Finding the right clothes at affordable prices for job interviews can be nerve racking for most. However, Yolo County’s Short Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC) has a solution – the Suit Up for Success program.
Suit Up for Success – located in Davis – is a self-funding program developed about seven years ago by Katy Zane, the current project director. Zane saw a need to assist lower-income individuals in Yolo County with clothing for job interviews.
Since then, Suit Up for Success has partnered with two consignment stores, All Things Right and Relevant (R&R), located in Davis, and My Sister’s Closet, in Woodland. The program is also serving people in West Sacramento.
Zane said she set up the program in a way that is easy for both the consignment stores and Suit Up for Success.
“The way we set this program up is, people donate clothes, they put them on consignment for the Suit Up for Success program and when those clothes sell, they fund an account at All Things Right and Relevant and then at My Sister’s Closet,” Zane said. “That money is used when we bring a client in to get interview clothes.”
Each client of the program is paired with one of the six volunteers at Suit Up for Success. The volunteer helps the client shop for interview clothing, much like a personal shopper. Zane said the experience turns out to be fun, rewarding and sometimes emotional for those involved.
“It’s very uplifting. Every once in a while someone will come in and say so-and-so that was in here just got a job and it was someone that got the clothing they needed,” said Alice Aldous, floor supervisor at R&R.
Aldous is not the only store supervisor who feels that the program has benefited so many down on their luck.
“The large majority of the clients that come through have been really grateful to have the opportunity and have been great to work with,” said Rachel Rasmussen, who co-owns My Sister’s Closet with her sister.
Aldous also sees working with the program as a plus.
“We can make clothing available for people hunting for jobs who are trying to get back into the work force,” Aldous said.
Zane hopes the program will continue because it has been so successful, possibly due to the volunteer-client relationship and the clothing prices.
“As a whole, [at My Sister’s Closet] we want to provide an affordable place to shop and find quality clothing,” Rasmussen said.
Although Zane and others cannot say how many college students have directly benefited from the program, students can still help by donating their clothes to R&R or My Sister’s Closet. R&R accepts all types of clothing, while My Sister’s Closet only accepts women’s clothing.
Students of UC Davis can also help by becoming a volunteer for Suit Up for Success. Volunteers have to be 18 years or older, sign a confidentiality form and understand the nature of the service, Zane said.
To become a volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
KIMBERLY LAW can be reached at email@example.com.