In August of 1996, the New York Times published an article about the obstacles that mothers on public assistance faced when seeking work, including the lack of appropriate interview clothing and the lack of self-confidence to present themselves professionally in an unfamiliar interview setting.
Around the same time, The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act – also known as The Welfare Reform Act – passed, radically transforming the nation’s welfare system by imposing a time limit on federal welfare benefits, further complicating women’s transition from public assistance into the workforce.
The founders of Bottomless Closet were watching, and they immediately identified a critical need and took action. Embodying the concept of “women helping women,” they set out to create a welcoming and uplifting place where women in need could receive the tools and resources they needed.
In 1999, Bottomless Closet became a reality.
Since its inception 20 years ago, Bottomless Closet has worked to be the connection that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success.
What is the mission of Bottomless Closet NYC?
The mission of Bottomless Closet is to be the connection that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and achieve success.
What differentiates Bottomless Closet from other nonprofits that offer business attire to women in need?
Bottomless Closet is focused on providing services to women in the five boroughs of New York City. Bottomless Closet prides ourselves on building deep and long-lasting connections to our clients; we look at the clothing as the first step towards developing ongoing relationships with the women we serve.
How are clients referred to the organization?
Clients are referred to Bottomless Closet by referral partner organizations once they have secured a job interview. Bottomless Closet has developed affiliations with dozens of job developers, employment training programs and nonprofit organizations across the city that provide work-readiness and skill-building training to women transitioning into the workforce.
How many volunteers work at Bottomless Closet?
Bottomless Closet has approximately 200-300 active volunteers who provide over 14,000 hours a year volunteering their time.
What is Bottomless Closet’s “success rate?”
The impact of Bottomless Closet’s services on the women that we serve is remarkable. In 2018, we had more than 4,200 client interactions and helped more than 2,700 unique clients. To make sure we’re measuring our progress and meeting the needs of the women we serve, we regularly conduct surveys so we can assess our impact. In a recent survey of clients, 59% off respondents indicated that they were hired for the job which they interviewed for immediately following their Bottomless Closet appointment. Of the 41% who did not get that job, 50% got another job. At the time of the survey, 56% of those who responded were working — 55% had been working for three months or less, 40% had been working between three months and one year, and 5% had been working for longer than one year.
What do your workshops entail?
Bottomless Closet offers educational workshops to address the challenges associated with searching for employment, entering the workforce and balancing the demands of work and home. Bottomless Closet offers educational programming that is grouped into three areas: Professional Development, Financial Management and Personal Enrichment. For more information on our workshops, click here.
Why can’t I schedule a clothing pick up?
Unfortunately, because of our size we do not have the resources available to offer a pickup service.
What kind of donations does Bottomless Closet accept?
Bottomless Closet accepts women’s new or gently worn business appropriate clothing and accessories, including the following: business suits, blouses, scarves, handbags, jackets, pants, skirts, sweaters, melts, unopened hosiery, shoes, jewelry, and new cosmetics. Plus-size items (sizes 14 and up) are in high demand. We are unable to accept undergarments, exercise clothing, jeans, tee shirts, sneakers, eveningwear, used/opened cosmetics, and home goods.
What happens with the clothes donated that are not “business appropriate?”
Bottomless Closet sorts through all donations to assess whether clothing is business appropriate and can be used for our clients. All clothing that we cannot use is picked up by other nonprofits to distribute to women in need; any clothing that is torn or soiled is donated to other nonprofits.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. Every donor will receive a thank you letter that includes information for tax purposes.
How do Bottomless Closet clients receive clothing?
After being referred to Bottomless Closet we schedule a session in which clients meets one-on-one with a volunteer and begins the process of preparing for her job interview. The volunteer works with the client to select one complete business-appropriate interview outfit and conducts mock interviews, practices presentation skills and reviews the resume, revising it for accuracy and content as needed.
What are Bottomless Closet’s hours of operation? When can I drop off clothes?
Monday — Thursday
9 AM to 5:30 PM and select Fridays 9 AM to 3 PM
Tel: (212) 563-2499 Fax: (646) 355-0176
Donations can be dropped off at the Bottomless Closet offices, located at:
16 East 52nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10022
How do I know that Bottomless Closet is a socially responsible organization?
Bottomless Closet complies with all regulations as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Service for all organizations with 501(c)(3) status. Bottomless Closet upholds the highest standards, fiscally as well as with regard to governance. Bottomless Closet holds an Accredited Charity Seal status from the Better Business Bureau and the GuideStar Exchange Gold Seal, the highest level awarded. Click here to view our most recent 990.
How do corporations become featured partners?
For more information on our corporate partnerships, please contact Melissa Norden.