So, as we were both chatting away about makeup and beauty products as you do on a Tuesday morning, I glanced across to my beauty cabinet. It's called my beauty cabinet because it's jam-packed full of boxes and boxes of new products that I've been sent from a pr company, duplicate gifts and travel sized products that you get given as a free gift, (you know, the ones that you never get around to using)
Rachel has a similar cabinet at home and we both agreed there and then that we must give these dust gatherers to charity or something. Whilst we were both thumbing our way through Google, we quickly realised that the only place we could donate to was in London and tt hey were full.
That evening Elle For Elle was born. We chose the name pretty much because Women for women was already taken, true story. We wanted the name and the concept to be really simple, she for she, women for women, her for her, generally it's women helping women.
Now, I've been helping out for a long time, my background is makeup and the art of applying. Rachel's background is fashion buying for big brands and travelling the globe to help women realise how fabulous they should be looking in the latest threads.
The women we help through Elle however, are really different to what we are used to. These women are like you and I but they've been through horrendous ordeals all in the name of supposed love.
We came up with a campaign 'Dignity after Distress' after hearing stories of women fleeing their own homes from abusive partners with absolutely nothing and often with small children in tow, the realisation of them having to ask for a sanitary towel is soul destroying. Dignity After Distress is just that, it maintains the last bit of dignity that these women have by stocking up the bathrooms of the refuges with essentials and good quality cosmetics.
There have been rising reports of women being arrested for stealing. What are they stealing you ask? Tampons, Sanitary towels, shampoos and makeup to cover bruising and scarring. No women should jeopardise her freedom for things that sit in our own homes gathering dust. There are also stories of women going back to their abuser because they can't afford simple essentials to maintain their own hygiene.
Have you ever thought about what a homeless woman does when her period starts? It's not pleasant! We also give to homeless shelters, blog coming soon.
There are 305 refuges in the UK to date, there's no room, there are budget cuts and there are women still stealing essentials. We know donating body care and cosmetics won't solve the abuse problem but it's a huge weight taken off pushed staff, emotionally and financially drained women and from our floorboards too. It's not much to ask.....
This is a fascinating read: https://www.refuge.org.uk/latest-ons-domestic-violence-statistics-refuge-responds/