Have you noticed lately how T-shirts for women have really made a comeback? Maybe it’s the vast assortment of fun, comfortable and beautiful cardigans that are back in style, or maybe it’s just the whole idea of layering things up for a different look. Whatever the reason may be, I’m really liking the T-shirt trend!
Especially when you can have these gorgeous Tees from Elegantees – there’s nothing quite like them out there! The fabric is so soft and smooth, talk about the ultimate in comfort!
But there’s more behind the beautiful face of Elegantees – much more! For written across the heart of the whole organization is the opportunity and the call to Rescue and bring Restoration.
I had such a blessed opportunity to interview the founder founder, Katie Martinez, on just what and who Elegantees exists for. I think you’re going to love this!
1. What started the passion of helping women through this business?
It started through my own story. I felt misunderstood most of my childhood, and all I wanted was acceptance. When I moved to NYC from Iowa at age 18, I faced many challenges in the big city. My vulnerability trapped me into an unhealthy relationship. I would say those were the most dark and wicked days of my life.
My story wasn’t giving into a pimp’s control, but there are many similarities to women who have. It’s the reason I have compassion for women in sex trafficking, particularly the ones with great psychological damage. Today, when I see the vulnerability of young girls that get lured into sex trafficking, their vulnerability is a reflection of the young Katie. Trafficking never happened to me, but it could have. Bringing elegantees as a way to restore women is the least I can do.
Through mutual friends, I was introduced to Jimmy Lee, the Executive Director of Restore NYC. I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome the work is that Restore does to provide housing and various services to survivors right here in New York City. I wondered if it would be possible to teach their residents to sew and work for Elegantees. Jimmy loved the idea, and it turned into a strategic partnership for a job skills and employment link.
3. How many women do you currently employ?
Six women. There are four women in Nepal, and two in the New York City area. There are additional that we teach sewing classes to in a safe house in NYC.
4. What is the greatest obstacle that you have had to overcome?
Learning how to really help these women. Sometimes they don’t realize you’re for them long-term, so building trust and keeping them motivated is our biggest challenge.
We learned through trial and error. We could have made bigger mistakes, but thankfully Restore NYC has been amazing in mentoring us in working with a sensitive situation like this.
5. What is the greatest joy you have experienced in this journey?
For a series of weeks I taught “Hannah” how to use the sewing machine. Once a week I’d visit her and see her smile and eagerness to learn. I’ll never forget the first time she leaped to sit at the machine. She stepped on that “pedal” so quickly and pretended she was driving a car!
Every week she would improve and we eventually slowed down her “lead foot” issue. When we finished making an entire design from start to finish, over a series of weeks, she gave me a heartfelt hug and patted her heart to express her gratitude.
We go into this not expecting anything in return, so it’s always an encouraging surprise when we are told we’re appreciated.
6. What would you say to encourage others to change the way they view shopping in such a way as to give their money power in the purchases they make?
Elegantees stands today because of shoppers, and we use every sale to create a sewing job. Sewing jobs provide a sense of accomplishment, independence, and a way for survivors take control of their life again.
I cannot think of much more that you could ask for in Elegantees – beautiful, quality products, bringing opportunities for employment, a new life, and even more importantly, restoration. It’s a beautiful story that you can be a big part of!
Take a peek at some of these shirts from Elegantees – it was so hard to choose just a couple! Between T-shirts, tanks, long sleeve, dresses and accessories, Elegantees has all the basics of beautiful, handmade pieces covered.
The Jeannette t shirt offers a very flattering cut sleeve – not too tight and not too baggy, it seems to fit just right for nearly any arm type! The pocket flap on the front of the shirt really adds a sense of fashion and fun. Plus the teal colour is just so happy and playful! It also comes in a creamy white and chartreuse.
My absolute favourite is shirt The Evelyn – it’s a loose fitting, yet fitted Tee for the best comfortable fit, with a fun camo detailed zipper on the back. Love it!
A close runner-up is The Whitney – I think my favourite colour is definitely blue, it’s just such a cheerful, easy to go with anything colour (yes, blue is totally the new black :D). Anyway, back to the Whitney – she’s sophisticated enough to dress up or wear business casual and comfortable enough to hang out in at home.
If long sleeves are more your thing, The Bridgette is very elegant, with cuffed sleeves and a light flow in the arm. The body of the shirt is fitted, but not tight. It’s gorgeous!
On top of being gorgeous, these shirts really wash and wear very well (believe me, they’ve been well-tested :D). Holding up under hard and long-term wear is incredibly important for this active mom. Between flour from baking, sauce from supper, children, crafts and the general messiness of life, these shirts hold up under a lot of pressure!
Go check out all the other products available from Elegantees – I think they would make great Christmas presents!
What’s your favourite Elegantees item? I’m really loving this t-shirt dress.….thinking it might be next on the wish list ;0)
A homeschooled student turned homeschooling mom of 5. Passionate about teaching my children the truth of God's word through his creation and his-tory, spending time as a family and outdoors, learning how to be more creative, and giving glory to God. Seeking to serve Christ and set a godly example for my children, to grow in love and encouragement, failing forward, learning to lean on God's grace and trust in his strength.