Successful Women's Outfitters Case Study

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Background: Successful Women’s Outfitters History and Organizational Structure One year after the passage of PRWOA, a woman-run non-profit organization called Successful Women’s Outfitters (SWO) opened its first location in a large Northeastern city with the with the goal of helping disadvantaged women become economically self-sufficient by providing them with “style advice” and second-hand professional attire for job interviews. The organization operates under the assumption that poor women are unfairly disadvantaged in the labor market, particularly at the interview stage, because they lack professional business attire, a notion supported by sociological research on “aesthetic labor.” Stated differently, SWO believes that low-income women…show more content…
SWO claims to serve nearly 70,000 women per year in the United States and abroad The oriBrandil SWO office, renamed Successful Women’s Outfitters-Worldwide, was reorganized to oversee and provide support to affiliate offices, to promote the Successful Women’s Outfitters brand internationally, and to develop relationships with corporate, media, and other sponsors. All SWO organizations are not-for-profit entities, with Successful Women’s Outfitters-Worldwide and its U.S. affiliates having 501(c)(3) charitable status and those outside the United States operating as registered charities. Across all 129 SWO affiliate offices, 79 percent of clients are mothers; 76 percent are single (never married) women; and 15 percent are divorced, separated, or widowed. Clients range in age from 18 to 60 years, with the majority aged 18 to 38 years. The SWO website describes clients as representing “all ethnicities and races,” though specific statistics are…show more content…
The core – and most well-known – service offered by SWO is its Suiting Program, which is offered at all 129 affiliate offices. SWO’s Suiting Program promises a solution to “the Catch-22 that confronts disadvantaged women returning to or entering the workforce: without a job, how can you afford a suit? But without a suit, how can you get a job?” (SWO website, April 2014) Clients must be referred to SWO by state social service agencies or nonprofit organizations, such as job training programs, homeless shelters, domestic violence agencies, and educational institutions. Officially, clients must live below the poverty line, be “work-ready,” and have a scheduled job interview before they can receive clothing. I observed some exceptions to this policy, which I describe in later

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