March 2, 2015
Drury Enactus continues its partnership with Art Inspired for a new business enterprise: Inspired Boutique is a resale store offering a variety of upscale retail items including name-brand clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and high-quality furniture. All proceeds are used to meet the needs of individuals served by Abilities First.
Inspired Boutique offers a variety of upscale retail items including name brand clothing, shoes, purses, accessories and high-quality furniture. The store also provides employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
In collaboration with Abilities First, Drury Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) helped develop Art Inspired four years ago to provide meaningful employment to individuals with disabilities. Art Inspired sells paper artwork, stationary and furniture, and acts as an internship site for students in the special education department at Central High School.
“The boutique is a direct growth of Art Inspired,” says Katie Pearson, a junior Drury Enactus member. “It started as just an idea one of our team members had and now it’s grown to provide employment opportunities and acts as a source of empowerment for people living with disabilities in Springfield.”
For Inspired Boutique, Drury Enactus team members have been involved with the selection, sorting and collection of donations, marketing, event planning and volunteer coordination. All volunteer opportunities at the boutique are also Panther Passport events, which are Drury sponsored activities that help initiate greater involvement on campus and in the community.
“This store has such a great cause behind it and we’re excited to get students and the community involved with it,” says Pearson. “Everything is washed, dried, and steamed before going out to the floor and there’s anything from casual college wear, to professional attire, to clothes for a night out.”
One of the strengths of the Drury Enactus is the diversity of its members. Pearson, a psychology and behavioral neuroscience major, was able to combine her passion for the cause and her previous working experience at a resale store to benefit Inspired Boutique and the Enactus team.
“I’ve learned so much about event planning, marketing and business relations, but also have been able to draw from my own work background,” Pearson said. “I’ve definitely gained a lot of leadership skills from working on this project and it’s pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”
For more information about Inspired Boutique, visit its website or the store location at 230 S. Market Ave.
The Drury team will present their work and compete at the 2015 Enactus National Exposition in April.
Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.