One of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Nashville is the Nation. New homes are emerging constantly and everywhere you turn there is a new construction. This neighborhood is also a booming business district. One of the successful businesses in the Nation is a shop named Fashionable. This boutique is not just making profit, it changing people’s lives.
Fashionable may look like any other retail shop at the first sight, but hearing the story behind it will definitely change your opinion.
The founder and CEO of the Fashionable, Barrett Ward said “This is our Joslyn sandal. It’s named after one of the women in Peru we work with.” That is the moment when your perspective on the exclusive boutique changes. Whole concept of Fashionable was created by Ward and his wife, who is a social worker, while they were living in Etiopia.
That’s when your perspective on the chic boutique changes. The concept behind Fashionable was created by Ward when he was living in Ethiopia with his wife, who is a social worker. In Etiopia the couple saw the heartbreaking reality first-hand.
“We started seeing young girls and young women waiving to us on the street and we didn’t know why. Eventually we found out they were soliciting sex,” says Ward.
He said: “The bottom line, really why we started Fashionable, was we were working with women who came out of the commercial sex industry.”
Desire to help others just grew when Ward moved with his family to Nashville
“We kept hearing from them. We love the rehabilitation, we appreciate the charity, but at the end of the day when we finish this process, we still don’t have a job, we still don’t have a skill on the other side. So I said I wanted to get active in the solution-side not the Band-Aid side, but the long-term solutions to poverty,” says Ward.
They figured that solution is a job and started Fashionable.
long-term solution is a job, and that’s where Fashionable comes in.
Ward explained “How we start the process with women is we visit the places where they come from like Hope Center, Magdalen Center, and we do crafts with them, like jewelry, and if we see women who are attracted to that we tell them there is an opportunity for them.”
In Fashionable everything is made by hands of women who have overcome their struggles. They make jewelry, bags, clothes and they are planning on starting denim. All women go through training before they start working in the shop.
Barbara Pitts, one oh those women said “I primarily do soldering but a little bit of everything.” She had never dreamed of doing this.
“I struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for many years until it got to the point it took everything I had away from me, including my daughter,” says Pitts. “I lost custody of my daughter. I just knew at that point something had to change.”
She went through the program at the Nashville Rescue Mission. She got he daughter back, and after that she needed a job.
“It’s also really hard also to find a job when you have different convictions. People look at your past and judge you but Fashionable doesn’t do that,” she says.
She is now able to earn money and take care of her family.
“It really is ashes to beauty. You turn out this beautiful piece of jewelry.”