Why did you start Upscale Purse?

I started this company to help women achieve their dreams, every woman I know carries a purse and I love purses so the alignment is perfect. My past work has centered mostly in nonprofit services impacting children but in the past few years, I have worked more and more with organizations focused on women’s challenges. Happy and balanced women are an important cornerstone of successful families and our communities. Many women have tremendous barriers in their way to achieve their goals and so many have become victims of cruel and inhuman acts. I decided to start a company that invests in nonprofits addressing these barriers. Because of my background in collective impact strategies, this company will work with the nonprofits who are chosen to achieve significant impact for the women they serve and they make a measurable community impact.

Why are you selling women’s purses?

I love purses. If you are going into business, you should love what you sell. Each time I’m in a department store or online, I check out the new purses to see the new styles and designs and buy a new one for each season. I think many purses are works of art. They are a fashion statement where a woman can easily show off their personality. We can change to a new purse as quickly as our mood changes. A woman just can’t have too many purses! My challenge has been, what do I do with my purses? I have talked with many of my friends and they also have purses that just sit in their closet. We designed a company that you can purchase new purses, consign your designer purses and send your old purses to us so we can fill them with supplies and give them to women our nonprofit partners serve. A company that helps women by selling purses makes a lot of sense.

How is this company different from others?

Our purpose is not only to provide an opportunity to purchase beautiful purses at excellent prices but also provide funding to support women escaping crisis situations and provide them an opportunity for hope and a fulfilling life. A portion of the sale of every purse will be distributed to select nonprofits who provide services to women. Nonprofits are screened and vetted by our company to ensure they are making a measurable impact for the clients and communities they serve.

What do you see as your biggest challenge?

I am striving to give a large percentage of funds to help women through nonprofits (at least 10 percent), provide the best value to customers and maintain an excellent customer service centered organization, and run a sustainable business. Each area is important and will need balanced time and attention.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I love knowing the work I do every day will make a difference in someone’s life. Whether it is selling an amazing purse, working with a nonprofit to see if they can qualify to become one of our partners, spending time with my family, or recharging my life, I seek to live life with joy and happiness.

Why did you work for so long in the nonprofit community?

I was raised by a family who was active at church and modeled the importance of service to others. I vividly remember my mom and dad taking food to neighbors and doing service projects. It was just part of our family life. When I graduated from college, I took a part- time job at a nonprofit working with pre-teens in a summer camp. I enjoyed working with these amazing youth and felt like I was making a positive difference every day. I decided that if I needed to work, I wanted to spend my time making the world a better place. I served in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years.

Why aren’t you still working in the nonprofit community?

There are so many nonprofits working to make a difference in the world, but there is always a lack of resources to do the work. I thought, what if a company could qualify a few excellent nonprofits through a vigorous vetting process and they could receive ongoing funding to do their work? This question became the foundation of Upscale Purse. Many companies have community giving programs but few are focused enough on their giving to make a measurable impact. Also, many companies limit the number of years they will give to a nonprofit or only want to fund new programs. This is difficult for nonprofits because instead of focusing on what is working and getting better at it, they are forced to come up with something new to keep the attention of funders. Upscale Purse will reward nonprofits for achieving measurable effective and sustainable programs that are impacting a population change in the community they serve.

What is your community investment strategy?

We invest in nonprofits who are working to help disadvantaged women in the United States of America achieve their dreams. Nonprofits are held accountable to reach measurable goals and work to continuously improve their programs. Check out our nonprofit partner page for more information.