Employment service Dress For Success gets two mobile boutiques to increase reach in Southwest Pa. | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Employment service Dress For Success gets two mobile boutiques to increase reach in Southwest Pa.

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Dress for Success' new mobile boutiques - PHOTO: DRESS FOR SUCCESS
  • Photo: Dress for Success
  • Dress for Success' new mobile boutiques
For women looking for employment in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the two most common barriers they face are childcare and lack of access to reliable transportation. This week, the Pittsburgh nonprofit Dress for Success hopes to ease the latter issue with the launch of two mobile boutiques to bring its career services to women in remote locations around the area.

Started in 2005, Dress for Success Pittsburgh is an organization that empowers women through clothing, connections, and confidence by providing support like professional attire and developmental tools to help thrive in work and life. Up until last year, however, the only way to receive support from Dress for Success was by visiting one of its brick-and-mortar branches located in Allegheny, Butler, Washington, or Fayette County.

“So many women are not able to meet us,” says Tanya Mallory, chief executive officer at Dress for Success. “So, last year we started systematically trying to meet them where they are, not just figuratively but literally — going out to community centers, colleges, universities, faith-based institutions, and providing the services Dress for Success provides on-site at community partnered host locations.”

Working out of the trunks of employee cars, Dress for Success served 600 women during 37 mobile events in 2018.



“The demand for that really showed us we needed to provide our services in a more efficient way so we could reach as many women as possible,” says Mallory.

With support from corporate sponsor Accenture, Dress for Success was able to purchase two mobile boutiques with racks, storage, and a dressing area, and take its services on the road.

Dress for Success' new mobile boutiques - PHOTO: DRESS FOR SUCCESS
  • Photo: Dress for Success
  • Dress for Success' new mobile boutiques

The first mobile boutique unveiling takes place Wed., Aug. 21, at Range Resources in Canonsburg. From 5-6 p.m. is a VIP hour and from 6-7 p.m. the launch is open to the general public. Festivities will include remarks from sponsors, company leaders, and local dignitaries, light refreshments, and a chance to win a gift card raffle. Members of the Dress for Success will also be on hand to provide guided tours of the vehicles, demonstrate the organization’s wide variety of services, and educate the community on ways to support local women through donation and volunteerism.

The second unveiling is on Fri., Aug. 23 at Macy’s at Ross Park Mall. That launch will be the same times and format as the first, but will also include a personal branding experience for 20 local women given by Macy’s “My Stylist” Program from 1-4 p.m.

While the mobile boutique launch events offer a chance for Dress for Success to meet with the general public to Dress for Success and share new happenings, a referral is needed from a community partner in order to utilize the organization's slew of services. Organizations looking to make a referral can do so here.

After that, one van will serve the women of Allegheny and Butler Counties, while the other will focus on Greene, Fayette and Washington Counties. Nonprofits interested in having Dress for Success come to an event can register on its website.
 
“Our team is truly on a mission to reach as many women with our services as possible,” says Mallory. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every woman that comes to us leaves feeling stronger and more confident.”

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