I Have Curves!”
It was my turn to take the next client into the
New Start Boutique. This is a job I enjoy because you get to know
the person your are helping.
In walks Shelly. She tells me she has a job interview
the next day and really needs the job. She is a single mother
of three and they desperately need the income to pay their bills. As
we look through the clothing we start chatting.
Shelly tells me how she has been going to school to
become a CNA, working part-time and raising her three children. She
is excited about the interview but embarrassed by her appearance. We
look through the clothing selecting outfits. I must admit it was
difficult to find clothes that fit her proportionately. Her
confidence level was already low and the fact that she was hard to
fit didn’t help.
I looked through the racks one more time and came back
with a jacket and slacks. She tried it on and opened the doors. I
saw her standing there looking at herself in the mirror with tears
in her eyes. She turned to look at me and said, “I have curves!”.
I smiled and said, “Yes you do!” We both hugged each other
and began accessorizing the outfit.
Soon we were wrapping up her new outfit. She
couldn’t stop smiling. We talked about the interview and prepared
for questions they may ask. She
walked out of the New Start Boutique a different woman.
A Second Chance
Marsha’s job grew from part-time to mostly full-time.
That made it time for some wardrobe additions!
Marsha left an abusive husband,
took computer courses and is determined to succeed. We could actually
feel her positive energy. In fact, after just looking around the
clothes in the New Start Boutique she gave me a big hug...we hadn’t
even picked out anything!
“Are you interested in skirts or slacks?” I inquired.
“I want to look good, but am more comfortable
in slacks. I’ve
noticed that black, gray, navy and brown are the preferred colors
and not jeans.” she replied.
“We want you to have four outfits Marsha; so let’s get started.”
She started looking at slacks while I checked out our
rack of jackets. The black slacks looked great with a snappy
black and red tweed jacket. Marsha stopped admiring herself
long enough to give me a hug. Then came the gray slacks and
navy blazer—another hug! While she was trying on some brown slacks,
I picked out an olive green ultra suede shirt, cream knitted shell,
a brown and tan patterned scarf and a gold chain. I asked how
she like this outfit. “It’s great! My dad always
said I looked good in green and brown.” Her dad was right, but
I got the hug.
My Son is Getting Married
“All I need
is a dark sport coat.” he requested.“Is that all? Just a sport coat?” I asked. “Yes,
I looked carefully on the racks out there and didn’t find anything. They
said you’d help me.” he stated.
Still surprised that this distinguished looking, gray-haired
man had such a modest request, we headed into the New Start Boutique. “I
think I need a 42!” he said.
We started going through the sizes and the first
one he tried fit nicely in the shoulder, but the sleeves were too
short. “I already have white slacks, a good white shirt and
sharp looking gray vest. All I need is a black jacket for my
son’s wedding. He just returned from Iraq. He’s
been gone over a year.” He continued to look around and said:
“Is this the only jacket you have in my size?”
We went through the rack again. All
that we needed to find was one dark sport coat - just one! But
neither of us could find one: everything was either too large or
too small. As I turned around, I noticed a black suit in our display. I
checked the size: Wow—it was a 42 but would the sleeves be the right
length? We were both silent as he tried it on. Yes! It was
perfect and the pair of black slacks were a bonus. “I’ll give the
pants to my son,” he said. “All I need is the coat. Thanks!”
Mary was choosing clothing for her new job.
“WOW! I never had four
new dressy outfits before all at once. Just think, four of them!” She
simply couldn’t believe it. “All I have are slacks and jeans, and now I’m going
to be working in the front office and want to look good. You
know, looking good really helps you feel good too. I think
I’d look even better if I lost about 15 lbs. In fact
this is definitely my chance to start over, and I’m going
to do it!”
A Day to Remember
I had an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I
was asked to help a client find interview clothing in our New Start
Boutique. As I ushered the woman through the doors, she quietly
yet very proudly explained that today was the day she had been working
hard toward for two years. She had gone back to school, and
today was the job fair in Oshkosh.
In one of her classes she
had been preparing for the interview process and actual work environment etiquette. One of the topics was how to dress
for the interview, and she would be graded on how she presented herself. She had been
in tears because she did not have the proper attire and did not have the funds
any. She was looking for a nice blazer, black pants and a modest
top, all in quiet colors. The job fair was that day in the afternoon.
She tried on a couple of things
and decided on an outfit that made her feel professionally dressed.
As we were walking back to check out, she pointed to an attaché’
case on the shelf. She asked “Would there be any possibility
I could have that also?” She left not only in a professional
attire, but carrying a special addition to her interview attire—the attaché’ case.
Did you donate the sage green blazer, the black dress
slacks, the blouse, the earrings or that special attaché’? If
you donated those items, you made a woman cry...with joy and thankfulness. The
hug I received was for all of you who donated clothing for our New
Start Boutique. By the way—she got the job!
The Perfect Fit
What I love about helping
people in the New Start Boutique is that fact that you get to know them
as people. We talk about the what type of position they
are interviewing for and where they are interviewing. We ask about their
favorite colors and most comfortable sizes. But often what happens is
we get to hear their story.
Bob came in one day because he had a job interview as a
store manager in a big box store. It struck me funny because that is
the top position in that particular store...he would be in-charge of everything. We
usually don’t see clients applying for this type of position. As we talked,
I found out how he got to where he was and why he was at the New Start Boutique.
Bob had been battling cancer for a long time. Because
of his illness, he lost his job, and insurance. As his medical expenses
increased he went through his entire savings. Soon he couldn’t afford
his house payments and lost his house.
Then a miracle happened - his cancer went into remission. He
was feeling great, and gaining back all the weight he lost. Truly he
was back on the road to health and happiness. Bob had been a store manager
before his illness and was ready to begin working again. He found the
classified section and discovered a job opening as a store manager in a Pet
Store. So it was very important that we find just the right interview
outfit for Bob.
I was trying to find just the right suit for Bob. But
when I got to his size on the rack—there was only one left! The color
was perfect for him but would it fit? The smile on Bob’s face told me
it was a perfect fit. He was ready to go back to work and get a new
start on life.