By Lisa Kashinsky
The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Uncommon Threads” serves women of a myriad of shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Stylists have outfitted female veterans, the elderly, the disabled and even domestic violence victims, all referred by social workers.
Deep in the recesses of 60 Island St., neatly organized racks of clothes and shoes fill rooms that were once offices; brightly colored necklaces and handbags dangle from shelves and rest on miniature mannequins.
The rooms have the feel of a boutique by design. But Uncommon Threads is far more than the average clothing store. The Lawrence-based nonprofit is empowering women and promoting their self-confidence through fashion.
“The clothes are just so powerful,” said Susan Kanoff, founder and executive director of Uncommon Threads. “They’re really tools for building self-esteem, self-confidence and just feeling better about yourself.”
A year-and-a-half after its founding, Uncommon Threads will host its first gala on May 16 to raise funds to help grow its mission and serve more women.
“There’s so much we can do here, but we can’t do it without money,” said Assistant Director Lysanne LaPierre.
‘Loved and valued’
Uncommon Threads is Kanoff’s brainchild, born from her career as a social worker.
Kanoff, a soon-to-be Methuen resident, ran a federal program through the Andover Housing Authority for more than 20 years. A little more than a decade ago, she started a side business as a wardrobe stylist, and then began blogging.
Soon, her office was overflowing with clothes.
“Women really got so much out of it when they came in to see me. We would talk about goals and what they wanted to do … and we put outfits together and the women really felt strong and confident when they had the right outfit on,” Kanoff said.
A year-and-a-half ago, Kanoff grew more serious about starting a nonprofit for women’s empowerment. She secured Family Services of the Merrimack Valley as a fiscal partner, retired from her job and launched Uncommon Threads.