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-1Running head: DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Dress For Success:
A History, Current Challenges,
and a Progressive Future.
June 3, 2009
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Dress For Success is a non profit organization who’s flagship location is in New
York City. In a city that is known for big business and a hark work ethic, the original
creators of Dress For Success found a large population struggling to make ends meet with
minimum wage jobs that were taking them no where. There were many women with
potential who simply did not have the resources to be presentable enough to obtain a
good job. The mission statement of their company is simple, build up a client’s self worth
and they will succeed. They give each member two suits, a pair of shoes, and a bag. They
teach them how to fix their hair, and do their make-up. Most important, they show them
how to value themselves, build their self esteem, and help them to see they are worth
achieving their dreams. The combination of these small things in has worked wonders.
Dress For Success has broken nationwide to many major cities throughout the country,
including Tampa Bay. Beyond helping clients get a start in the world of business they
also have leadership organizations where women meet once a week to hear guest
speakers who have made an impact in the world of business. They even nominate one
woman each year to go to a leadership conference, all expenses paid, where they are
honored for their achievements.
While the company has helped thousands of women in the past decade improve
their quality of life, they do have challenges within their organization. They are currently
unable to accept donations in locations other than Hillsborough county. They receive
several calls a week from people in Pinellas and Manatee wishing to donate, but they
simply cannot afford to pay a person to maintain a permanent office in these locations.
They also rarely get clothing donations for women that are plus sized. Ms. McGill
informed us during are walk through that women who wear sizes 18 and above wear their
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clothes out to the point they cannot be reused. They have holes in the seat and the fabric
is often ruined. They also do not currently have any clothing for men. This limit’s what
they are hoping to accomplish, as men are an integral part of the family and community
dynamic. There are many men who also feel there is no where for them to turn or that
employers will not be interested in hiring them due to their sloppy appearance or
inexperience. They currently donate all clothing they receive to other agencies as they
have no where to keep the clothing.
The challenges they face are obstacles but they are not impossible to overcome.
When I worked in retail we had a system called mark downs that helped to move
merchandise so we could put new clothes out on the floor. Clothes that had been new
would first go on sale, then be put on clearance, then more on clearance, and then
eventually they would be marked out of stock. These clothes were at that point not
sellable. It is possible that Dress For Success could get in contact with large retailers such
as Macy’s and see if they are willing to donate these items, particularly plus sized items,
which they do have a section for. This way the clothes would not be used and therefore
not worn out. It may not be an option but it may really work out. As for men, they leaders
of this organization could reach out to other areas of the community and to those who
work specifically with men and share there success with them, they could end up
partnering up with another non profit agency.
Overall Dress For Success is doing an amazing thing for a part of society that is
often ignored. When people are given very little resources it is harder for them to achieve
great things. Not impossible but harder. They have only been around for such a short
time, and yet have made such great strides. I’m sure the challenges they face will all be
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met head on, and a solution is in the near future.