A shopVOX Customer Spotlight: Turning Leaf

October 13th, 2021

Turning Leaf logo

Over the years, shopVOX’s sign shop software has helped businesses of all kinds, large and small.

Today, we’re focusing on one unique business, Turning Leaf, based in Charleston, South Carolina. Turning Leaf is a non-profit operation dedicated to creating paths to success for men who have been released from prison. The program offers them employment, cognitive behavioral therapy, and teaches them the tools needed to successfully reenter society, and significantly lowers their risk for rearrest. 

shopVOX is a key component to the daily operations of the print shop at Turning Leaf and helps the shop stay organized and efficient.

What does Turning Leaf do?

Did you know that 67% of men released from prison are rearrested within 3 years of their release? It is extremely difficult for these men to reenter society and to manage things like learning new skills and finding decent employment without the necessary resources to keep them from going back to prison.

Turning Leaf is somewhat unique in its efforts to help men released from prison. Where other reentry programs are more based on charity, Turning Leaf takes a different approach. Turning Leaf runs an immersive four-month program designed to be more of a “hand up” for people rather than a “handout.”

The program is built to focus on 4 main areas where their students can learn and grow:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy - Taught in a classroom setting where men learn social skills, coping skills, how to manage difficult emotions, problem-solving - skills that they may have not learned when they were younger.

  • One-on-one Counseling - Each student is set up with a case manager where they will focus on individual skills, and help with individual needs such as looking for housing and making appointments.

  • Social Enterprise Print Shop - This is an in-house screen printing shop that allows students to learn a trade, and practice the skills they learn in group therapy in a safe environment. The print shop acts as transitional employment where the men are paid for their time.

  • Job Placement - The men in the program don’t leave until they have a job that pays a livable wage, offers benefits, and opportunities for growth and advancement.

Turning Leaf is not a work-release program and does not affiliate with prison systems directly. They are 100% voluntary, which means the men in the program want to be there. They want to build a better life for themselves, and for their families. 

While there are a variety of reentry programs that are available for women, this program is dedicated to men that are at the highest risk for rearrest. Rearrests among men who have completed the Turning Leaf program is down to 22%.

Turning Leaf is all about relationships. It's about the relationships we have with these men, and what it does for them, and their own sense of what's possible for themselves in the future. It gives them hope that they can be somebody else and do something different.

- Amy Barch - Executive Director and Founder of Turning Leaf

How does the Turning Leaf print shop operate?

The print shop at Turning Leaf offers the men transitional employment while they are progressing through the four-month program. According to their Director of Marketing and Communication, Leah Rhyne, they print on pretty much everything. The majority of their products include screen-printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, and all of their screen printing is done in-house on 4 presses. The students of the program start in the shop for just a few hours a day but then graduate to full-time employment for the remainder of the program.

stack of screen-printed t-shirts with Turning Leaf on the front of the shirts

A busy month for the print shop will turn out about 35-45 jobs. Their major clients include local bars and restaurants, construction companies, public libraries, and other county organizations.

The students have the option to learn as much as they want to learn about the printing business. Many of them cycle through the shop’s various roles, spending a few weeks cleaning, working quality control, shirt folding, printing, placement, and so on. Each student is paid for their time in the classroom and in the print shop.

shirt tag produced by Turning Leaf

How did Turning Leaf’s print shop originate?

Turning Leaf’s print enterprise started humbly, with most of the print shop’s equipment being donated and only friends and family ordering from the shop. Today, the company has an average of 11 employees working in the shop (although worker numbers vary), where the bulk of the work is in t-shirts but also includes tote bags, aprons, sweatshirts, and embroideries and etchings that are outsourced. 

Turning Leaf is very proud of the work that they are doing to help these men transition from life in prison to a successful and fulfilled life outside of prison.

How does Turning Leaf plan to grow its operation?

Because Charleston is a fairly small market and they have limited capacity, the non-profit will open a second location in the South Carolina capital of Columbia on October 27th, 2021. There, the company will attempt to replicate its success in Charleston by forming new social connections and helping more men, and growing the program.

How does Turning Leaf use shopVOX?

Turning Leaf started using shopVOX as its print shop software in 2018.

The non-profit’s Director of Social Enterprise, Leslie Simmons, is the primary user of shopVOX at Turning Leaf. The customer resource management (CRM) tools allow her to use shopVOX for all of the shop’s customer-facing activities which include creating quotes, sales orders, while also taking payments, and managing invoices.

shopVOX also helps Turning Leaf manage their active jobs in production. Rhyne has said that shopVOX’s work orders have been a dream to work with, as it makes it easy for the employees of the print shop to understanding all the details of a customer’s order when a job goes into production.

The print shop is the social enterprise at Turning Leaf and is an essential component to the success of the whole program. Their shop management system, shopVOX, helps Turning Leaf run the daily operations of the print shop, which is a crucial part of their success. According to Rhyne, shopVOX is their “one-stop customer-management system. We couldn’t do it without [shopVOX].”