50 women voting on how we spend $100,000

Designed For Joy is Moving to Gateway Plaza in Raleigh

Oh how we've loved our sweet studio downtown Raleigh in the Boylan Heights neighborhood. It was humble beginnings but also a big leap of faith. As we approach our second year business anniversary we find ourselves needing more space.

If you've been in the studio recently, you've seen the new work tables and a commercial sewing machine and extra displays with new product like gorgeous large leather totes! At this point one must ask a friend to move over to grab a La Croix out of the frig or to get back to the cash wrap desk.

Kidding aside, we need more space!

Our new location will allow for a seperate retail shop, a defined production area for our artisans, and an office for meetings and ministry. Our hearts JUMP FOR JOY thinking about being able to have a meeting with volunteers or interns while our artisans are creating and being able to invite shoppers in- all at the same time! This is a perfect community space for us.

The lease has been signed however the offical move in date for September is to be determined. (Join us in praying for earlier than later to ensure workshop hours for artisans.) Our new home, Gateway Plaza, is on Crabtree Blvd. near The Green Chair Project and the Greyhound Bus Station. Some of our artisans live at the Salvation Army shelter there on Capitol Blvd., so that's one less bus ride for everyone!

We know your next question is, "How can I help?"

We'd love to hear creative ways you'd like to help and here is a list of immediate needs and ways to be a part of our growth...

  • If you have yet to visit us in our Boylan Heights studio, come see us! August 2 is our last First Friday Raleigh at 1104 West Cabarrus. We'll be open 6-9pm. Easy street parking. Regular shopping hours are 10-2 Fridays and Saturday through August 24th. 


  • We'll need help moving to storage while in between homes.
    August 27-30 we could use some muscle. Times to be determined. Please email Jena Gallo, our volunteer coordinator, that you are willing to help in this way. Email Jena here.

  • Give a general donation.
    To date we have hired 29 women and given over 3,000 living wage hours. Your financial support keeps our focus on preparing women for the job market by giving them a transitional work experience to build confidence and refresh their resumes. Thank you!

Donate here.


  • Amazon Wish List
    You furnished our first studio with chairs for artisans and showered us with tools and toiletries. We'll be needing more of those things!

Please know that Amazon doesn't make it easy to find out who gave what. If you'd like to give us a heads up on a delivery coming so we can properly thank you, please email Kristen Sydow here.


Today we celebrate our ministry's growth because of amazing community support - YOU.

We have so much more to share about the new location. Stay close and add your name to our email list for all updates. Add your email address here.

Serving joyfully,
Cary Heise
Founder and Director of DFJ


Designed For Joy is a transitional work experience for women coming from trafficking, homelessness, time in prison, overcoming addiction or other vulnerable situations. We provide living wage work hours while building confidence and refreshing resumes. We are launching equipped women into the marketplace.

Registered 501c3