Wear2Start Society volunteer Julie Wallace loves fashion.
“It’s something that’s always interested me,” Julie explains. “I’ve always been interested in fashion a little bit my whole life, and this is a good way of giving back and helping someone else feel good about themselves.”
And Julie’s now using those skills to put together outfits to help women of all ages overcome barriers to success.
“I landed during COVID lock-down with a tiny suitcase, had nowhere to go and nothing to do and couldn’t get started again,” Wear2Start Society client Marin Megas explains.
But thanks to Wear to Start, and the transformative power of a polished wardrobe for work and other commitments, Marin was able to get back on her feet.
“It’s like having a professional dresser, so utter confidence,” Marin says.” Okay, this is the event I’m going to, that goes on, I’m going to be on Zoom, this goes on. They tell you everything!”
“I think it’s so important to help women of all ages and demographics to just find that self-confidence and empower them to do the amazing things we see the women of the boutique come out and do,” Wear2Start Society program manager Zoey Wells adds. “The feeling of just feeling so much better about yourself.”
The non-profit has helped thousands of women since it was started in 2001 and has expanded beyond its initial mandate of helping unemployed or newly employed women who needed a work wardrobe.
“What we do is provide clothing and personal items for women for whatever the next step of their journey, whether it’s going back to school, going back into the workforce, interviews, meeting with people in the community,” Zoe says. “Just to get them back in their community and moving forward.”
All of the clothing, jewellery, accessories, shoes and other items at the boutique are donated, and they’re carefully curated by dedicated volunteers who are changing lives one wardrobe at a time.
“Mostly the people come and they’re either teary at the end or they give you a big hug, so it’s so rewarding to see that a short time, an hour in here, makes such a difference to some women,” Julie says.
“It is like Cinderella and Princess for a day, my girl, yes it is!” Marlin exclaims.
And for Marin, it gave her more confidence in social venues and empowered her to start a new business in mediation.
“It allowed me to restart my life even during the worst of circumstances,” she says. “Having nothing at all, none of this would have been possible without the Wear2Start.”