Introducing 'Blessed', our take on the classic ballet flat and the most recent edition to our 'future classics' range. Constructed with a traditional technique using one piece of leather, wrapped and stitched around a rubber sole for ultimate flex and comfort. Not only are 'Blessed' made for dancing, they're also key to our new RADICAL STEPS program.
Our third initiative with not-for-profit partner Wear For Success, the RADICAL STEPS program will donate $5 from the sale of every 'Blessed' ballet flat towards WFS, helping them dress and train long term unemployed women in preparation for the workforce.
From day one, Radical Yes! has stood for women; creative women, working women, independent women, strong women. Passionate about promoting confidence and a sense of independence in our Wonder Women, we are really proud to support WFS in all that they do to arm the disadvantaged members of our community with the tools they need to seek employment and realise their potential.
As we launch RADICAL STEPS, we took a moment to speak with General Manager of WFS, Jodie Tuckwell-Knight, to catch up on recent WFS projects, the impact of our existing radical initiatives and ways in which you may be able to contribute.
We feel blessed to do what we do, and together with our radical customers hope to help empower other women to follow their dreams too.
Interview by Alex Birch
For those who may not have yet heard about WFS, can you briefly explain what services you offer?
We are a Melbourne based not for profit organization providing a personal styling service for people facing barriers on their journey towards employment. The clothing we supply is for our clients to keep. Our service is free of charge, and the only one in Victoria supporting both men and women needing assistance to prepare for job interviews, preparing to look for work, commencing work or other significant events. Our clients are referred by registered job service agencies and programs we have partnered with. The only criteria for referral is based on need and we receive no ongoing government funding.
In an effort to provide as much support as we can, we engage corporate volunteers and HR professionals to provide one on one coaching and work preparation workshops as an add on to our styling service.
Wear For Success has just celebrated its 6th birthday, congratulations! Can you share some of the organizations highlights?
We provided our styling service to around 175 people in our first year, and as of June 2017 we had assisted over 3,800. This year alone, we are on track to dress 1000 people. We have gone from a completely volunteer based organization, to employing 1.3 people – that said we also have nearly 100 active volunteers. We have extended our service days and just completed a total upgrade of our IT system.
It’s been almost two years since we last interviewed WFS on Yes! Journal. We’d love to hear about any recent initiatives that you’ve been running!
We opened an additional day to deliver our Career Support Program – we run one on one coaching every Friday, as well as workshops such as Computer Basics. We have more and more organizations scheduling us in to deliver our service as part of their program, these include ONTrac at Peter Mac, and Work for Wellness with Ostara. We have commenced providing presentations to jobseekers and students to assist with preparing for job interviews and building confidence.
Our RADICAL VISION partnership has been in action for just over 18-months now, raising just over $3,700. Can you tell us a little more about what these funds have been able to achieve?
It costs us around $200 per client to provide our service - $3700 equates to 19 individuals being assisted on their journey towards employment. If you think about the impact that one person potentially being employed has on their family, their employer, and society, well that is huge. And it’s not just the money that has helped, Radical YES! have helped spread the word about what we do to a wider demographic that we would probably struggle to engage without assistance.
Toe tapper trade has assisted with sales on our fundraising sales days, as well as provided shoes for our job seekers. The Rad team have also provided gift vouchers for our Trivia Nights, and Sunnies to raise funds too.
What’s next on the agenda of WFS and how can people get involved?
We are bursting at the seams at our current premises and looking at ways to extend and improve our offering and become self-funding in an effort to help more people… watch this space!
We would love some more partners like Radical YES; a sock partner, a property partner – if someone wants to gives us a building, or peppercorn rent, well that would be incredible!
We would love a PR partner – someone that could help us get some media exposure, and an event partner to help us get a major fundraising gala event in the pipeline.
We are constantly amazed at the generosity of our supporters and so very grateful for every bit of support we have received, without it we wouldn’t have achieved all we have, and come so far.