Host Jeremy C. Park talks with LeEllen Smith, Founder of OUTsideIN, a nonprofit social enterprise based in Troy, Tennessee, that exists to empower marginalized women through the creation of whimsical travel bags and meaningful employment. During the interview, LeEllen shares what led her to start the organization, how they’ve developed and grown, their impact and plans for the future, lessons learned and how everyone can help through the purchase of their products.
OUTsideIN is a 501(c)3 social enterprise that exists to empower marginalized women through the creation of whimsical travel bags and meaningful employment.
- How we started.
Our county was experiencing unemployment in excess of 11%. I wondered what it would take to create jobs to replace those lost when our country’s largest employer left.
Travel gear was not our first product line. We made items from up cycled T-shirts.
What our name signifies.
- Our workforce.
Women who have been marginalized from the mainstream workforce.
I have an empowerment success story I like to tell.
- Our products.
Our intention is to be self-sustaining and able to pay our workers a living wage through the sale of our products. Our products are strong and beautiful like the women who make them.
- Our future.
We recognize that the need for housing for women in recovery is growing and believe that we can step into the need by creating a residential program to go along with our social enterprise. We have decided on a program model to duplicate, secured a property and are developing a timeline towards launching this effort.
We love to have customers into our workshop at 107 West Westbrook Street in Troy, TN