Elaine Birks-Mitchell | The Bra Recyclers, LLC
Elaine is CEO and Founder of the social enterprise The Bra Recyclers. They are a clothing recycling company specializing in the recycling and reuse of bras and other lingerie. Their goal is to educate and influence consumers and retailers on the social and environmental benefits of extending the life of clothing (e.g., preloved bras), rather than discarding them in landfills.
While spending 25+ years in the corporate world, she always wanted to figure out how to make a living from her giving. She just needed to figure out how she was going to do it. So, she found a need in their community and communities around the world and took that leap of faith and started a social enterprise, The Bra Recyclers. She is always asked what a Social Entrepreneur is. One of the best definitions she has found to describe it is that they ‘recognize a social or environmental issue and use entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a social venture to create a desired change.
They have been able to donate over 4 million bras to over 120 nonprofit organizations who are supporting women and girls escaping domestic violence, human trafficking, and survivors of breast cancer. They also provide a responsible method for retailers and distributors to dispose of overstock and returns that would otherwise end up in our landfills. Elaine never gets tired of the amazing stories that they receive about the impact of something as simple as a bra and how it has impacted a woman or girls’ life.