50 women voting on how we spend $100,000





Launching Equipped Women Into The Marketplace


RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 22, 2021 — Designed For Joy (DFJ) sees opportunities for positive change and the beautiful potential from within to overcome significant life challenges. As a result, DFJ is excited to announce they are the recipients of a $1,500 See Beautiful Grant, www.seebeautiful.com, to help fund the DFJ Triangle Impact Tote program. See Beautiful™ is a philanthropic company with a mission to provide inspiring, ethically-sourced products to create more beautiful in the world. The Triangle Impact Tote program is a unique collaboration aimed at helping truly vulnerable women.


Program Creates Sustainability and Stability

"This $1,500 grant allows nine homeless women to earn a solid paycheck through our new day-work initiative, The Triangle Impact Tote Program," explained DFJ Founder and Executive Director, Cary Heise. The day-work program is a chance to reach women unable to hold down a traditional job. The participants are women currently experiencing homelessness and often facing mental illness.  The women are referred to DFJ by a partner day-resource center for homeless women. These are women most people are uncomfortable giving a second chance to in the workplace. "Where many people may only see a woman just released from prison with a broken background, or a homeless woman on the corner carrying a cardboard sign, a single mom with four kids trying to survive poverty, or a woman who escaped sex trafficking—we see potential. We see beautiful," said Heise.


Self-Sustaining Program

The program is more than just producing a pretty tote bag. The women learn how to sew and assemble unique, one of a kind tote bags using recycled fabric donated by The Scrap Exchange, which repurposes material destined for the landfill. They receive encouragement in a safe environment, along with a warm meal. They are also paid a living wage paycheck at the end of the day, earning $15.00 per hour ($90 for the day). 


The beautiful bags created are sold in the DFJ boutique store and website. In turn, funds from these sales are used to support the next group of women through the Triangle Impact Tote program. It creates ongoing opportunities for underprivileged women to create a beautiful bag while earning a dignified, living wage paycheck. 


Safe Place Where All Are Welcome

Whether clients live on the streets or in hostile situations, Designed For Joy offers a safe working environment and a place for personal growth. "We offer trauma and conflict management training to all of our clients, staff, and volunteers to promote a safe community," commented Heise. She discussed how one client recently escaped sex trafficking only to have her pimp outside of the studio looking for her. DFJ provided a safe refuge for her and a path to a new chapter in her life. "To make it easier and safer for our women to get to work, we recently moved our studio to a building directly across the street from a homeless shelter that we partner with. We're also located right beside the bus station," said Heise.


Designed For Joy believes in diversity and inclusion and welcomes all women regardless of race, background, gender identity, or religion. DFJ serves women coming out of sex trafficking, generational poverty, homelessness, rehabilitation, prison, and emergency situations, with 100% of clients living below the poverty line. The women range in ages from 20 to 70. The majority are mothers, and most are single mothers. In addition, 68% are from under-represented minority groups. Over half are homeless or living in a women's shelter. 



Over their young, four-year history, Designed For Joy has hired over 66 women and just reached the milestone of paying over $140,000 in living wages. “Since most of our clients are single mothers providing for children, these paychecks reach hundreds more than just our clients,” said Heise.



About Designed For Joy

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. 


The women who create our brand with us are those living at high risk for sex and labor trafficking and/or food and housing insecurities. We partner with long-running ministries or local NGOs serving women that may be coming out of trafficking, emergency situations, generational poverty, homelessness, rehab, or prison. We believe in a community approach. We provide the vocational resource component in this holistic care approach while our professional partners do what they do best.


Support the next day-work workshop. Contact us at learnmore@designedforjoy.com.