Beth McWhirter started Mission Wear in August 2006. In the spring of 2005, she had mentored a woman coming out of prostitution and addiction—Carrie. Carrie was not able to find a job for several months during their mentor relationship. When Carrie relapsed back into the street life of doing drugs and working on the street, Beth couldn’t help feeling that if Carrie had been employed, she would have made different choices.
So in early fall of 2006, when her 4 year-old twins started pre-school and she couldn’t stand the idea of using plastic bags any longer, Beth made a reusable shopping bag. It was then that she realized that making bags could be a job for women like Carrie.
It began as a small business started in her home with one employee.
Dee was 45, had been a prostitute and drug addict for 20 years, and wanted to start life over sober. She had a little work experience and was eager to get a job. “I couldn’t believe she could trust me” Dee said of that first month of work with Beth—because Dee didn’t know how to sew, Beth made the bags and Dee tye-dyed them. Dee even learned how to sew. She then went to work full-time doing food service for geriatric day care.
Since then, there have been over 60 women to come through employment with Mission Wear. There are 4-5 current employees at Mission Wear. They are working in a space in Denver metro area with 12 industrial sewing machines. All our products are made out of recycled and donated fabrics.
The women are all trying to get back on their feet after having been knocked back by some tough consequences: incarceration, addiction, homelessness, domestic abuse….
Mission Wear is a place for them to start over; feel the grounding force of employment as they begin to pick up their pieces and put everything back together.
PASSION FOR PEOPLE AND UPCYCLE
We have a passion to provide a place for women who are in recovery and need an opportunity to begin building their confidence and sometimes for the first time, a job history. We hire them because they have a past. Mission Wear is a safe place for women to re-enter the work place.
Mission Wear creates upcycled products such as reusable shopping bags for those who want to take personal action to be more environmentally conscious.
Without getting in your face, we want to help increase awareness about the importance of individuals incorporating reusable products into their daily lives; everyone can make a difference!
MISSION WEAR PRODUCTSThe Green Owl is happy to partner with Mission Wear to create beautiful custom destined products available only for our customers!