by Jahna Peloquin
Founded in New York in 1996, Dress for Success started as an organization providing workwear to underprivileged women. There are now affiliates in over 13 countries serving 65,000 women. As the recession hit and the national unemployment rate sits at 7.8%, there is more need than ever for this service. The Twin Cities chapter was launched in 2009 and has served over 1,000 women, and this weekend, they launch their first annual One Night One Mission this Saturday, a night of 40-plus coordinated fundraisers happening in the Twin Cities for the organization. We talked to Julie Moss, co-founder of the local chapter of Dress for Success, and Pam Mondale, co-founder of Guild Collective and host of one of the One Night One Mission events, to find out more about the event and how to get involved.
l’étoile: What is the inspiration behind “One Night One Mission \”?
Julie Moss: One Night One Mission (ONOM) is one way in which our local affiliate is allowed to create fundraisers based on our specific community’s interests and needs. It is a way to reach into many networks of people at once and is comprised of an incredible array of events happening simultaneously across the city, with this year’s tally reaching over 40 hostesses, each creating their own party to benefit our mission. The idea of one evening a year with hostesses/hosts that develop their own fundraiser is quite empowering. After all, that is the bottom line of our mission: empowerment.
l’étoile: There are so many philanthropic causes out there. How do you see Dress for Success having an impact – specifically on disadvantaged women who are trying to enter the workforce?
Moss: Life is so unpredictable. None of us know what the future holds when we face a major life change brought on by financial, marital, criminal, or medical issues. Confidence and motivation can really be destroyed. Many of our clients are consumed with paying for groceries, daycare costs and the like, so buying an interview suit becomes an impossibility. Our Boutique and Image Coaches provide beautiful, up to date clothing for interviews and job placement. We all know what it feels like to be dressed appropriately and to look confident; that shines through for an interview. When I see a client twirl in the mirror because she can’t believe her reflection, I know my job is done. It’s all about the twirl! It is important to note, though, that we also provide supporting programs for our clients that focus on mentor relationships and business skills. We aim to provide all of the basics needed for our clients to excel in their work place.
Mondale: We’re nine women in Guild, so it’s a natural fit for us to support Dress for Success. We support up and coming designers and artists, and fanning the creative flames of women is what inspires us. In a sense DFS fans the internal flames of their “clients” giving them a boost in their confidence and self esteem. I’m looking forward to this event, we’re pulling out all the stops to make it a great success.
l’étoile: Dress for Success is co-hosting an event at design collective Guild with Guild co-founder Pam Mondale and jewelry designer Stephanie Lake. How did that come about?
Moss: I met Stephanie at an event supporting Dress for Success. We share a passion for beautiful design and helping people move ahead. When I asked her to host an event with me this year, she immediately brought Guild in as a third partner. The fact that Guild is independently owned and operated by a team of women captures the spirit of the ONOM event and makes it the perfect venue. The generosity of the women is amazing, and women helping other women is heartwarming. When I met Pam Mondale she was just as excited about ONOM as I was. We are putting together a fabulous party.
Mondale: I’m a serious fan of Stephanie Lake’s, and of her jewelry. We’ve had a trunk show for her at Guild and I wanted to get her back for a second one. We’ve done fundraising events in the store in the past, Pillsbury House Theater, Minnesotans United for All Families, and we love doing it why ask people to shop locally if we’re not involved locally? Stephanie and I came up with the idea (the Dress for Success fundraiser) over a glass of wine at my house. It’s a brilliant organization that does good on such a personal level.
How to get involved:
While many of this year’s events are private, public events include the following:
Hosts Stephanie Lake, Pam Mondale, Julie Moss
6-9 pm Thursday, October 11
Guild, 4414 Excelsior Boulevard, St. Louis Park
Includes prosecco, seasonal bites, and shopping, including Guild’s curated collection of pieces for home and wardrobe, vintage designer clothing, antique furnishings, a “man-tique” showroom, Gwen Leeds Fur Accessories and one-of-a-kind jewelry from the Stephanie Lake Design pop-up shop with partial proceeds benefiting DFS. Click HERE for the Facebook invite and HERE to RSVP ($25 suggested donation).
Host Cynthia Courtney
11 am-4 pm Saturday, October 13
Second Début, 4300 W 32½ Street, St. Louis Park
Includes shopping the store’s fall selection of designer/high-end consignment, hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a raffle for prizes.
Click HERE for the Facebook invite and HERE to RSVP.
Hosts Angie Burcham & Medtronic Women’s Network
6-9 p.m. Saturday, October 13
Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill, 1623 Park Place Boulevard, St. Louis Park
The Medtronic Women’s Network Minnesota’s party includes appetizers and beverages plus raffle prizes and a donation table to collect items for Dress for Success (cash/check, accessories, purses, briefcases, jewelry and shoes). Click HERE for more details and HERE to RSVP.