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Charity of the Month | Suiting & Style Academy

by Sica Schmitz | Posted on June 01 2017

Each month we give back a portion of every purchase to a different cause or charity that is bettering the world, and this month we have chosen a charity that is very close to our hearts.

On July 1st we are hosting our 5th quarterly Suiting & Style Academy in partnership with the Downtown Women's Center. The Suiting & Style Academy helps create wardrobes for vulnerable women who are transitioning from homelessness back into the workforce. The DWC does a wonderful job of providing the resources and training to be prepared for new careers, however, while many of the women may acquire the skills and cover letters they need to get their new job, they may not always have the right outfit.

I often talk about the importance of the stories we tell with our clothing, and when it comes to interviews first impressions are especially important. Getting a job is already competitive, and not all women overcoming hardship have the right suit or dress shoes to put their best foot forward. We each only get seven seconds to make a first impression, and we want to make sure each woman is given the opportunity to make her very best first impression.

Downtown Women's Center Homelessness Statistics


The first step of the Suiting & Style Academy is our Clothing Drive. We collect clean, gently used professional clothing, shoes, bags, bras, and jewelry both locally and also from our customers and supporters around the country. We welcome all styles and sizes but are especially in need of trousers, plus size clothing, and shoe sizes 9, 10, 11, and 12. Bras and new underwear are also two dignity items we will always gladly accept.

If you have something to donate you can mail it to:

Bead & Reel
2684 Lacy Street Suite 206
Los Angeles, CA 90031

We also receive support from sustainable business sponsors, like BGreen which donates underwear sizes S - XL each quarter or Elizabeth Suzann which most recently donated entire hand-picked outfits to each woman. If you're interested in donating any of your products or becoming a corporate sponsor, you can contact us at


Downtown Women's Center Needs Assessment

We are given information on each woman who is in the course: her sizes, her color preferences, and her personal style. We try to accommodate her based on what we receive, and anything we can't use this quarter will be responsibly donated, recycled, or stored until the next one. 

Downtown Women's Center Needs Assessment Domestic Violence

The Suiting & Style Academy is a half day class during the rest of the Downtown Women Center's 12 week Set-To-Work course. I have a wonderful group of volunteers who help out each time including a seamstress (to do alterations and make sure each piece fits perfectly), a photographer (to capture portraits of any woman who wants a professional photo of herself), and generous friends and family who help me with set up and styling. 

And this course isn't just to hand over clothing - it's to teach each woman how to dress to look and feel her best. We offer style advice, personalized tips, and make sure each woman leaves with at least 3 outfits that give her confidence in her next career steps. 

Downtown Women's Center Needs Assessment Community Resources

Bead & Reel was created to help women tell their best story about themselves through what they wear, whether it's our customers or the most vulnerable in our community.

How you can get involved:

  • Donate your clean, gently-used professional clothing at a drop-off event or by mail
  • Donate money directly to the Downtown Women's Center
  • Become a corporate sponsor by donating product
  • Volunteer to help at the Suiting & Style Academy
  • Shop at Bead & Reel all month to have 3% of your purchase give back to the Suiting & Style Academy




  • Viola Raw Woolcott (RAW PASSION): June 12, 2017

    I knew there were housing issues, but I didn’t realise that there are so many women in shelters.

  • Wendy Brimmer Patterson: June 05, 2017

    What a awesome charity! ??

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