1. When was Bottomless Closet NYC founded?
We were founded by volunteers in 1999 in response to an August, 1996 New York Times article that spoke about the obstacles that mothers on public assistance had seeking work, including the lack of appropriate interview clothing and the lack of self-confidence to present themselves professionally in an unfamiliar interview setting. The founders were also responding to the passage of “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act,” also known as The Welfare Reform Act, the same year which radically transformed the nation’s welfare system by imposing a time limit on federal welfare benefits further complicating women’s transition from public assistance into the workforce.
2. What is the mission of Bottomless Closet NYC?
The mission of Bottomless Closet is to help disadvantaged New York City women become self-sufficient through a comprehensive program that begins with business attire and interview preparation and continues with professional development, financial management and personal enrichment. Using the model of women helping women and our network of dedicated volunteers, Bottomless Closet enhances our clients’ self-esteem and self-confidence in order for them to enter and succeed in the workforce and improve the quality of their lives.
3. What differentiates Bottomless Closet from other non-profits that offer business attire to women in need?
Bottomless Closet is focused on providing services to women in the 5 boroughs of New York City. Bottomless Closet prides ourselves on building deep and long-lasting connections to our clients; we look at the clothing as the first step towards developing on-going relationships with the women we serve. Our goal is for women to return to Bottomless Closet to participate in professional development workshops and programming.
4. How are clients referred to the organization?
Clients are referred to Bottomless Closet by referral partner organizations once they have secured a job interview. Bottomless Closet has developed affiliations with dozens of job developers, employment training programs and nonprofit organizations across the city that provide work-readiness and skills-building training to women transitioning into the workforce.
5. How many volunteers work at Bottomless Closet?
Bottomless Closet has approximately 200-300 volunteers who provide over 12,000 hours a year volunteering their time.
6. How has the economic situation affected Bottomless Closet’s clients?
Bottomless Closet has seen unprecedented expansion and growth; the economy has taken a downturn and NYC women face new challenges in their transition to work. In the past 2 years Bottomless Closet has seen a 50% increase in clients.
7. What is Bottomless Closet’s “success rate?”
The impact of Bottomless Closet’s services on the women that we serve is remarkable. In 2012 we served close to 3,000 women in their transition to work. In order to evaluate our programming Bottomless Closet surveys every women to elicit feedback on the value, quality and scope of programming; surveys are distributed at every pre interview visit, post hire visit and all workshop seminars. Nearly every client agrees the coaching, support and guidance she receives at Bottomless Closet is a crucial piece to her success in the interview. The feedback is overwhelming:
• “finding the right suit, to fixing my resume, to learning new pointers on interviews and writing a cover letter; the employment coach who helped me was very patient and today I feel very confident to find a job, thank
• “a week after I came into Bottomless Closet for the first time I obtained a job. I really think the ‘Closet’
and all of the things I learned about interviewing and the re-do of my resume made a big difference in
how I looked and interviewed.”
In addition to surveying the women we conduct phone follow up and contact the women 3 months after their pre interview appointment. This follow up has revealed some incredible statistics…over 60% of the women who walk through Bottomless Closet’s doors have been hired, a truly inspiring statistic given the current economy. Jobs include Administrative Assistant, Bookkeeper, Case Manager, Customer Service Representative, Home Health Aide, Paralegal and Vocational Coordinator at companies including KPMG, Monroe College, Duane Reade, St Luke’s Medical Center, Yankee Stadium. Through gainful employment women are able to navigate the transition from unemployment and public assistance and to take the first steps toward self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.
8. What do your “Workshop Series” entail?
We believe it is critical to provide on-going support for our clients to achieve self-sufficiency. Therefore, we have developed an extensive series of educational workshops designed to provide practical, accessible information on a range of topics including professional development, financial management and personal enrichment. Facilitated by volunteers who are professionals in their fields, our workshops provide the opportunity for women to learn the concrete skills required to succeed professionally and personally. Our services are provided free of charge with the goal of strengthening a woman’s ability to secure and maintain employment, overcome the challenges of poverty and ultimately reach self-sufficiency. Click here to see the latest Program Curriculum.
9. Why can't I schedule a clothing pick up?
Unfortunately, because of our size we do not have the resources available to offer a pickup service.
10. What kind of donations does Bottomless Closet accept?
Bottomless Closet accepts women’s new or gently worn business appropriate clothing and accessories. This can include the following:
Handbags & Attaché Cases
Plus sizes (14 and up) are in demand and particularly appreciated. We are unable to accept undergarments, exercise clothing, jeans, tee shirts, sneakers, evening wear or used/opened cosmetics.
11. What happens with the clothes donated that are not "business appropriate?"
Bottomless Closet sorts through all donations to assess whether clothing is business appropriate and can be used for our clients. All clothing that we cannot use is picked up by other nonprofits to distribute to women in need; any clothing that is torn or soiled is recycled through a partnership with Wearable Collections.
12. Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes. Every donor will receive a thank you letter that includes information for tax purposes.
13. How do Bottomless Closet clients receive clothing?
After being referred to Bottomless Closet we schedule a session in which clients meets one-on-one with a volunteer and begins the process of preparing for her job interview. The volunteer works with the client to select one complete business-appropriate interview outfit and conducts mock interviews, practices presentation skills and reviews the resume revising it for accuracy and content as needed.
14. What are Bottomless Closet’s hours of operation? When can I drop off clothes?
Bottomless Closet has one location at 15 Penn Plaza, B Level, Suite 40 located in the Hotel Pennsylvania. Hours of operation and donation drop off hours are Monday – Thursday. Select evening hours are available to drop off donations, please call 212-563-2499 for assistance. Curbside pick-ups can only be accommodated between 11:30PM and 4:30PM.
Yes, see it here.
16. How do I know that Bottomless Closet is a socially responsible organization?
Bottomless Closet complies with all regulations as stipulated by the Internal Revenue Service for all organizations with 501 (c) 3 status. Click here to view our most recent 990.