THE FUTURE IS FEMALE
When I came up with the idea for The Nowhere Nation over 2 years ago, I knew that selling shoes was only going to be one part of the brand identity. My bigger vision has always been about helping others and that really comes in many different forms. I truly see every interaction in-store and online as an opportunity to do that, to assist women to find that perfect pair and feel truly amazing about themselves but how could I do more? This desire to help a wider community led me to search for ways that I could make an impact and as I've been reflecting on what International Women's Day (which is on March 8th) is really all about, I thought it was the perfect time to delve a little more into what I am doing at The Nowhere Nation to help empower and celebrate women.
Previous to the beginning of The Nowhere Nation, I was familiar with Dress For Success as an international organization and its Sydney branch. I had already made a pledge that when the store was up and running, that I would be donating $1 from every item sold to them as a to integrate my desire to assist in empowering a wide community of women. If you aren't familiar with the cause, this is a great rundown of their mission:
"Every year Dress for Success Sydney helps over 3,500 unemployed women who do not have the money or the support to invest in a job search. Often our clients have been isolated and are afraid for their future.
The majority of women we support need help to relaunch their career after redundancy, a challenging job search due to gender, age or cultural bias, the lack of opportunity in rural areas, a health crisis, divorce, domestic violence or bias faced by the LGBTQIA community.
We also offer services for women in correctional facilities or to those living with a disability. One-third of our clients are parenting and use their limited resources to protect their children from the trauma of financial distress. Women are referred to Dress for Success Sydney by employment agencies, migrant services, social workers, teachers or other social agencies. We also serve a small number of walk-in clients in need.
Services to rural and regional clients are growing across NSW with over 55 pack-and-send outfits mailed monthly from our Marrickville headquarters. We want all women to feel empowered, confident and self sufficient.
We are seeking to alleviate poverty for women, through building resilience and employability for all women in Australia.
We seek to support the disadvantaged cohorts of women that struggle to gain and sustain employment and break the cycle of poverty within families.
Our goal is that every woman in Australia who wants employment is can achieve employment and has the ability to support themselves and their families."
So I felt that I had a handle on how I was planning on implementing this giving back in-store, but I couldn't work out how to make it work for our online store and I knew I wanted it to be integrated for both. It was just by chance that a few weeks later I was introduced to the I=Change platform at a conference. The funny thing was that in the talk that I saw Jeremy Meltzer give, he spoke about a few of the causes and one was... you guessed it - Dress For Success Sydney. It was then that I knew that it was the missing piece of the puzzle.
If you haven't read or heard about I=Change before, it is a platform that links to our online store that actively helps us to change shopping into an act of kindness. Basically, we donate $1 from every online purchase, but the best part is that you as the shopper get to choose where that $1 goes at checkout, from 3 pre-selected causes, one of them being Dress For Success Sydney. So basically you shop and we give on your behalf - pretty cool huh?
Since it's IWD and we are here to celebrate women, I wanted to share just one of the many success stories from Dress For Success Sydney, a client named Thea.
Over 26% of our clients are aged over 45 and can often struggle with re-entering the workforce after raising families or caring for loved ones.
Dress for Success Sydney have clients that are referred from all walks of life and we were thrilled to meet Thea who had battled personal issues and was referred to us by a rehabilitation centre. Thea came for a ‘got the job’ appointment, our favourites as we get to celebrate with our clients. She had been looking for work for 5 months and her happiness was contagious.
Thea had previously been dressed for interview by us and once she found out about the workshops she was keen to participate in some of them in the future.
“I am so happy about my new start. All of the women here are so lovely and nice and caring and HONEST and I love my new outfits. Everyone has been so great.
This is the start of my new life, I’ve just found a house that I’m moving into soon, I’m starting my new job and I’ve got two weeks so I’m heading up north to see some of my family. I grew up in Goulburn but have been living in Sydney. I’ve got four grown up kids and I can’t wait to visit them and their families.
I previously worked as a traffic controller and I got a job in construction but once they saw that I had experience in admin as well they have given me a job in both construction admin and traffic control.”
Thank you to each and every one of you for coming on this Nowhere Nation journey with me. I want to celebrate you - the stellar community of women that have helped us to help so many others. Take 20% off a select collection of shoes - to empower your next move so you can do it in style!