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Uncommon Threads

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For years it has been my dream to start a boutique for struggling women, using clothes as a tool for boosting self-esteem and self-worth. A few months ago, my dream came true. Uncommon Threads was born.

It all happened gradually, then quickly. For years, I’ve collected clothing donations to give to my social work clients who are low-income, single moms. It started with a few racks, then the clothes literally took over my office. Before I knew it, the word had spread and  social service agencies started contacting me when their clients were in need of clothes. It became clear I needed to start a nonprofit.

With the help of my amazing community and fiscal partner (Family Services of the Merrimack Valley), last month I launched Uncommon Threads. In just a few short weeks, we moved into a beautiful space–in an old Lawrence, MA mill building–built a team of incredible volunteers and gathered a collection of gorgeous clothes, shoes and accessories. It seemed that once I made a conscious decision to start this program, everything fell into place. My head is spinning, but in a very good way! Isn’t this what’s supposed to happen when you follow your passion?


Uncommon Threads is not your average clothing program. Here’s how it works.

Clients are social worker referred by our partner agencies that work with domestic violence survivors and/or women in need who can benefit from our services. They receive a private wardrobe session at the boutique with  a volunteer “stylist”–mainly me for a while–where they’ll learn about their best styles and colors, the messages clothes send (both internally and externally), and they’ll receive a few complete outfits they feel beautiful in. We carry everything from jeans to workwear–even special occasion dresses. We ask for a $10 donation, but if someone doesn’t have the means to pay, the fee is waived.

Our goal is for every woman to walk out of Uncommon Threads with a new look, a boost of self-confidence and feeling pampered and cared for.


Our inventory comes from the most generous people including community members and clothing companies. I even reached out to my amazing “sister bloggers” for donations and received boxes of fabulous pieces right from their closets!  Women helping women…that’s what we love to do.


I have great plans for this program. My vision is that it morphs into a “women’s empowerment center” with the addition of self-esteem workshops, make-up, hair styling, mentoring and coaching. But for now, my focus is on raising enough money to fund Uncommon Threads. We are seeking donations (giving page here) and business sponsors who would like to support the program. We also accept women’s clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry in new or nearly new condition and always in style! All donations are tax deductible.


Hope you’ll follow our journey. You can find Uncommon Threads on Facebook and at our website. Kindness makes the world go round!

XO Susan






  • Karen Austin November 30, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Bless you for all the work you’ve done to make this happen. Sharing on Twitter and FB!

    • Susan Kanoff November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you so much Karen! You’re so sweet.

  • 1010ParkPlace November 30, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I’m so impressed with what you’ve accomplished Susan! May God bless your efforts and the women you’re helping. xoxo, Brenda

    • Susan Kanoff November 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you Brenda. I feel very lucky to be able to do this! XO Susan

  • Beth Havey November 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Susan, you and people like you are the reason that the earth keeps spinning. Keep us updated. This is awesome. Beth

  • Shari Broder November 30, 2016 at 11:52 am

    This is so awesome. It warmed my heart. Our bar association in Maine has had clothing drives of business clothes for this purpose. Kudos to you for making the world a better place.

    • Susan Kanoff November 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you Shari! Nice to meet another New Englander! XO Susan

  • Jen November 30, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    I love this! Well done. This will make such a huge difference in these women’s lives. xo

    • Susan Kanoff November 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you Jen! I’m so excited to be making this program a reality! xo Susan

  • Esther Zimmer December 2, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Susan, this is just wonderful! I volunteer with an organisation here in the UK called Smart Works who provide a similar service. I also used to donate clothes on my clients’ behalf when I had my personal styling business. You are doing such worthwhile work, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact this has on women’s lives. I have so much admiration for you! Esther xx

    • Susan Kanoff December 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you so much Esther! Clothes are certainly a powerful tool for boosting self-esteem 🙂 XO Susan

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