From the outside, The Closet looks like a dress store with over 1,000 dresses on the floor — from girls size 6 through adult size 28. Actually, it’s #MoreThanADressStore and offers #DressesWithAPurpose!
Since 2008, A Beautiful Me (a 501c3 nonprofit) has been providing self-esteem programs with outcome-based growth for girls from grades 3-12. The sole purpose for A Beautiful Me to open a retail, brick-and-mortar store in 2019 was to provide teen girls free business training through an original, hands-on curriculum.
For the past three years, teens have logged over 1,500 hours in training through a 3-step weekly business series to build confidence, education, philanthropy and life skills.
As founder and executive director of A Beautiful Me, I noticed a gap in education to empower young females to be independent with their basic knowledge in business — ideas like setting a budget, cash flow, strategic management, operation management and communication. At The Closet, our organization just happens to use beautiful new and like-new dresses as the vehicle to educational success — along with additional benefits to women of all ages shopping in our retail store.
Women allow negative talk of themselves in a dressing room. The dressing rooms were created strategically with small 18” mirrors hung at face level to encourage shoppers to come out of the dressing rooms to the full-length, tri-fold mirror. By stepping out to see themselves in a full-length mirror, the staff at The Closet watch women stand taller and beam with self-acceptance.
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Along with the “Flash of Fashion” 60 second video series, with different everyday women modeling monthly and pushing through nervousness to build their confidence. Women empowering women — providing healing and promoting hope.
One hundred percent of all proceeds from The Closet sales go directly to our programming for girls in grades 3-12. Applications are being accepted for teen girls in grades 8-11 to register in emerge360 and participate in A Beautiful Me’s business training by texting emerge360 to (586) 623-4407. Each level is on average a commitment of 16 weeks, meeting one time per week for two hours at The Closet (located at 235 Huron Avenue, Port Huron, Michigan). Visit over1000dresses.com for more information.
Karen Palka is the founder and executive director of the Port Huron nonprofit A Beautiful Me, building self-worth & confidence through workshops, programs, and events.