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Crafting handbags for addiction recovery

Swatches | November 1, 2020 | By:

Apprentices and employees of Unshattered, an addiction recovery organization, craft products like this toiletry bag, which uses original materials from a 1959 Mercedes Benz. Photo: Unshattered.

Completing an addiction rehabilitation program is cause for celebration. But maintaining sobriety is a lifelong process that requires additional support. People coming out of rehabilitation often need job training that leads to economic stability. Many have no money or support, and their only option is to return to the same community where their addiction started.

A New York-based organization has taken up the mission of helping women win their fight against addiction by learning to craft beautiful, one-of-a-kind bags made from repurposed materials. Founded by Kelly Lyndgaard, Unshattered provides apprenticeships during which women gain marketable skills such as basic sewing, inventory and supply management, and event management, all within a safe community. Apprenticeships can lead to full-time employment within the organization, where women gain advanced sewing skills and fulfill roles such as designer, seamstress, production manager, office manager, custom design specialist, external collaboration lead, sales lead, procurement lead and quality control. Full-time employees earn wages and benefits including healthcare, paid vacation, vision/dental and pension. 

Designed by the women themselves, the bags use materials from Broadway sets, old military uniforms and vintage automobile upholstery. Customs bags from family heirlooms can be commissioned as well. For more, visit

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