Classic Clothes is a non-profit community service organization that services the public by providing free clothing and household products to women and children and distributing them through various agencies and programs that target these populations throughout London. Our services include providing coats, gloves, and business attire for women entering the workforce, school supplies, and basic household items for women and children at, or just-below the poverty line, or those identified as "at risk." Classic Clothes receives support from charities in the surrounding area and corporate sponsorships. Classic Clothes also solicits local organizations for donations, especially organizations that are in the clothing industry, business attire, and organizations that supply general household items.
According to statistics 25% of women in the UK live in poverty; 22% of women have persistently low income (Rosenblatt & Rake, 2003). Single mothers and women are most at risk for poverty, requiring the most assistance, a result of "sexism and racism," a gender related pay gap, and other factors such as social exclusion (Rosenblatt & Rake, 2003).
A quarter of the population of households in London would qualify for help offered from Classic Clothes. The client base for the agency is low-income, female head of household families, who require help with clothing and basic household necessities. The program would collect items from various organizations and donations from the public for distribution from various points throughout the city. The organization would also pay particular attention to women entering the workforce, or attempting to enter the workforce, assuring they have the business or office attire needed to interview and work as these items are often incurred at great expense.
As the economy continues to decline, Classic Clothes expects the need for these services among women and children will continue to rise. There are many families experiencing increasing poverty especially since the gender gap and pay gap continues to rise especially within the UK where social policies still suggest women are not close to catching up in status to men. Classic Clothes will attempt to assist women in closing the gender gap, and assist in providing essential items to women in need of essentials for work and home.
The mission of Classic Clothes is to provide households in need with adequate clothing and basic household necessities so women and children can become self-sufficient and find the employment they need to improve their quality of life and boost self-esteem. Services include business clothing support, coat programs, residential delivery programs and children's services.
Classic Clothes is a distribution center providing clothing and basic household items to women and children in London. The program's focus is to provide resources for women and children to help low-income and poverty stricken women become self-sufficient.
The program distributes clothing and other items to various organizations throughout the city and provides assistance to at-risk women and children.
The objectives of the organization include:
1. Provide clothing to women and children defined as "at-risk" which includes women living in poverty, low-income women, women just entering the workforce, women that are defined as "head-of-household" with little or no support, single parents, children and women that suffer from abuse or other problems that place them at risk for self-sufficiency.
2. Provide basic household items for families in need, which may include cooking items, beds, furniture, silver wear, sheets, blankets, other items as needed.
3. Provide coats, gloves and other winter items to families in need.
4. Provide school supplies to children in need.
5. Prepare single women and single parents to enter the workforce, by providing basic business attire for interviews, and for employment.
6. Assist women at becoming self-sufficient, which may include any combination of the above items.
7. Provide referral services to other agencies and charitable services in the London area and surrounding area.
8. Network with other social service agencies so Classic Clothes becomes a "household" name, synonymous with a healing community interested in supporting its women and children, and ending poverty among women and children.
START UP ASSESSMENT
Classic Clothes start-up costs are minimal, as much of the supplies needed for distribution are donated or will be donated and many are used. Much of the work that will be accomplished will be done through volunteer services on an as needed basis. Much of the distribution will also be accomplished through inter-agency assistance, which will occur as Classic Clothes begins networking with other social services agencies in the area.
After budgeting and determining what grants Classic Clothes will qualify for as a non-profit agency, the preliminary start-up costs are assessed at $100,000. These costs are associated with distribution trucks and the main warehouse operations facility, and overhead associated with operating the office. The program itself will be funded by charitable donations and grants provided to non-profit organizations that provide relief services to women and children.
According to statistics 25% of London residents qualify for assistance provided by Classic Clothes; these include low-income, at-risk women and children and those living in poverty. These women require basic household essentials and clothing providing by Classic Clothes distribution centers to assist them in becoming self-sufficient.
Classic Clothes plans to partner with several other community programs to direct women toward counseling centers that will assist them in finding employment opportunities and other basic necessities including food. This will help assure that the individuals receiving aid have the best possible chance of succeeding in their mission of becoming self-sufficient. Individual families participating in the program will have access to one coat per family member, and up to 5 additional items of clothing per family member twice each year, and two business suits for women entering the workforce. One pair of shoes will also be offered each family member during the year.
Each family will also be offered school supplies for each family that has children entering school during the school year. On a limited basis, the center will direct families to financial services to assist with emergency needs.
Some studies suggest as much as 44% of the population in London consists of single women. Of these it is difficult to determine how many will be able to re-enter the workforce after their children are of school age. Some never make it. There are a number that never make it to the workforce, with the reported number of teen pregnancies on the rise. Child Poverty Action Group studies showed that 20% of children in the UK are subject to poverty, and that while child poverty rates are decreasing from the 1980s, the trend must continue.
Classic Clothes estimates that with continuous improvement, within the next five years, it may be possible to cut the poverty rate among children by another 5%.
Classic Clothes surveys of the public show that 25% of the market consists of poverty stricken single women, with 20% of children living in poverty as of May, 2011. Given this, women and children are a primary concern for Classic Clothing services. Women are shown to be paid less than men with a gender gap, and social distinction, having a much harder time acquiring employment and receiving equal pay and social status in London and throughout the UK.
The number of single women continues to rise in the UK, so it is even more critical that Classic Clothes work to boost women's self-esteem, so they can have "healthy hearts" and work to become even more self-sufficient, and care for their children.
Classic Clothes recognized that the most efficient method for distribution of its products is through local social services programs and charities that women already utilize and are familiar with. These include programs that service low-income women and children. Clients are likely to visit several of these agencies, including food banks and social services, including counseling or low or free medical care programs, for themselves and children, several times a month. Because these programs have volunteers, they can be used to help distribute clothing and other household goods to women and children.
Programs that can be taken advantage of include programs that help teen parents, and programs that help address abuse and domestic violence against women.
STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION
Classic Clothes marketing strategy will focus on improving its relationships with local charitable organizations that already serve the low-income community, especially those that target women and children. It will work with schools so it can establish a means of distributing supplies including school supplies and coats on an as-needed basis. Advertising literatures will be distributed to local community service centers and will be readily available at local libraries and social service agencies so consumers are aware of the services offered.
Classic Clothes will begin a Fundraising campaign each spring focusing on collecting donations from car washes, planting gardens and collecting from local grocers to gather gently used items from people that are done with their winter items and ready to donate them to families that will need them the following fall. They will target large corporations that are willing…