I began volunteering with Fitted for Work early last year in March and was given the opportunity to work at the conscious closest shortly after.
The two positions I currently have at Fitted for Work are, firstly in the Dressing Room as a Personal Outfitting Volunteer and secondly at the Conscious Closest, where I run the store casually every Saturday.
My role as a Personal Outfitting Volunteer for Fitted for Work consists of me working alongside other amazing volunteers. Our days generally consist of sorting through donations downstairs and assisting clients during their 1-hour styling session. The session is provided to women who are in need of interview and work appropriate clothing, this position requires you to be solution orientated and be able to quickly adapt and adjust to each client’s initial needs. I find having a background in styling, visual merchandising and fashion helpful during a styling session, however, it is not without its challenges.
Every Saturday I manage the Conscious closest solo from 12 pm to 5 pm. I generally start the day by doing light visual merchandise of the store; which consists of making everything look presentable, by tidying up and finding one of the pieces that will sell well. No one day is the same at the Conscious closet, often dependent on the weather. Some days I will be run off my feet assisting several different customers at once, whereas other days I find myself really focused on store presentation and have the time to get to know customers and regulars well. I spend a lot of time informing people of the services fitted for Work & the Conscious Closet provide, offer loyalty cards and encourage donations.
I have come to enjoy many things since being involved with both Fitted for Work and the Conscious Closet I almost don’t know where to start! I think one of the biggest rewards for me from volunteering with Fitted for Work is being of service to women in need. I have been given the opportunity to help empower women by providing a service that is focused on their needs and wants. To be able to see the difference on a client’s face from when they first enter the wardrobe to when they are leaving is the most rewarding part, often I feel emotional towards the end. I have had many women feel so uplifted and grateful for their session, that they also become emotional and will offer me gestures of appreciation like a handshake or a hug. That really gets the tears flowing for me!
I am currently studying a bachelor of social work at RMIT and have previously completed a certificate four of community services, since volunteering I have been able to practically apply the skills and knowledge that I have learned from my qualifications. This is defiantly a big part of what keeps me coming back, I feel that I can contribute greatly to multiple areas of the organisation and that for me is very enjoyable! Lastly, Fitted for Work values align with my own values, practically my feminist values and you really can’t bet that!
I have worked in many retail positions before, none of them have aligned with my personal values and from that, I have found myself very disinterested in the work, but the Conscious Closest is the complete opposite of that. I love working at the conscious closest! Again, my values align with those of the Conscious Closet, that being sustainable and ethical clothing. I enjoy working autonomously, being able to apply my Visual Merchandising skills and talking with customers.
Overall Fitted for Work and the Conscious Closest has given me many opportunities to apply my skills and knowledge, I am often challenged and enjoy overcoming the challenges and learning from them. I feel valued and heard and, I hope to be a part of Fitted for Work/The Conscious Closet for the years to come.