AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A special boutique designed for a very special group of women.
"The girls will get to go in there and pick out everything they need. Some things to make them feel special,” says Steven Phenix. He’s the communications director for The Refuge Ranch, which sits on 50 acres in Bastrop County. The Refuge Ranch is a therapeutic community for 48 girls, minors through age 19, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking.
For months The Refuge Ranch, architect and interior design company Sixthriver, and The Burt Group have been working together to build what they're calling “The Boutique”. Transforming a double-wide construction trailer, to this sleek boutique at the refuge ranch, exclusively available to the 48 girls and women on-site.
Something Brooke Boggs Wood, director of The Burt Group says will be an amazing addition to help with their road to recovery. "The biggest difficulty is seeing the harsh reality of child sex trafficking right here in our community,” she says.
Latana McGraw, interior designer for Sixthriver says, “The way The Refuge works they get a lot of donations clothing and items like that for girls but in giving it to them they want to not just say hey this was given but they want this to be more of an experience to the girls and pick it out. A going to the store experience."
What makes The Boutique stand out is they’re only accepting brand-new items.
McGraw says, “the reason it's so important these things are new and it's not a hand-me-down is because it's supposed to be something where the girls feel they really matter. Giving them back the identity that they felt was taken from them. I think it's a psychological thing like I'm worth more than something that was used but I'm worth something new and someone thinking that for me."
And some local big name brands have already donated.
Phenix adds, "Designers like Kendra Scott, Hey Girl, Kelly Wynne handbags."
But in order to get the ball fully rolling, this non-profit needs about $20,000 more dollars in donations to see their vision come alive. From there, The Boutique is expected to open by April.
McGraw says, "Once we have full funding we can go and then from there it will take 3 months or so."
The Boutique will also serve as a location for vocational training for these women. Beautifully laid out in a sleek style that's fashionable but still meant to empower young survivors while they're restoring their sense of self.
List of Contributors:
ALISON & CO - decorative lighting ASTEK -custom wallcovering B SQUARED ELECTRIC - electrical BENJAMIN MOORE – paint BUILDING IMAGE GROUP - exterior signage CFS - flooring & tile install CROSSVILLE TILE - tile at restrooms DUNAWAY ASSOCIATES - structural DELTA MILLWORKS - exterior wood cladding F&V DRYWALL - framing & drywall, demo, etc. KNOLL – drapery & window treatments LEGACY LIGHTING - lighting NEIHI GLASS - storefront glazing & install SHAW - vinyl plank flooring t/o & area rug SCHLUTER – trim SKG - furniture STUDIO DZO – custom decals & signage, display SIXTHRIVER - design THE BURT GROUP- contractor TIMBERTOWN- wood for deck TRAVIS MILLWORKS – millwork