Monday, January 17, 2011

The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK) Closes

Oh, I am just so sad to tell you about this.

Over the Christmas season I received an order from The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK). I needed to check on a price on something and I went to TEK's website but I couldn't access their shop. I looked up in the corner of the webpage and saw a clickable button that said "TEK Closes It's Doors". I just felt sick.

I was so surprised as to how much their closing impacted me. I still feel sick about it and wish it just wasn't true. There are 2 reasons it's bothering me so much.

1. Our customers LOVE their bath and body products. They love them. People walk in the store and they stop and just smell the air. And then they say, "I love coming in here. It just smells so good." Countless times every week. It smells so good because of the products from TEK.

Seascape has been our most popular scent. The delightful glycerin soaps fly off the shelves. The body oil is fragrant and deliciously moisturizing.

Customers love seeing the woman's name on each of the products who created it. Some of them have actually taken the labels off and put them in their Bibles, just so they could pray for that particular individual. It was just so easy to get attached to TEK because they made it so personal.

2. I am also sad because TEK was an organization creating beautiful products by beautiful women who needed the faith and confidence to know that someone would invest in them. Someone believed in them to change their lives, become productive and contributing citizens of their communities and to their families. These women were able to finish their education from high school and get a hand up instead of a hand out. That's what I love about the artisans and non-profits we work with. That is why I have a passion for these things. Because it HELPS!

TEK is just one of many non-profits that is folding. I know there are many wonderful organizations that close because of lack of funding. My heart aches when I see one so worthy closing their doors.

We're going to make it our mission to support the non-profits who are doing the hard work of helping people in poverty, slavery, trafficking and exploitation so they don't have to experience a closing of their doors. I know we're small, but you just never know how much "small" can do.

So, keep up your support of the great artisans we feature here and if you're a fan of TEK make sure you scoop up their products while they're still available.

I've included the statement TEK has on their website if you would like to read about them further.

CHICAGO, December 10, 2010 - The Enterprising Kitchen, a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to empowering low-income women in Chicago, today announced it is ceasing operations this Friday, December 10. The organization is closing its doors due to a combination of factors related to the economic downturn and a lack of funding. While recent increases in product sales and individual giving were promising, this activity was not enough to offset decreased support from larger funders that came to light in mid-November. Rather than immediately ceasing operations, efforts were made to find another nonprofit partner to merge with, but these efforts proved unsuccessful. Since 1996, The Enterprising Kitchen has helped more than 400 women by providing life skills training and support with the goal of fostering economic independence. The organization's popular Bubble Bash fundraiser collected an average of $100,000 annually in support of the cause.

We want to thank all of our supporters, participants, employees, board members and volunteers - everyone associated with TEK over the years," said Anne Chipman, Board Chair for The Enterprising Kitchen. "Your hard work and dedication addressing this need has touched the lives of so many women in Chicago and leaves a lasting impact on everyone connected to our cause."

Efforts are underway to place all current program participants with other nonprofit partners. Online sales of The Enterprising Kitchen's product line currently are suspended and the organization is notifying its network of more than 200 retailers that the product line including all-natural soaps, spa products and gift baskets will no longer be in production.

The Enterprising Kitchen

The Enterprising Kitchen empowers motivated, low-income women by hiring them and helping them build a foundation for permanent employment. During a six-month program, participants produce and market all-natural soaps, spa products and gift baskets online, in retail stores, and to corporate clients, the revenue from which goes back to support the program. The women learn real job skills in a real business setting. Personalized training, support services and life skills prepare graduates to become fully self-sufficient. In the end, TEK strives to place these participants in permanent positions at companies in the Chicago area.


  1. How sad. I work at a non-profit and we recently had to close an afterschool program for youth in the poor part of town. Funders have lost so much money in the recession, and it's a trickle-down effect. I pray this wonderful organization finds the funds and spirit to re-start, or that the women who were being benefits from it can receive help and encouragement elsewhere.

    Thanks for joining the High Calling Network. I love what you're doing with your business and blog!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your non-profit closing. It is so unfortunate and sad to hear those stories.

    I've been praying for these women as well. I know it was emotional for them when things closed and I also know that TEK was doing what they could to place the women in other organizations that would be helpful.

    Thanks for your comment and encouragement Dena! I hope to hear from you again soon!