New clothes can represent so many different things: a new job, perhaps a new relationship, or a new adventure. But for the women and children who “shop” at Keeps Boutique in suburban Dallas, new clothes can signal a new beginning altogether. They may enter the store believing they don’t deserve anything there, said Keeps Boutique director Emily Avedikian; but through love, encouragement, and compassion, by the time they walk out, they’ve become “confident, determined and willing to use their many gifts and talents.” Emily first envisioned Keeps Boutique at age 15 while working with young girls in the foster care system. She would gather new clothing from local retailers and allow the girls to choose items “for keeps.” After college graduation, she decided retail could be much more than a hobby, and returned to the idea of Keeps Boutique, expanding it to help women and children in need. The boutique is located in The Gatehouse, a multi-service living community that helps women break free from the cycles of domestic abuse, poverty and incarceration. Clothing, then, is a natural fit—an outward symbol of change occurring within. Keeps Boutique is an outward symbol, too, Emily believes, of a changing retail environment, one that gives back and helps others. “The future of retail will be shaped by people with the mindset that they can change the world.” Emily Avedikian is determined to do that, one outfit at a time.
Founder and Director
Keeps Boutique at The Gatehouse