Dress for Success Los Angeles
For many low-income women the professional attire we take for granted is a major barrier to entering the workforce. Without a suit, how can she get a job? But without the job, how can she afford the suit?
Janet Lavender, Founder and Executive Director of Dress for Success Los Angeles, knows first-hand the difficulties presented by something so basic as lacking a suitable outfit for job interviews. Janet herself was once homeless and on welfare after losing her job in the banking industry, where she’d worked for twenty years. But Janet got back on her feet thanks to a one-year stay in a women’s shelter, a business degree, and a passionate desire to help other disadvantaged women. In 1996 Janet’s dedication led to the founding of Dress for Success Los Angeles, which to date has provided over 10,000 women with professional wardrobes, job training, career coaching, and job advancement opportunities.
Dress for Success Los Angeles is an affiliate of Dress for Success, the not-for-profit organization that each year provides business suits and career development to more than 45,000 women in more than seventy-three cities, including nine locations outside the United States.
Approximately 70% of the clothing Dress for Success receives is gently-used items women donate most notably business suits. The remaining thirty percent of inventory is donated directly from manufacturers. Shoes are sometimes in short supply, even with the generous participation of footwear companies.
Clients are referred to Dress for Success Los Angeles from homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, job training programs, and other agencies that focus on welfare-to-work. Each Dress for Success client receives two suits: one for the initial job interview and an additional suit when she gets the job.
This level of passion and commitment from Janet, individual volunteers, corporate sponsors and community groups reflect the belief that every client who walks through the doors of Dress for Success Los Angeles is a true success story.