What started as a dream in the heart of a 14-year old girl wanting to distribute “cool” clothes to girls in foster care, has grown into a Life that has transformed the lives of thousands of young girls in need.
Today, Taylor’s Closet will be able to reach many more lives as the organization has just unveiled a brand new 4,200 square foot facility in Pompano Beach, thanks to a generous donation via Christ Church of Fort Lauderdale.
Along with the building donation, over 50 individuals and companies from the community have come forward with $230,000 worth of goods, services, and funds, helping to make the new building a stunning setting that hopes to share the love of Christ with local at-risk girls in an environment that makes them feel like a million bucks.
“We never take it for granted the realm of influence that we have been entrusted with and count it a privilege that God would choose to smile on this idea that has turned into an incredible Life, ” says 19-year-old Lindsay Giambattista, founder of Taylor’s Closet.
Taylor’s Closet, named after Lindsay’s twin sister who died at birth, began five years ago when Lindsay needed community service hours and had to come up with an idea for a worthwhile project.
Lindsay’s mom, Linda Giambattista says, “It is a simple idea that captured God’s attention and is helping to carry His heart to these beautiful girls who may never know it otherwise.”
“Our method is simple,” she explains. “But what happens here is remarkable. Young girls, who have been abused, injured or who are suffering from a lifetime of hopelessness, come into our store and find out that someone cares–that all these beautiful new designer clothes are for them–completely free.”
At the store’s recent grand opening, Lindsay addressed the crowd and talked about the amazing common denominator that clothes and shopping can provide to bring young women together.
“Have you ever been shopping and set your eyes on that one item?” she asks. “You know, the one dress that seems as though it was made just for you, the one pair of shoes that you would chose to walk in for the rest of your life?”
“That same feeling, that same desire, the thought that you just HAVE to have it, that’s the same way the Lord feels about these broken girls. He would be willing to do whatever it takes just to be with them and, in fact, He already has.”
Worth the Work
“The new Taylor’s Closet is the result of a year of prayer, hard work, and thousands of man hours,” says Linda Giambattista, Executive Director of the organization and mom to Lindsay and a son, Justin.
“It has been quite an experience seeing this dream become reality,” she says, “Definitely worth every ounce of sweat poured into it.”
“When we get to see the faces of these beautiful girls begin to soften at the sight of this store created out of extravagant love; even the hardest of hearts begins to melt,” daughter Lindsay adds.
“These girls walk in walled off and stone-faced and by the end of it, they are wearing a smile along with their brand new clothing.”
Whether it is in the antique chandelier or the beautifully upholstered furniture, love is in every detail of Taylor’s Closet–right down to the up-scale designer wallpaper in the dressing rooms and artwork in the restrooms.
“Taylor’s Closet is a hand-crafted and designed piece of art,” says Mike Giambattista, Lindsay’s father and President of Taylor’s Closet. “From the moment you walk in, it’s clear to see this isn’t just any old store.”
Girls will find professional racks filled with exquisite brand new designer clothing–each donated item from top designers, such as Baby Phat, XOXO, Kensie Girl, Free People, and Rampage, have female clothing lovers drooling.
Lindsay says, “Every girl that shops with us gets an opportunity to spend time with one of our “stylists,” a volunteer designated to help each girl as they shop, and then they spend time in our beautiful Life room. It’s a peaceful place where they get to talk about their lives and pray if they’d like.”
There’s a state-of-the-art kitchen filled with high-end appliances and cabinetry–all donated. Yet Lindsay’s favorite place is the bathroom.
“It may sound a little funny, but it is hard not to feel like a million dollars when standing in it.”
According to Lindsay, over the next year, Taylor’s Closet will reach approximately 5,570 girls through the store, a mentoring program, and outreaches both locally and internationally. The organization has partnered with like-minded sister stores throughout the United States as well as in various locations abroad.
“Within the next few months we will move beyond the Life in our store and take these girls further through our mentorship program aimed at reaching girls 18 and older. Along with accountability and discipleship, we will be teaching basic life skills such as cooking, sewing, and art,” she says.
The organization hopes to reach the 32,000 girls who are considered “at-risk” in South Florida alone.
“These girls have felt abandoned and alone most of their lives and with a few pieces of designer clothes we get to tell them that that is simply not the case,” says Lindsay.
“They are not alone–and they are loved.”
For information see www.taylorscloset.org