What does the money from my purchase go to exactly?
Clothing sales allow us to support our mission to hire women who are transitioning out of homelessness. 88% of everything we bring in goes directly to this program. We are still a small company, but we’ve created an infrastructure that allows us to hire women to help them stay off of the streets permanently.
Do you only hire women?
Yes, currently we only hire women. We act as an employment partner with an organization called The Downtown Women's Center, which houses women and prepares them to return to the workforce. We strongly believe in what they do (and the spirit they do it with), and we trust that they put their women in a position to succeed with us.
What kind of work do your employees do on a daily basis?
We work to involve our employees in all aspects of the organization. Most days our ladies work on clothing production: making pockets, tracking inventory, shipping orders. When we work events, our ladies help us sell and share our story.
We tailor work routines to each person to ensure that they can have a flexible schedule. We provide opportunities to gain experience in areas of work that will be beneficial to their goals beyond just working for Povertees, such as accounting, marketing, etc.
And lastly, we provide tutoring during work hours for our ladies to advance their education in-house.
What does it mean to be a made-in-USA, wholesale clothing social enterprise?
It's a bit of a mouthful right? Wholesale clothing is essentially blank clothing that companies can buy and use for company branding. We make wholesale clothing in Los Angeles to offer an opportunity for other companies to use our clothing (that they need anyway) to support our social outreach.
A social enterprise is an organization that exists to maximize human well-being (rather than operating to strictly maximize profit). We exist to maximize the well-being of the women we are hiring as they transition out of homelessness. So when someone purchases clothing through Povertees, they support social outreach, local manufacturing, and the existence of high-quality clothing.
Is your mission strictly about employment?
Hiring women who are transitioning out of homelessness is an essential aspect of our mission, but does not quite convey our mission as a whole. For 7 years, we built relationships with people living on the streets, and in doing so we learned that belongingness was the most powerful thing we could offer someone. Our outreach has changed, but we have carried over that same idea.
Now we partner with the Downtown Women’s Center to find women who are ready to step into employment. Our employees do not simply work here, they belong here. We offer people a sense of community that eases the difficult transition out of homelessness. We help our employees with anything they may need inside and outside of work, such as help with getting permanent housing and working toward education goals.
We believe that this sense of community must extend outside of our organization to partner with others. We don’t want to be one organization working for a cause, but one of many. Social change results from the force of a growing community. That’s what we’re building.
Where do your employees work?
We all work out of our house in Los Angeles (Highland Park). We often have community meals and share time together outside of work. We believe in maintaining a professional atmosphere, but one that supports one another inside and outside of work.
What are Pocket Parties?
Pocket Parties are events that allow our community to partner with yours. We partner with all types of community groups (companies, church groups, greek life, etc.), and allow the event to run however the community group prefers. We bring an assortment of pocket choices and t-shirt/tank top options, you pick the combination you want and we sew it on the spot. You provide the community and space, and we do the rest! Check out our info video here:
Do you print custom pockets/custom orders?
We love to do custom orders, and we offer a couple different options:
1. We print you your own custom design (that you supply to us). The bigger the order is, the cheaper it will be per piece.
2. We print you custom pockets that we sew onto your choice of clothing (t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, etc.)
How can I volunteer?
We make it a priority to offer ways to get involved without having to directly donate financially (although we also need that!). We have several opportunities:
1. Volunteer Work Days
At times we have a workload we can’t quite keep up with. This is where you come in! Come over and work alongside all of us making pockets. No sewing expertise necessary!
4. Sharing Our Mission
Come help us share our story with customers at trade show booths!
How long does it take to receive my order?
All of our products are hand-sewn after the order is made. Generally, it takes about 7 days to receive your order.