Detroit, MI  (CBS Detroit) – Bags to Butterflies was founded by Michelle Smart in 2015. We are a Detroit-based social enterprise that reaches out to women re-entering the community from prison. Our primary mission is to provide formerly incarcerated women with transitional employment and training opportunities to help reduce and or eliminate their recidivism.

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When they’re building the handbags it actually represents them rebuilding their lives one piece at a time.

Our program is a nine-month program so eventually, they will transition out & our goal is entrepreneurship or employment.


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Everybody in prison says oh you’ll be back cause you so mean. At the time you had to be mean cause you had to stand up for yourself in there. But when I knew I was getting out  I knew I’m not that person they say I am, and I’m gonna be the person I was before I came in… I’m a good person.

Michelle Smart adds we use repurposed wood, we selected that material because we want to demonstrate how something that’s considered to have no value, how it can be transformed into something new and beautiful.

The ultimate goal of Bags to Butterflies is to reach as many women as we can to empower them to so that they know they have a supporting and caring network.

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