Low-cost, high-end clothes for a great cause. Three reasons you need to get to Hope’s Closet in Weymouth ASAP.
My trip to Hope’s Closet in Jackson Square, Weymouth started out innocently enough. I wanted to meet the woman who came up with the innovative idea of a non-profit re-sale clothing boutique for women that gives back to the community in two ways. Not only does owner Cheryl Morris help women on tight budgets buy beautiful high-end, gently-used clothing at prices they can afford (hence low-cost, high-end clothes), but virtually every penny she makes from her store goes to charity. One of them is Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore.
My visit was designed to get a little more background on why Cheryl started the store and how she’s doing as she marks its first anniversary. (More on that below.) But what I discovered was much more. In meeting Cheryl Morris and her volunteer “merchandise manager” Leslie Robertson, I found two remarkable women with huge hearts, smart business sense, and a deep commitment to helping others.
Cheryl’s formula for Low Cost, High End Clothes
- Offer carefully chosen, gently-used women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses and other accessories from top names like J Jill, Talbots, White House/Black Market, and Ann Taylor.
- Price every item to make it affordable to women on tight budgets. Shirts, blouses, skirts, and pants typically sell for $3.95 to $6.95. Designer suits are about $20. I saw a Talbot’s raincoat for $15 (with the tag still attached!); a stunning mother of the bride dress for under $25.
- Donate the proceeds to charity. The two main charities Hope’s Closet supports are Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore and Mercy Ships. Each month, Cheryl also picks a third charity and contributes a portion of the proceeds to them as well. Last November, it was Operation Delta Dog, honoring veterans. She’s also given to DOVE, Inc., Weymouth Food Pantry, and Rosie’s Place.
I also discovered (and purchased for a mere $13.95!) a terrific Ann Taylor outfit that I will wear to a client meeting next week.
The idea for this unique fashion boutique took hold nearly 5 years ago as Cheryl was looking for a way to give back to the community. She decided to collect donations of fashionable, high-end, gently-used women’s clothing, and then offer them at unheard of low prices to women on tight budgets – and intrepid bargain shoppers. Over the next 4 years, Cheryl has used her exceptional energy and passion about her cause to obtain free store fixtures, take the necessary steps to become a 503(c) charitable organization, and establish a support network in the local community. You can read more about Cheryl’s mission and her store’s namesake (Hope) on her website at HopesClosetBoutique.org.
Next on Cheryl’s ambitious agenda:
- A booth at the Weymouth Farmer’s Market so she can get the word out to prospective shoppers.
- Possibly hosting a series of evening seminars at the store with Dress for Success experts who can help women learn what it takes to land a job beyond great clothes, including resume writing and interview skills.
- Finding more volunteers like Leslie to help manage the clothing donations and cover store hours.
- Bringing more people through the stop’s door.
That last item is important, Cheryl says, because business is beginning to pick up after the exceptionally tough winter slowed customer visits to a mere trickle. But the best sign of all, says Leslie, is that people are returning to check in on what is new. “Now when I ask, ‘Have you been here before?’ the answer is likely to be ‘Yes’.”
Hope’s Closet Boutique is located at 810 Broad Street in Weymouth, Mass.
Summer hours are:
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — 11 am to 4 pm
Friday – 11 to 6
Saturday – 10 to 4
The store is closed Sunday and Monday.
Tell Us Your Thoughts?
Have you been to Hope’s Closet? We would love to hear about your experience below by leaving a reply or going to our Facebook or Google+ pages.