This article was original posted by Delaware County News Network, on Thursday, October 4th, 2012.
By Anne Neborak
“During tough economic times, women buy more lipstick and nail polish to feel better. It’s a small thing but affordable when you are feeling you need a lift after losing a job,” says Career Coach Susan Price. Price has counseled many women at the Women’s Resource Center in Wayne, and sees how looks can affect their ability to get that interview and find a job especially in these hard times.
Marc Voci of Ridley, a hair salon owner at Marc Voci Salon and Color Bar and creator of Style Me Hired, has seen this transformation on a daily basis after women have their hair cut and colored. Voci grew up around the salon business. His grandmother was a hairdresser and so was his mother, Rosalie Voci. His mom was by his side last month at the Omni Hotel as 100 Style Me Hired Makeover winners had a chance to learn new skills and try them out with future employers.
“I see how a makeover can change a life each day. The first time I made over five women, and two received jobs. It’s amazing. I paired up with Career Wardrobe to have the women receive a complete outfit. Roe Falcone of EDSI set up a job fair. Twenty-five salons came together from Philadelphia and Delaware Valley volunteering their time to make over these women,” said Voci.
When Donna Phillips walked into the salon, she didn’t know what to expect. She lost her job three months ago after working as an office manager for 12 years at Leo Dental Lab. She was notified by e-mail and was excited, though a bit hesitant, believing that something for free had to have a catch.
“Everyone at the salon was so nice. I cried while Rosalie was blow drying my hair. I just love my hair. I love the color. I love the cut. I tried to tip but no one would take money from me,” said the Ridley resident.
Phillips, next stop was the Career Wardrobe in Philadelphia, where again she would be overwhelmed a second time by the volunteers who helped her, selects an outfit.
Caitlin Day, the Education and Outreach manager, has seen many women come through the doors and watched the change as they put on a suit. Many women are on public assistance and have suffered in domestic abuse situations. With the Style Me Hired winners, they will dress 100 women who are transiting to the job market. Women are referred to the program at Career Wardrobe where volunteers help you pick out a suit, shoes, scarf, sunglasses and jewelry accessories. If you are in the medical field, they have scrubs you can wear. If you’re employed at a job which requires khakis and a polo shirt, they have clothes that will work too. While most of their clients are women, there are suits for men, too. If you get the job, you can come back and put together three complete outfits.
“We see 3,000 to 5,000 women each year with a staff of 10 and a ton of volunteers,’” said Day.
Career Wardrobe has stepped up creating classes in interviewing, time management, financial literacy, basic technology and digital literacy.
“I found my job online, I arranged my interview online, and I interviewed on line and got a job online. There is a gap that has to be filled with technology, “said Day.
“Technology is something that women need to be well versed in. Our goal is to empower women. It’s a good cause and no one can find an argument against it. The suit is the great equalizer. It empowers women and gives them confidence, “adds Day.
Phillips tries on a suit with the help of Lorraine Schofield who volunteers and has a college degree, but is looking for a job in the pharmaceutical field.
“I love fashion so I thought why not volunteer here, “said Schofield.
Schofield helps Phillips decide between a green shirt and a pink shirt to pair with the black suit she has picked out. Vying for the pink shirt, Schofield stresses that the color is much more powerful looking. Though she can’t find shoes to fit, Phillips is happy with her choice. She is impressed with the women who volunteer, giving up their time to help other women.
On Sept. 24, the Style Me Hired event took place at the Omni Hotel. The dining room was buzzing with the sound of hairdryers as makeup artists’ use their magic on women of every age, making them look gorgeous and ageless.
Along with Marc Voci’s salon participating, other local businesses include Carol Ann Salon in Folsom, Cambio Salon and Spa in Media and Salon Moda in Springfield.
“It’s really nice to see all the salons get together. When I started in this business all the salons talked to each other, then they became very competitive. Now we are all together working towards the same goal. I read about Mark last year and I wanted to get involve. People need to give back to the community and show people in your community you care. Nothing is more rewarding then making a client look good and that makes them feel more confident. When they are happy and smile it is extremely rewarding for me,” said Mary Rascon of Cambio Salon and Spa.
Upstairs in the Penthouse, as women try on their new outfits and have their make-up touched up, you can feel the surge of hope growing as they would face job counselors to look over resumes and demonstrate mock interviews. Just a few hours later, these women would use their new skills on competing employers. Mary Rumford of Chester Township had her own house cleaning business for 25 years. As economic times became tougher Rumford, who cares for her sick husband, watched helplessly as her business kept getting smaller. The 58-year-old wasn’t originally going to apply for the makeover but Anita Coppens, a friend at church and producer of the Style Me Hired event persuaded her.
“I feel it was God who did it. I was not originally going to do this my husband is sickly and I am making a transition in my life. I am losing customers in my cleaning business and the cost of operating it is too high. This is my coming out party, a new me. I am going to live instead of exist, “said Rumford.
Crystal Andrews of Philadelphia was laid off from her job at a day care a year ago.
“I am even job hunting on Saturday; I give my business cards out. I look online while I am at the EDSI program Monday through Friday. I am working on my resume and hunting for a job. This is great because they have mock interviews so we are ready for job interviews. I won’t let anything stand in my way. God is on my side and he put me on this earth for a reason. When I won I looked at my e-mail and was selected I screamed at the top of my lungs. Thank you, Jesus,” Andrews said.
Andrews won’t even let her tattoo on her leg stand in her way as Ginger Jones of Motives Cosmetics covered it up so she would be ready.
Lisa Farnese of Sharon Hill has been out of work for a month.
“It’s a great opportunity to better apply myself to today’s market. I worked at National Elevator Insurance Company for 11 years. My son’s Kevin’s girlfriend Julie Ayun, entered me for the makeover. She even helped me write the application and everything, “said Farnese
Roe Falcone who works at EDSI feels that after a Style Me Hired makeover a woman has a different feeling coming into an interview.
“You see the confidence. Many of our clients have had rough times, feel down and stress levels are high. This builds their confidence and it is a great opportunity. This can change lives,” said Falcone
For Phillips the experience was inspiring.
“I thought the whole experience was awesome. Women helping women,, volunteering their time to help me. I would love to start my own business to helping women my age. It helped me look at my life and find out what I really want to do. The job fair opened up my eyes to all the opportunities out there, “said Phillips.