California Closets made it happen for DFSO!
Dress For Success Oregon (DFSO) started the new year off right with a remodel of our clothing storeroom, compliments of Portland California Closets (see photos at the end of the post). As Darci Fredricks, owner and Chief Culture Officer at the local store tells it, “In 2015, there was an option to be one of the first 15 franchises that got to work with Dress For Success on a national level and we were one of the lucky California Closets chosen to start working with our local Dress For Success right away.” We at DFSO feel we were the lucky ones!
Fredricks says “From the minute we stepped into DFSO, it was obvious this would be a partnership that made sense on many levels.” It was easy for Fredricks to get her team to join her and her enthusiasm for the project. When she showed the DFS video during a company meeting, she had to wait a few seconds before turning the lights back on so people had time to dry their eyes. It wasn’t about being sad, but being hopeful. The other reaction? Clapping and asking “how do we help?” Fredricks hires employees that not only fill the role of rebranding closets but selects those that also want to make a difference at work and in the world.
“There is no better ‘gift’ you can give a human being than investing in their self-worth.” Fredericks knows this as her belief comes from a personal experience. As a young woman she saw her Mother leave an abusive relationship, enter a shelter, and utilize programs that got her mom and therefore herself through some tough times. For her Mother it was helpful to have a safe place with no judgement, a place where other women who had been fighting to be strong in bad situations would understand that she wasn’t a failure. Thus Fredricks realizes how life-saving the additional programs and support that DFSO provides to women are. As she says “It’s not just about clothes, but hair, make-up, interview presence, resume’s and the entire package it takes to enter the work force in a professional way.”
The Portland California Closets team has donated to other Portland nonprofits in the past and they make an effort to do group outings that support community charities. Fredericks knows first-hand that “when you help women become more productive members of the community, you are helping families grow. When children and other people see a woman ‘picking herself up’ and deciding to make a change for the better, it has a ripple effect.” She would like other people to know that every little bit of support helps shift change for the better.
DFSO receives a staggering 300,000 articles of clothing, shoes and accessory donations a year. That is a lot to manage! Thanks to Darci Fredricks and her team at Portland California Closets we have a new organized closet valued at $22,000; the beneficiaries of 30 hours of the teams work. Fredericks recognizes that employees and volunteers benefit from a fresh space as well. A more organized space will motivate and energize them which translates to the clients. Our New Years’ Resolution was finished in the first quarter all because of Portland California Closets generosity, commitment to volunteering locally, and belief in the work and the mission of DFSO. We’ll hang our clothes on that!