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Barbara Madsen Smith, President of Bottomless Closet

Editorial Team | On July 8, 2023

Meet Barbara Madsen Smith, president of Bottomless Closet NYC, a vibrant nonprofit group that helps poor women in New York dress for success. Barbara Madsen Smith has been involved in strategic planning at Bottomless Closets since 1999.

Bottomless Closet is a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged New York City women become self-sufficient through a comprehensive program that begins with business attire and interview preparation and continues with professional development, financial management, and personal enrichment.

Women for Hire Exclusive: Barbara Smith on Empowering Women Through Bottomless Closet

Bottomless Closet: Empowering Women Towards Self-Sufficiency

Bottomless Closet is a non-profit organization based in New York City, dedicated to promoting economic self-sufficiency among disadvantaged women. The organization provides professional clothing, job readiness, and post-employment training and coaching services to women on assistance and working-poor women. Since its inception, Bottomless Closet has been instrumental in helping thousands of women to achieve their career goals and improve their lives.

History and Mission of Bottomless Closet

Bottomless Closet was founded in 1999 by a group of female executives who recognized the need for an organization that could help disadvantaged women gain employment. The founders understood that the path to economic self-sufficiency often begins with a successful job interview, and that many women lacked the appropriate attire to make a positive first impression.

The mission of Bottomless Closet is to be the connection that inspires and guides disadvantaged New York City women to enter the workforce and establish a lifetime of self-sufficiency. The organization’s vision is to ensure that every woman who walks through their doors is well-prepared for her job interview, with the confidence and knowledge to secure employment and achieve self-sufficiency.

Services and Programs Bottomless Closet

Clothing Program

The cornerstone of Bottomless Closet’s services is its clothing program. The organization operates a boutique where women can select professional attire for job interviews. Each client receives a one-on-one consultation with a volunteer personal shopper who helps her choose an entire outfit, including accessories and shoes. The goal is not only to provide clothing but also to build the woman’s confidence and self-esteem.

Job Readiness Training

Bottomless Closet offers comprehensive job readiness training to help women prepare for job interviews. This includes workshops on resume writing, interview skills, and job search strategies. The organization also provides one-on-one coaching sessions where women can practice their interview skills and receive personalized feedback.

Post-Employment Training

Once a woman secures a job, Bottomless Closet continues to support her through its post-employment training program. This includes workshops on professional development topics such as communication skills, conflict resolution, and time management. The organization also offers financial management workshops to help women budget their income and plan for the future.

Networking and Support

Bottomless Closet fosters a supportive community for its clients. The organization hosts networking events where women can connect with each other and with professionals in various industries. It also offers ongoing support through its alumni program, which provides resources and opportunities for continued personal and professional growth.

Impact and Success Stories of Bottomless Closet

Since its inception, Bottomless Closet has served over 40,000 women, and the impact of its services is evident in the success stories of its clients. Many women have secured employment and achieved economic self-sufficiency thanks to the support they received from Bottomless Closet.

One such success story is that of a woman named Maria. After being unemployed for several months, Maria came to Bottomless Closet for help. With the organization’s support, she was able to secure a job as an administrative assistant. Today, Maria is not only financially independent but also actively involved in her community.


Bottomless Closet is more than just a provider of professional attire. It is a beacon of hope for disadvantaged women in New York City, offering them the tools and support they need to secure employment and achieve self-sufficiency. Through its comprehensive program of clothing, job readiness training, post-employment support, and community building, Bottomless Closet is making a significant impact in the lives of women and their families.