MANITOU SPRINGS — As we celebrate women's history month, KOAA News5 is shining a spotlight on one local woman whose empowering others in our community.
Nicole O'Rorke is the owner of Barn + Swallow, a boutique in Manitou Springs. She opened the business in August 2020, and is focusing her efforts on hiring women who have faced homelessness in the past, overcame a life-changing situation, or are in recovery. Her goal is to help women get back on their feet and be successful.
"It's women helping women. The more women I can help, the better," said O'Rorke. "The women that have helped me in my life, I'm forever grateful for and I would like to do the same thing."
The store's motto -- to provide hope, renewal and love to women in the community, all while teaching them job skills and helping them integrate back into society.
"We all go through through things, so it was just important to me to give other women a chance to get back on their feet and into the workforce," said O'Rorke. "When I'm old someday, I want to be able to say, 'I did the best that I could.'"
Erin Bogue got her chance two months ago when she was hired to work at the boutique.
"Coming into the new version of myself, and being able to be supportive of someone who supports women in general, is amazing," said Bogue. "I've never had someone who's a female mentor."
Bogue was homeless for about three years, but has now found her worth and isn't looking back. Although she was homeless up until last summer, Bogue says she found a new home in working with O'Rorke.
"I feel like that was the aligning of the stars if you will. She wants to better the world. She wants to empower women. She wants to help," said Bogue.
"She brings joy to the room when she comes in. She's happy. She's a great employee and a great person to have," said O'Rorke.
The business also supports other local businesses. 5% of every purchase will get donated to a local non-profit. Customers can choose from four non-profits that the shop works with, including West
Side Cares, Springs Rescue Mission, TESSA or The Place.
Many of the store's products are also locally made or crafted.