Client Spotlight - Smitten Apparel
by crystal wilson
Tucked away in the corner of the plaza at Grange and Victoria is a Guelph treasure. Holly Mastrogiacomo has created a community hub of impact that is spreading far outside the walls of her consignment boutique, Smitten Apparel. The shop is 9 years old, and has become a “go to” spot for many men and women in the city looking for great clothing and an outstanding customer service experience.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to have Smitten Apparel as a client, and share a bit with you about the great work they are doing for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. A few years ago, the store began taking part in an initiative called “Tampon Tuesday” and it has become wildly successful - customers are encouraged to bring in donations of feminine hygiene products on Tuesdays and in turn they receive a small discount on the day’s purchases. The products are donated to various organizations in town serving those in need. Holly has now taken that hugely successful initiative on the road! In July 2018, boxes of free menstrual hygiene products began popping up in cafes and community hubs across the city of Guelph and the project is quickly gaining traction.
With approximately 86,000 vulnerable women and girls across Ontario requiring improved access to proper menstrual hygiene products every month, this is no small issue to tackle. Motivated by a firm belief that women should never have to choose between proper nutrition and good menstrual hygiene, Holly has begun to reach out to local gathering places and community hubs to find partners for this project. Already, Second Chance Employment Services, and both the Grange and Wyndham locations of Planet Bean have taken on the project, making free feminine hygiene products available to clients, customers, and the general public.
Tidy pink boxes are kept stocked with a variety of sizes and varieties of the products, and people are invited to take what they need.
The boxes are stocked thanks to the plentiful donations that are received each week on Tampon Tuesday at Smitten Apparel, where customers at the store receive a small discount on their purchases if they bring in a donation of feminine hygiene products.
Beginning the week of August 6th, all branches of the Guelph Public Library will be making the Free Menstrual Hygiene Product boxes available for their patrons as well. Holly is very happy to have the library on board with the project, citing that, as a cooling station, and resource hotspot, the GPL is frequented by those who are in a more vulnerable sector of the population. Having the boxes in these locations means getting them products into the hands of those who need them most. The library is glad to seize this opportunity as well. Dan Atkins, Director of Operations for Guelph Public Library says, “ The Guelph Public Library is proud to participate in programs that reflect our ongoing commitment to supporting all members of the community; Tampon Tuesday is a creative initiative grounded in the very real needs of many women, and we are eager to partner.”
Holly hopes to expand the availability of the “Free Menstrual Health Product” boxes throughout Guelph, and across Ontario. Flow joins her in her hope that other businesses and organizations will recognize the great need for these products and how their ready availability can drastically improve the lives of vulnerable girls and women in our communities. If you want to get involved in this project, or donate to Tampon Tuesday, head over to Smitten Apparel and introduce yourself to Holly!