlepoint ornament, as well as beaded belts, bracelets and handbags, says Julie Ann Filean, the boutique’s manager.
Sign of the Arrow also will host new project classes such as a children’s beginner needlepoint course and adult design-your-own-belt sessions.
The growing organization has more than 90 volunteers who contributed 21,000 hours last year. During the past 40 years, the nonprofit has awarded $3 million in grants to a variety of charities, including Kids Rock Cancer, Nurses for Newborns, Places for People, Caring and Counseling, and Safe Connections.
Other local nonprofit boutiques that give back to the community include:
St. Vincent De Paul
From four locations, the organization provides furniture, food, clothing, rent, utilities, transportation and companionship to individuals facing economic, emotional or spiritual crisis.
The Clubhouse Shop of Independence Center
The Clubhouse Shop, a furniture and apparel resale store, provides Independence Center participants with an opportunity to work in a retail setting. Independence Center is a community-based rehabilitation program for local adults with severe mental illnesses.
The organization, which has 60 locations in the bi-state area, provides employment assistance to those with disabilities or economic disadvantage to foster independence in work and daily life. Ditto facebook.com/dittostl Ditto, a clothing and home décor resale store established by seven schools in the Christian Schools Association of St. Louis, supports Christian education through tuition remission.
The Village Green
The newly opened resale and consignment store offers gently preowned home décor, fine jewelry, art, collectibles and antiques. The Village Green Academy gives local children financial assistance for early childhood education.