About Our Mission
Travel & Luggage Struggles
Have you ever had an opportunity to dash out the door on a spur of the moment adventure only to be bogged down and discouraged by the idea of packing? Me too. Or maybe you’ve known for weeks that a trip is coming up but the other preparations required to make your escape have left you with zero time to pack. As a wife, mom, social entrepreneur and traveler, I understand both of these challenges and am excited to let you know that OUTsideIN is here to help.
Helping Women Out of Poverty Into Industry
Let me explain. Our social enterprise was created in 2013 because our county’s largest employer packed up and left, taking 2000 of our best jobs with them. Rogue women in my town wanted to do something to help. So, we set out to start something right here on our historic town square that could employ women who had found themselves chronically unemployed because they had encountered problems with addiction, incarceration, lacked basic education, suffered a slight disability or came from a background of poverty. We not only teach them a skill but we work alongside them to empower and encourage them to make healthy life choices that will change the trajectory of their lives.
More Sales, More Jobs, You Make A Difference
But we can’t do it alone. We need customers like you who understand and embrace the fact that their purchasing power can make a real difference. You see, we make hiring decisions based on the demand for our product. More sales translates to more job creation. It’s really simple but we simply can’t do it without you. While we are structured as a 501(c)3 organization and donations to us are tax exempt, our desire is to be self-sustaining through the sales of our products. When you select one or more of our coordinating travel bags, you help us help our neighbors and you and your clothes look great as you travel across this country and hopefully, our world. Thank you for visiting our website. Let’s LoadUP, HangUP and go on an adventure together!
- LeEllen Smith, Founder
We Create Luggage & Meaningful Work
OUTsideIN is a social enterprise located in rural Tennessee that empowers marginalized women by creating whimsical luggage such as garment bags, tote bags, and shoe bags as well as meaningful work.
Our workers are women whose struggles with tough life challenges (like addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, disabilities, poverty and poor education) have kept them out of the mainstream workforce.
We bring those OUTsiders INto a safe, structured place where they can learn new skills and improve their quality of life. Volunteers model good workplace behaviors while together we create high-quality, handmade travel bags. We're all, employees and volunteers alike, strong women on a journey making beautiful travel gear for your journeys.