A NEW charity has been launched to make sure women dress to impress for job interviews.
WowFactor is aimed at vulnerable women on low incomes in the Colchester, Braintree and Witham areas, returning to or starting work for the first time.
It accepts donated clothes, shoes and accessories, which it will provide the women with for their first interview.
Colchester image consultant Thomasin Newton will work voluntarily with each candidate to help them choose an outfit, once the interview is confirmed.
If the woman gets offered a job, she can return to WowFactor to collect a free second outfit, to help kick-start her professional wardrobe.
Loraine Davies, of Pattiswick, near Braintree, came up with the idea and has launched WowFactor with three other women who she met at Kingsland Church, Lexden.
She said: “We have about seven seconds from the moment we meet someone, where they will make their minds up about us on many levels.
“One of those things we judge is how someone looks and whether they look the part.
“What we are hearing from the agencies who will refer the women to us is, if they come from a vulnerable background, their esteem will be low and they may not have the confidence to look the part.”
Examples of the women the charity hopes to help could be those on benefits long-term or even domestic violence victims.
Women can be referred to WowFactor by individuals, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or charities including Colchester homeless support charity Beacon House, or the Colchester Food Bank.
“It is all about making them feel good and look great so they get their job,” added Mrs Davies, a careers director in the magazine industry.
Mentors, comprising of a network of local professional women, will also support the candidates for the first 90 days after starting their job.
They will keep in contact via phone calls and Skype.
The women began appealing for donated smart clothes two months ago ahead of the charity’s launch, and items have been coming in thick and fast.
If you can donate good quality items, such as suits, dresses, jackets, blouses, skirts, shirts, trousers and accessories, or want the charity’s support, call: 07711 824874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org