The mission of Bags To Butterflies, L3C is to help reduce recidivism within our community by providing female returning citizens with transitional employment and training as well as connecting them with resources, support and a caring network that will help empower them to redefine their life's purpose.
Bags To Butterflies was founded by Michelle Smart in 2015. We are a Detroit-based social enterprise that reaches out to women re-entering the community from prison. Our primary mission is to provide female returning citizens employment and training opportunities to help reduce and or eliminate their recidivism.
The concept of empowering women returning home from prison began in 2014. The founder was devastated when the daughter of a close friend was incarcerated. As a result, Bags To Butterflies became the impetus for offering female returning citizens resources to help them better their lives after returning home from prison.
To support our mission the founder designed and marketed a collection of handbags. The handbag collections function as a reminder to the women to “let go” of their past, “live life” with a sense of purpose, and “fly” towards their dreams.
Since inception, Bags To Butterflies’ outreach efforts have included volunteer and network opportunities as the first phase of available supportive services for women returning home from prison. In addition to providing female returning citizens with an opportunity to gain work experience and community service hours, volunteering gives them a chance to give back to the community by supporting worthy causes. Some of which includes The Pink Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to women with breast cancer. In 2016, as part of our giving initiatives, we donated 20 percent of the proceeds from the sale of specific designed handbags to The Pink Fund in support of their efforts. An integral part of our mission involves “people giving to people, so they can give to other”.
Moving forward, we will take an innovative approach to include the community, private businesses, and government resources to enhance the women's opportunities for success. To accomplish our mission, we will use a practical women’s accessory: a handbag. The Handbag Project will focus on empowerment. We will apply and encourage their artistic talents from the design concepts to production of Bags To Butterflies handbags. At Bags To Butterflies, we are channeling female returninig citizen's unrealized expectations into expected accomplishments.
Bags To Butterflies is a consumer-connected, lifestyle brand, and change agent that encourage women to take control of their lives.