1226 N. Tamiami Trail at 13th St.
Sarasota, FL 34236 • 941­.366.5293
Estates/Downsizing: 941­.366.5299
Mon.-Fri. 10 to 5 • Sat. 10 to 4

Community Leaders
Giving back to the community is what it's all about at Designing Woment Boutique. This is a sample representation of the organizations that have received funding along with comments from their leaders about Designing Women Boutique and the impact it has had on the community.

Can you imagine a handful of well-heeled, committed women givers starting a thrift shop so they could support arts organizations in Sarasota? "Designing Women" is that organization, which generously distributes its profits to non-profit organizations.

Art Center Sarasota has been the beneficiary of two sorts of funding and support from "Designing Women." It started its cooperative efforts first by loaning women's apparel for Art Center Sarasota's fundraising luncheon fashion shows called "Portrait of a Woman," all of which made money for the Center and provided new customers for Designing Women and new clothing donors for the shop.

Secondly, they gave the Art Center a grant to provide a power point digital projector for our bureau. This enabled the Center to bring in several Russian artists, who with a spectacular show, talked abut their techniques and artistic surroundings at home.

We are indebted to Designing Women and their founders for making very special things happen in Sarasota. We owe them a large thank you.

Jane T. Smiley
Vice President, Board of Directors
Art Center Sarasota

Designing Women! What a marvelous concept: combine the art of fashion with the art of theatre - a novel and clever connection that has done wonders for our growth as the premiere theatre in the state of Florida.

It was Margaret Wise, a brilliant businesswoman with a great talent for fundraising and love of the arts, who introduced me to the philanthropic world of Designing Women while I was considering relocating from Syracuse, NY to Sarasota. As co-founder of Designing Women and president of the Asolo Rep board, Margaret played a key role in assuring me that the community was eager to embrace my vision, encouraging me to move.

Asolo Rep is tremendously grateful for the generosity and support of Designing Women including, this past season, contributing to the re-design of the theatre's lobby. I personally look forward to continuing our special relationship in years to come.

Michael Donald Edwards
Producing Artistic Director
Asolo Repertory Theatre

I have the greatest respect for the Sarasota angels who wear Prada... their intelligence, style, champagne tastes and Midwestern values, their response to causes and crisis, the networks of friends they create. Three of these women decided to combine their talent and expertise for a common goal based on hard work, business savvy and an intention to help their community. The Designing Women Boutique was born in an old dead-end store on a busy highway, grew up and out, and five years later sits on a site in a part of town that is emerging as a beautiful entry to Sarasota. Their efforts have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities... and an army of volunteers. It's one of the best single successes in town with little reward for those who make it work... except t he gratitude of thousands of people who buy high fashion at great savings or are the beneficiaries of proceeds. They rightly deserve the city's applause.


Marjorie North

The Designing Women Boutique is one of the most innovative non-profit groups of which I'm aware. What is so unusual is that Designing Women is that the group does not raise money for itself; it raises money to support various arts organization in our community. Plus, the money raised by them is not raised in the traditional method, but is earned by selling used top quality women's fashion donated by patrons of Designing Women Boutique.

As the former President of the Sarasota County Arts Council and President of Ringling College of Art and Design, I admire the dedication of this group of volunteers who have brought together their love of top quality fashion, their intense business acumen, and their passion for the arts for the purpose of improving the visual and performing arts and arts organizations in our area. This is an amazing group of dynamic women who have successfully developed a business that helps ensure that the arts flourish in Sarasota County.

One very visible sign of their support can be seen at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport where displays, designed by students at Ringling College, demonstrate to arriving passengers in Sarasota that Sarasota County is the Cultural Coast of Florida. It was only because of Designing Women's generosity that this message has been communicated to hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Southwest Florida region.

Larry Thompson
Ringling College of Art & Design

Giving and sharing brings a joy like none other and what better way to expand philanthropy than by linking it to fashion, shopping and volunteering. The founders and supporters of Designing Women Boutique have raised the bar on their integrated approach to engage those with style to help those with needs. By helping people free up closet space by donating their couture collections, creating one-of-a-kind fashion experiences, and inviting everyone to shop in elegance, Designing Women Boutique has stimulated generosity of every dimension – all with business acumen and heartfelt energy.


Debra Jacobs
President and CEO
The Patterson Foundation

When Jean Weidner first envisioned a resident professional Ballet Company in Sarasota she planted the seed of an institution that has since grown and prospered and now boasts national and international critical acclaim.Thanks to her dedication and foresight our community has reaped tremendous benefits and we are forever grateful to her. Another brainchild of Jean's in association with her founding partners Margaret Wise and Diane Roskamp, Designing Women Boutique continues to be an immense asset to this community and supports not only the Sarasota Ballet, but the many other important arts and non-profit organizations in our community.

I am personally grateful to Jean and as I affectionately call them, "Jean's ladies" for supporting my vision for the Sarasota Ballet in so many ways including sage counsel, generous funding and enthusiastic presence at our many performances. Without this critical support we could not have achieved all that we are so proud of today.

Iain Webb
Sarasota Ballet

Designing Women Boutique has been an amazing supporter of The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, and for that I am deeply grateful. And, not only do they support the artistic mission of WBTT, but they recognize that what makes Sarasota special is the quality and diversity of our arts organizations. We have the great good fortune of living in a community that values the arts and artists among us, and DWB is at the forefront of helping us all grow, even in difficult economic times. The old saying "waste not want not" is at the heart of DWB's outlook; they take great consigned and donated designer clothes that are needing a new home, sell them at greatly affordable prices then recycle that money in the form of grant money into the Sarasota Community. All of us at WBTT are thrilled and grateful to be associated with and be a beneficiary of the work of Designing Women Boutique!


Nate Jacobs
Founder and Artistic Director
West Coast Black Theatre Troupe



Designing Women Boutique | 1226 N. Tamiami Trail at 13th St. | Sarasota, FL 34236 | 941.366.5293

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