Austin’s east side has a new philanthropist nestled beautifully on 12th Street, and she’s giving back by empowering underserved girls from the community.
Alta Alexander, owner of the new East Austin high-end boutique called Altatudes, recently hosted their inaugural philanthropic event on Saturday, February 10 to much appreciation. The event, aptly called Hearts and Handbags, aims to encourage young girls to embrace their worth through self-esteem and self-love. Despite being open for only four months, Alta knew giving back was a must for her from day one.
“This is really near and dear to me because it’s always important for me to give back,” she explained. “When my husband bequeathed this space to me last Valentine’s so I could turn key on my dream, one of the first things I said to him in the next couple of hours after the tears and happiness kind of subsided, I told him ‘I really want to do something where I can give back.’”
What she came up with was an opportunity to invest in the future, by nurturing the next generation by uplifting underserved girls from the community and helping to show them their own value.
“The overarching goal of this effort is to help set young girls on their life path with a healthy self-esteem and strong confidence,” says Alta. “I know the women in the Austin and the surrounding areas have big hearts and will open them and donate their handbags for this fun and worthwhile event.”
What started out as a small idea quickly began to grow beyond the expectations of Alta, with more girls and women participating in the program on both side.
“I’m at a loss for words. Initially I was thinking maybe I would have 10 to 15 girls, but I actually got 22 girls,” Alta said. “I was thinking maybe I’d get 20 bags, but I’ve got more than double that.”
The event received strong support from both the local and greater communities with women from as far as Houston donating gently used and new handbags, totes, clutches and backpacks filled with makeup samples, hair products, perfume, toiletries and gift cards. Along with each bag, Alta asked that donors also include a personalized note of encouragement, inspiration, motivation and love to the recipient.
On top of giving the group of girls their own handbags, Altatudes also hosted a number of activities to get the girls engaged in their self-development, including Slay the Way, where the girls learned how to walk with poise and confidence with the help of Austin-based fashion models, and Mirror Mirror, where each girl stood before a large mirror and told herself something that she liked about herself both inside and out.
“The overarching thought behind this is that girls won’t look you in the eye these days...they’re kind of introverted and withdrawn, Alta said. "We want to help them boost their confidence and self-esteem so that they can then talk to young men and those persons whenever they’re trying to get a job — and depending, they may go into entrepreneurship where you really have to have a lot of self-confidence.”
Although the event has come to a close, Altatudes’ work isn’t done yet. Alta, herself, will be delivering the remaining bags to girls at the Dell Blood & Tissue Center later this month.
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set including writing, design, and photography. Nick now resides in Austin, TX after earning a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism from Texas A&M University—Commerce.