Dress for Success Houston has been bolstering the careers of low-income women with clothing and confidence since first opening in 1998 — but only recently has the organization been able to fulfill its mission in style with the opening of its new Eastside Street facility.
Pulling up in the parking lot, stepping through the lobby and into a well-appointed shop and consultation room feels like a first-class experience. For Ziegler Cooper Architects, the locally-based firm that designed the a portion of the project pro-bono, that was exactly the point.
"A principal at Ziegler Cooper said, 'We want to show these women what first class is, and that they are worth it,'" explains co-founder and president Nancy Levicki.
In addition to the shop and storage and sorting space, the two-story, 16,600-square-foot building is also equipped with administrative offices, a Career Center computer lab and a convertible meeting room for the Professional Women's Group, plus a rooftop terrace called "Expansion Plaza" that may eventually be converted into more facilities in a second phase of construction.
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression... But it's not just about landing a job, it's about building a career."
Since it opened in October, Dress for Success Houston has seen an influx in donations (the organization gladly accepts interview-appropriate apparel, shoes, handbags and jewelry, as well as monetary contributions) and a marked increase in the amount of services offered, with classes ranging in topic from mission statement crafting, social media basics, professional styling workshops and leadership seminars.
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression," Levicki says. "But it's not just about landing a job, it's about building a career."
The high-profile, centrally-located building has also drawn more professional ladies to its signature Women to Women mentorship program (up to nearly 50 mentor pairs this year) and to its volunteer and philanthropy group, Women of Wardrobe, open to young professional women 40 years of age and under.
Find more information about how to get involved on the Dress for Success Houston website.