Help disadvantaged women secure employment

by Smart Works
Bobbi Brown PrettyPowerful Pot Rouge
Bobbi Brown PrettyPowerful Pot Rouge

As a women's organisation, we are constantly striving to empower and support women.

This year, the 2015 International Women's Day was a fantastic chance to celebrate our acheivements and join in with the international community to talk about how much has changed for women in recent decades and how much more there is to do.

This year, we were lucky enough to be invited by the Mayor of London to the ‘Women Who Inspire’ event. Five wonderful women’s charities celebrated International Women’s Day at City Hall by sharing stories, difficulties and life lessons. Many of our volunteers joined us to listen to talks from some of the inspiring women who have overcome difficult circumstances to flourish and really appreciate life to the full. It was fantastic to get a chance to hear more about the crucial good work each charity does.

We’ve all been feeling #PrettyPowerful thanks to the absolutely amazing support from Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. This year, Bobbi Brown have released a Pot Rouge II cheek and lip tint of which 100% of proceeds (less VAT) will be donated to Smart Works. The whole Bobbi Brown team have been behind us, from selling salads in our honour to collecting clothing and spreading the word about Smart Works on social media.

We are extremely lucky to have such amazing support, Bobbi Brown also sent some incredible make-up artists to visit both of our offices and spend a day making over our clients as a special treat. We cannot thank the Bobbi Brown team enough for the astounding effort to help Smart Works as we look to build our presence around the UK.

Throughout the period leading up to and following International Women’s Day we were offered lots of support from organisations who ran suit drives for Smart Works and asked us to come along and speak at events.  We also took delivery of beautiful clothing donated to us by our retail supporters, including Hobbs and The Outnet.  All this means we have a beautifully stocked dressing room and some incredibly inspired clients coming to see us.

We are very appreciative of the fantastic support we have received and we hope everyone enjoyed the celebrations as much as we did.

Welcoming Sweden
Welcoming Sweden


We are extremely lucky to have such fantastic supporters who make it possible for us to provide women with interview appropriate outfits and interview coaching.
Recently we have had a wonderful professional photographer coming in to take images of some of our (willing) clients that wanted to share their experiences of visiting Smart Works.
We were able to create presentations with these amazing images to show the journey our clients take when visiting Smart Works and the difference it makes to not just their confidence, but their path in life.
We are able to use these presentations at events and as the images tell a thousand words, we find they really show what we do better than words could express.
Every single donation given to Smart Works enables us to help more and more women, we are hugely appreciative of every bit of support we are given.
Stylist discussion about interview outfit
Stylist discussion about interview outfit
Interview outfit options
Interview outfit options
Interview outfit
Interview outfit
Interview coaching session
Interview coaching session
Smart Works Edinburgh client and volunteer
Smart Works Edinburgh client and volunteer

We are delighted to announce that Smart Works Edinburgh has now opened and is providing each client with a dressing experience and interview coaching session to help them succeed at interview.

Smart Works is expanding its reach to help as many women as possible nationwide to gain employment. Providing women with a dressing, as well as interview coaching, boosts their confidence and increases their chances of securing a job.

At present, the Edinburgh team are working on building relationships with referral agencies in order to reach women with interviews coming up that need assistance. The team plan to hold an Open Morning shortly to spread the word about the services offered and raise awareness that Smart Works Edinburgh is now up and running.

Nine women have been dressed so far in the new Edinburgh office, going for interviews for a variety of roles including Admin Assistant and Care Assistant positions. The feedback from clients has shown how valuable the services offered are.

Smart Works Edinburgh aim to assist another fifty women by the end of this year, giving each client a fantastic dressing and styling experience and interview tips to help them feel fully prepared and ready to take on the world.

When Patricia came to Smart Works she had very low confidence and struggled to express herself. Within the time Patricia was at Smart Works, she opened up and her self-esteem was boosted. Patricia commented that she had never been around such ‘incredible, empowering women’ and that the whole experience had been a real inspiration to her.

Patricia said that our dressing volunteer Claire:

'made me feel very comfortable right from the start. She selected some very nice clothes of which I managed to get a beautiful outfit which made me feel so confident about my upcoming interview.’

Following the dressing session, Patricia had an interview session with our interview volunteer Sally which she found:

‘very insightful, I was given examples of how to effectively answer questions and also told what the interview would be looking for. I feel very confident about the interview now!’

Patricia went on to get a position as a Customer Service Assistant at Lloyds TSB and has been enjoying her experience there, she said that the visit to Smart Works had a huge impact on the way she sees herself and has changed her outlook on life.

This July, we have started a #Uniquebecause campaign to help clients realise that they are valuable to themselves and to their potential employer. We want to celebrate the different skills and attributes every individual has, and create a positive focus on the individual in order to increase their self esteem and sense of self worth.

The majority of our clients come to us lacking confidence and self esteem. Often they have spent so long out of work that they don’t know what to wear or what will make them feel confident. Many of our clients feel that they don’t really have value to bring to a job, and aren’t able to express why they should succeed in a job interview. We are asking people to get involved by telling us why they are unique on social media platforms using our campaign hashtag #uniquebecause so please join in!

We want to know what makes you unique, and help our clients realise that what makes them different is a positive thing, and that they should celebrate their differences and, in turn, feel confident about themselves.


With the help of Global Giving donors, we were able to make a short film detailing the vital work we do here at Smart Works. The film takes a look at the journey taken by three of our clients through their unemployment and shows the impact of their visit to Smart Works. It is a very moving and intimate portrayal which demonstrates that we all need a helping hand sometimes.

Please see our film here:

Our film opens with Kim talking about how demotivating and isolating unemployment is, having tried on some interview outfits at Smart Works she saw, in her own words, a “transformation.” Kim suggested that our dressing volunteers skills could rival celebrity stylists, “Gok Wan eat your heart out.” Kim also noted that the interview preparation session was “confidence boosting”. As a result of the self-belief that Smart Works helped to unearth, Kim has now gone on to become the Head of Customer Service at an international phone company.

Shyana had found it difficult being out of work, especially as she wanted to provide a more stable life for her children. Without prior knowledge of how to style yourself for a formal occasion, Shyana remarked that she was “happy to get the correct advice about what I should be wearing to an interview”, noting that, “all the staff were very friendly and quickly put me at ease.” Shyana left Smart Works with a spring in her step and was able to land herself a job close to her heart, as a Health Care Worker.

Mariam came to Smart Works after finding out that she had a shot at the Graduate Internship scheme which she had always dreamed of. Finding her way at university wasn’t easy, especially when suffering from depression, Smart Works had a real impact on Mariam’s life and future. “ I am absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity of the charity. I haven't felt so confident and good about myself in years! The fashion team were amazing and made me feel like I was worth something and could achieve something special-I have not felt this good about myself in YEARS. This was extremely inspirational! Thank you!”.

Smart Works changes lives day in day out and thanks to your contributions, we can continue to help more women and more communities.




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Organization Information

Smart Works

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Joanna Hunter
London, United Kingdom

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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