Dress for Success to get mobile unit to help more rural Hoosier women

Dress for Success in Indianapolis receives grant for mobile unit

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dress for Success Indianapolis is looking to take its work on the road.

The nonprofit, which has served more than 17,000 women since it was founded in 1999, will use more than $100,000 in grants from United Way Social Innovation and the Glick Foundation to purchase a mobile unit.

Volunteers hope to have the unit by the end of spring or early summer.

Director of marketing and development Shayla Pinner told News 8 that more than half of what’s inside the storefront has been donated.

Amber Palmer was referred to Dress for Success by Holly Family Shelter. She was paired one-on-one with a stylist to find clothes for her new job at a nursing home.

“Before I came in, I was kind of nervous. Once I got here and I met with Whitney, she made me feel a whole lot better. She really worked with me and we worked together. She picked me out some nice outfits,” said Palmer.

Women who are entering or re-entering the workforce are often the ones in need of professional clothing.

“There is another affiliate in Fort Wayne and then further up, but for central Indiana, we are it. So getting women here can be an issue if you’re not in Marion County,” said Pinner. “This new grant — our hope is to be able to serve those outlying counties.”

Dress for Success in Louisville has an RV that travels to serve women. Pinner said they have not yet drawn up what their mobile unit will look like, but they want it to be equipped to go to rural areas.

“There will be at least one or two fitting rooms on board and it would be outfitted with a laptop and technology so we can knock out the shopping piece and that career development piece on the actual unit,” said Pinner.

It’s not just clothes that Dress for Success provides free of charge. They also give women shoes, accessories, hair products, nail polish and makeup. They also receive career development to give women gratitude and confidence.

“A lot of people do feel intimidated for the simple fact that they really don’t have anything to wear, like, ‘How can I go here wanting this job and I’m not dressed for the part?’ But this right here was excellent,” Palmer said.