Raleigh nonprofit opens new retail store, design studio

RALEIGH, NC – The community celebrated the grand opening of a nonprofit’s new location in downtown Raleigh on Friday.

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Designed for Joy has a new retail store and design studio in downtown Raleigh

The association has been in existence for four years and employs women who might not otherwise have a job.

DFJ sells handbags, jewelry and other items at 517 W. Cabarrus Street

Designed for joy (DFJ) offers transitional work experience to women from vulnerable situations, including human trafficking, homelessness and drug addiction. The new building at 517 W. Cabarrus Street now serves as a retail store and design studio.

Some of the women employed at Designed for Joy.

Samantha Bishop, production coordinator at DFJ, says working for the association has helped her afford her own apartment for herself and her sons. Bishop says DFJ empowers women and gives them resources to grow.

“I think when you’re in certain situations you forget that there are people out there who really care, and I think you forget how strong and important you are. Being here helps you realize it, ”Bishop said.

Cary Heise, executive director and co-founder of DFJ, says their goal is to hire women who might otherwise be unemployed.

“We provide job training, a place for someone to brush up on their resume and do interviews. But with job training, we actually have the job to support someone now and at a living wage, ”Heise said.

To date, Designed for Joy has hired 52 women who work as artisans to create handbags, jewelry and other items. The new space will allow DFJ to increase its production and join forces with neighboring organizations to help more women in need.

DFJ’s Gateway Center store on Crabtree Boulevard will remain open until the end of the year. Crabtree Boulevard and the new W. Cabarrus Street locations are open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.


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Joseph E. Golightly