Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bridge to Success!

Le Thrift Consignment Boutique owner Christine Sanderson holds building  relationships with charities close to her heart. She is grateful for the community who supported her through the years and is honored to provide fundraising options benefitting those in need.

Le Thrift Consignment Boutique holds shopping events throughout the year with a portion of sales proceeds benefitting charities including Bridge to Success. Le Thrift also donates past season excess inventory to support the Bridge to Success' mission. Le Thrift provides a tax deductible receipt to consignors who would also like to donate clothing, jewelry and accessories to Bridge to Success.

Bridge to Success is the only workforce development bridge organization of its kind serving at-risk men, women and young adults in the Chicago metropolitan area. I sat down with Toya BaillieBridge to Success Marketing and Retail Coordinator, to learn about the Bridge to Success' mission, services, and its social enterprise boutique.

History & Mission

Susan Van Veen, Executive Director, established Bridge to Success in 2006. Susan is a full-time Rotarian and adjunct faculty member in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago. With 85% of first interview rejections based on appearance, Susan noticed a need for an organization providing workforce bridge services that included serving men.

Bridge to Success' mission is to enhance employment opportunities for at-risk, low and no-income men, women, and young adults. The organization provides interview and workplace wardrobe, personal stylist and coaching services, to build self-confidence through appearance, interview preparation and sense of belonging at the workplace.

With the goal of being a self-sustaining organization, Bridge to Success accepts corporate donations, clothing donations and operates The Bottomline Boutique. The resale boutique is a social enterprise enabling the Bridge to Success to operate without dependency on external funding. The Bottomline Boutique net proceeds provide over 50% of Bridge to Success' operating budget.


Bridge to Success works with job training programs which refer clients from Chicago and neighboring counties. Contracts are $50 per client and charged to the job training organization. Clients coming outside of a job training program are welcome and may volunteer ten hours of work to waive the $50 fee.

Bridge to Success staff includes Executive Director Susan Van Veen, Operations Manager Sara Herff, Marketing and Retail Coordinator Toya Baillie, 1-2 interns and 5-6 volunteers. The staff provides services including a mock interview and basic job training to help with first interview impressions. 

Clients meet with a personal stylist to select two outfit options: one business suit and one business casual outfit completely accessorized with appropriate jewelry, shoes, purse or tie. Clients also receive a voucher to come back to Bridge to Success indefinitely for additional interview training support. Clients receive a discount on future purchases and, with an advance phone call, a client may set additional appointments to meet with a personal stylist.

Fundraising Events

Bridge to Success holds several major events to market the organization, host shopping events and offer auction opportunities:
  • Sips for Suits - Annual cocktail and networking event
  • Designer Event - Bi-annual event showcasing select designers, drinks, food, music
  • Shop Local and Handmade Event - Pilsen, University Village and Little Italy businesses participate to sell items or donate items for raffle
  • Luncheon for Bridge to Success - Annual event showcasing sponsors and clients; Presentation to current and potential sponsors 
  • Bi-annual Sales Event
  • Seasonal Shopping Events
  • Sidewalk Sale
  • Holiday Events
Follow their Facebook page for event updates and information.

The Bottomline Boutique

The Bottomline Boutique, Bridge to Success' social enterprise, is a high-end contemporary resale boutique located at 1236 S. Halsted St. in the University Village neighborhood in Chicago. 100% of boutique proceeds supports the Bridge to Success programs.

Refinery 29 named The Bottomline Boutique as one of the "Best Resale Stores in Chicago." The boutique carries current designer and brand-name professional, casual and vintage clothing for men and woman. The boutique also carries handbags, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. 

Individuals and businesses may drop off donations to The Bottomline Boutique. Their website outlines the donation needs, guidelines, and schedule.  The boutique does not conduct donation pick-ups. Staff sorts the donated items between client wardrobe needs and the resale store. The Bridge to Success donates excess inventory or non-suitable pieces to other charitable organizations with similar missions.

The boutique is undergoing a website revamp so customers will be able to view more inventory online. The website relaunch is scheduled for January 2015 and will include a lifestyle blog for fashion tips, style inspiration and celebrity looks.

Sip, Shop, Support

The Bottomline Boutique held the Sip, Shop, Support Event on November 13th. The boutique displayed its new Fall designer and vintage collection. Luxury brands featured included Tory Burch, Trina Turk, Armani, Elie Tahari & more. Shoppers enjoyed mini-bites, champagne punch and the best in fashion at amazing prices!

Job readiness and confidence in one’s appearance allows men and women to focus on securing and keeping their jobs and advancing to higher positions. Visit Bridge to Success and The Bottomline Boutique at 1236 South Halsted Street in Chicago. For more information, you can reach them at 312.733.9742.

1821 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago IL 60622
(312) 912-9676
Chicago's top upscale consignment boutique.



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