You did it. Landed a new job. You have the job skills the company wants, and you’ve arranged daily transportation and child care.
But what if you can’t afford the business attire you need?
The non-profit organization Wings for Success has helped thousands of women in this situation by providing free, work-appropriate clothing that promotes a professional image and a sense of confidence.
Immaculata’s Fashion Merchandising program has partnered with Wings for Success for several years to produce a fashion show to support the organization’s work. This year’s event, on Saturday, March 25, will feature fashions from area boutiques, as well as original designs by Immaculata students and noted local designers. Other activities include a silent auction, vendor displays and workshops focused on wellness and professional and personal development.
Wings for Success partnered with IU’s Fashion Merchandising Program Director Lina Castro to create a contest for students to develop a marketing plan to help promote the fashion show. Students in Immaculata’s Fashion Marketing class teamed up to develop publicity ideas and present them to Castro and the Wings for Success staff.
Drawing on the marketing concepts they were learning in the class, sophomores Keira Bruecks and Rachel Scardapane set to work packing their presentation with creative ideas. They applied their knowledge of branding, imagery, and market segmentation to begin sketching out a plan to reach various target audiences.
To get a better understanding of Wings for Success, Bruecks toured the organization’s Frazer, PA office, observing the racks of different styles and sizes of clothing, from business suits to scrubs to designer clothes. Personal stylists work with clients to choose eight to twelve sets of clothes, shoes, and accessories that help them feel comfortable and confident. Clients can also attend workshops and get help preparing for job interviews.
With this knowledge in mind, Bruecks and Scardapane finalized their marketing campaign, calling it “Fearless, Fabulous Fashion.” They included suggested ad content for the fashion show, a social media editorial calendar for the weeks leading up to the event, and design for fliers and postcards. Bruecks and Scardapane even found a student videographer who would film the event for free.
Their comprehensive plan impressed Castro and the Wings for Success staff, who named them the winners of the contest.
“I felt like it was a good learning experience,” Bruecks said.
“Because of this project, we now have real-world experience in creating a marketing campaign plan,” Scardapane said. “Careers in social media managing and online advertisement creation are becoming more popular every year. This project will make our résumés stand out against others.”
But Scardapane added that personal achievement wasn’t her only motivation for doing a good job with this marketing plan. “We worked harder, because this was a real project. It wasn’t just about trying to get a good grade.”
Bruecks and Scardapane aren’t the only ones contributing their skills to support women in need. Their fashion merchandising classmates are joining them to help set up for the show, create decorations and visuals, organize vendors, design outfits, and dress the models for the runway.
The Wings for Success staff are grateful for the help all of these students have offered. The Wings for Success Facebook page gave a special shout-out to Bruecks and Scardapane: “Their creativity, marketing knowledge and fresh ideas are being featured in many of the Wings postings on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn through March 25th! We think they have a very bright future!”