Sam Russell is not your average celebrity stylist. While he has dressed some of Hollywood’s finest including Stevie Wonder, Jon Hamm and Sophia Bush just to name a few, some of his most important activities take place outside of the starlight.
Sam is on a mission of love, goodwill and giving.
In 2011 Sam Russell launched the Giving Closet. A wonderful program that surprises deserving women with a wardrobe, accessories and more worth thousands of dollars.
One of his lucky recipients was Shenee Crespo, a mother of five children. Shenee’s mornings are hectic. It begins with rousing everyone from bed and making sure they all have breakfast. Then there is the planning and preparation to ensure they get to their destinations which includes daycare for the younger family members. It’s a long day. Shenee does not have a car and spends four hours a day commuting to and from her job as a corporate biller. Once at home for the evening she makes dinner, helps children with their homework and then studies for her own online college courses! Her life is a whirlwind of non-stop activity.
As with many single moms there is never enough money or time and Shenee seldom thought about her own needs. Then she met Sam and her life changed in a big way the day he surprised her with his wonderful gifts.
Shenee shares her thoughts on that big surprise:
“What Sam has done for me has meant more then anything. To be selected to receive the wardrobe is just surreal. My family, friends and co-workers said that I really deserved it for everything I do on a daily basis. I didn’t see it as anything special. I saw it as doing everything I need to do to reach my goals and succeed. Everything I do I do for my kids. I want to be able to give them the world because they are amazing and deserve it.
Sam has really touched my heart and has given me a new sense of pride that I didn’t have before. The clothes and shoes are beautiful and I would have never been able to get them for myself as all my money goes to taking care of the family. I just want to say thank you Sam and what he is doing really makes a difference. Anyone who is blessed with this experience will never forget it. “
Mary-Anne Parker is originally from Bulgaria and a single mother of two. Last year she launched her own company, Manor of Manners, to provide courses on etiquette and social graces for kids and adults. She was working hard to get the new venture up and going and everything she made was spent to raise her children and make a success of her business for their future. Her biggest challenge was finding a way to look presentable, polished and appropriately dressed on very little income.
Mary-Anne shares her thoughts about the experience with Sam and The Giving Closet:
“I met Sam through Dress for Success in San Diego last year and I received the most beautiful, thoughtful, luxurious and much needed gift that any woman can dream of – 20 designer Adrianna Papell dresses, stylish designer shoes ( 3 pairs), 1 pair of gorgeous boots, many purses, jewelry , you name it. And all this was presented on NBC news San Diego. Overwhelming experience!!
I am dressed for years to come now and I look very accomplished. Sam and I became friends after his gifts to me and we talk to each other almost every week. He is an amazing, approachable,and a good and big hearted person!! And yes, now I can really say that “fashion does have a heart”. After all, he was working and interacting with the Hollywood crowd which included Stevie Wonder’s and now to style me? Is unbelievable!!
“Besides, Sam is the gift that keeps on giving!!! I received last week another “box” full of beautiful clothes, he said “Mary-Anne, these are for your weekend attire”. And is really personal. I know that he takes into consideration my lifestyle, my personality, my skin tone and everything. It all fits perfectly in every single way. He is always there for me, always happy to advise me and help me. Very good friend as well! For him, people really do matter!”
Sam works with non-profit and social agencies to locate women of need. He also solicits contributions and donations from many companies who have responded with generosity. They include Sienna Rose, Paul Frank, Single Dress by Galina, Guy & Eva, Bed Stu, Elaine Turner, BEARPAW, Gwyneth Shoes and, AMI ClubWear.
Sam is taking his Giving Closet on the road as a traveling mission and will be featured on Yahoo Ultimate Surprises! They are scheduled to begin shooting in Los Angeles soon. BeBetsy is looking forward to watching his progress as he sets out to surprise other hard working and deserving women!
Sam Russell is interviewed on San Diego’s Channel 6!