So tell us a little bit about Sharp Dressed Man.
Sharp Dressed Man is a 501(c)-3 non-profit originating in Baltimore, MD (we’ve opened a location in Los Angeles, CA as well). We collect lightly-worn men’s dress clothes and give them to guys getting back up on their feet. The men we help with our program are currently enrolled in a job-readiment program elsewhere and referred to us by over 30 partnering organizations.
What you’re doing is awesome. How did this organization come to be?
This organization was founded for a few reasons. In short, a client of ours at Christopher Schafer Clothier handed Chris bags of his suits after replacing them and wanted us to find a way to donate them. By partnering with another Baltimore organization, we were able to find clients to give the suits to. Since that day, we have partnered with more organizations and suited thousands of men looking to turn their lives around.
You’re obviously passionate about suits and looking sharp. Why is that important to you?
Long story short, there are times in one’s life when things get turned around, and you can end up taking the wrong path. Nearly everyone who volunteers with us has had some sort of experience with this, whether first-hand or a family member or friend. We bring out the confidence that's buried within to have men realize their own potential. Our goal at Sharp Dressed Man is to give men the confidence (that comes with getting suited up) to change their lives for the better.
What types of success stories have you heard from the men you’ve helped?
One of our greatest success stories comes from someone who is volunteering with us now. He was in prison for 40 years and upon getting out, came to see us through a partnership with Goodwill. He finished a job-readiment program, got a suit from us and has been employed at Johns Hopkins ever since. Now he volunteers with us every other week to give the same experience to others!
It looks like you get a ton of volunteers! What type of opportunities are there for folks to get involved?
We’ve recently expanded our list of opportunities for ways people can get involved:
1) Donate Time: every Tuesday at 5 p.m., we open our doors for volunteers to help sort and size clothing. This makes our Suiting Days on Wednesdays from noon-2 p.m. run a little more smoothly!
2) Donate Clothing: we accept all LIGHTLY worn men’s dress clothes to help keep our closet stocked. We are always accepting donations of any size as long as they are in good condition.
3) Donate Skills: if you have a passion for photography or videography, we are always welcoming friendly faces who can donate a skill like this. We love showcasing the way others see our organization!
4) Donate Money: we have a website where we provide email-response tax receipts for all monetary donations. We have overhead for running two shops, in addition to printing promotional material to pass out everywhere we go. With expanding to both coasts, our goal is to double the size of the men we’ve helped in the past! Any way someone can help is welcomed with open arms!
We love that you use our boards to show the progress of how many men you’ve dressed. Where do you hope to be by year’s end?
We have a year's end goal of 3,000. That’s 1,000 more than the goal last year that we beat by nearly 200 guys!
If you or someone you know has a story you would like to have featured, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.