In a continued effort to educate the public on our Bloomin’ Deals Legacy Partners, the Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) is thrilled to announce their affiliation with Dress for Success New Orleans (DFSNO). Both organizations have a long history of coordination and are encouraged by the opportunities this official partnership will bring about.
Dress for Success New Orleans opened its doors in 1998. They flourished over the following decades, growing to support hundreds of women in our community every year. In order to provide services to such a large client base, the organization moved to its current space on Josephine Street in 2018 — a space that includes a career center supported in part by JLNO’s Community Assistance Fund (CAF). The CAF grant helped outfit the center with laptops, collapsible tables and rolling chairs. The intent of the space is to create a professional setting and elevate the experience of each client.
The ultimate goal of DFSNO is to empower the women who use their services to become financially independent. This objective is achieved through a variety of perfectly styled programs including job training, resume writing and practicing interview skills. Career-coaching appointments are held each Tuesday and Thursday in coordination with mock job interviews, job search support and resume reviewing.
“The missions of [DFSNO and JLNO] have a natural overlap,” says Brianna Reddeman, Dress for Success New Orleans Director of Programs and JLNO active member.
Lori Byargeon, Dress for Success New Orleans Director of Operations, says DFSNO specifically aims to help women who are actively job searching and are job ready.
“These are women who are going to get the interview, get the job and keep the job,” Lori says.
Another service DFSNO provides is a fully stocked boutique specializing in business attire for women entering the workforce. The merchandise, consisting 100% of donated items, is purposefully designed to offer a luxury shopping experience.
“We work hard to ensure we offer our clients a hand up, not a hand out, by providing women a way to help themselves,” says Brianna. She goes on to explain the donations they accept are current professional clothing items, “pieces a woman could wear to a job interview tomorrow.” With the large percentage of JLNO members who are working professionals, there is a seamless overlap between the boutique’s needs and the donations offered by League members.
Naturally, JLNO offers numerous volunteer opportunities at the boutique, where members help sort and organize inventory, as well as accessorize the mannequins and jewelry displays. Volunteers can also assist with events hosted for DFSNO’s clients, participate in their quarterly inventory sales and pitch in during their annual Suits and Salads Luncheon. Dress for Success New Orleans is developing opportunities to further engage its volunteers, including trainings on how to meaningfully engage with their clients, during professional development and boutique shopping appointments.
This unique partnership highlights the interconnectivity of non-profits across New Orleans, proving there is strength in shared goals. JLNO’s concurrent Bloomin’ Deals Legacy Project partners, SWAP Boutique and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), are also community partners with Dress for Success New Orleans. DFSNO has provided professional attire for women in the YEP program and forwarded donated items they’ve received to SWAP that are more suited for evening wear than the workplace. This symbiosis benefits both the unified network of service organizations as well as the individuals receiving their services.
The Junior League of New Orleans mirrors the hard work and dedication of the Dress for Success New Orleans staff members, board members and volunteers. We look forward to many upcoming seasons of well-coordinated partnership as we develop the potential and style of the women of our community.
Dress for Success FAQs
Where to donate: 1700 Josephine Street, #101
What to donate: Clean/laundered suits and other professional apparel suitable for interviews. All clothing donations must be on hangers or neatly folded. They cannot accept clothing donations in garbage bags or boxes.
How to donate: Donations are accepted every Friday from 11am-2pm and one Saturday each month from 11am-2pm. Donation entrance is through the parking lot.