Katie Martinez, Elegantees

A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Katie Martinez wanted to utilize her skills in order to give back to the community. Through her New York-based company, Elegantees, she has partnered with a local nonprofit organization as they seek to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking. By equipping rehabilitated women with all the necessary training as well their very own home based sewing machines, she provides the women with the means to better their lives through a legitimate trade skill. The women are then offered employment as independent contractors, assembling the Elegantees products at twice the pay of other sewing jobs, allowing them to do more than just survive, but rather to thrive.

In providing sewing jobs, Elegantees provides a positive source of income. Through a Pay-it-Forward loan, Katie will secure the necessary funds to purchase machines and equipment for several women to get started.

“Women rescued from sex trafficking sometimes end up relying on the help of kind people so they can survive. We want to give them an opportunity and consistency so they can let go of their survival mode, and just enjoy and heal completely from their past,” Katie said.

You can learn more about Elegantees on Instagram or follow them on Twitter

GRANT AWARD DATE:  July 13, 2014