First impressions in the workplace are everything. That was the message underlying a benefit cocktail party and screening on Wednesday, June 12 at The Cutting Room in Manhattan for Bottomless Closet, a charity that helps disadvantaged women get on their feet. The highlight was the premiere of the short documentary “Real Women on the REEL” by Respect! Films. The event, also called Real Women on the REEL, was to support those real women, bringing awareness and funding for the New York City based organization. The evening also featured a raffle with exciting prize packages that included a Jack Spade bag and a session with a personal stylist.
The Cutting Room club was abuzz with anticipation for the film. The steady thump of DJ Andrew Smith’s music and flashing from a photo booth, in keeping with the evening’s theme, added to the excitement. SKYY Vodka and Brooklyn Brewery generously supplied cold beer and for the more adventurous, a punch named for the charity created by Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktails. The 200 or so attendees munched on mini sliders and super-thin crust pizza provided by the Cutting Room.
Respect! Films, an independent production company founded by Patrick Meany and Jordan Rennert, focuses on groundbreaking content in its documentaries and web series. “Real Women on the REEL” presented the stories of women preparing for job interviews with the help of Bottomless Closet, which gives them confidence through clothing and coaching. The film showed how several women had achieved self-sufficiency with the assistance of Bottomless Closet, just a few of the charity’s success stories.
The group was founded in 1999 in response to a New York Times article that discussed the difficulties faced by mothers on public assistance looking for jobs. Its mission is to help them overcome some of these obstacles. Bottomless Closet provides support for a diverse range of disadvantaged women looking to prepare for the job market and workforce. Its career program covers business attire, interview preparation, professional development, financial management as well as personal enrichment, and provides ongoing guidance through seminars and workshops.
Volunteer driven, Bottomless Closet, works on the women helping women ideal. Kendall Farrell, its executive director, explained that the charity is a network of more than 200 volunteers, each contributing her own talents and expertise, from styling to editing. Jami Crane, the event chair, is a personal stylist and has industry connections to recruit committee members as well as sponsors and raffle items. Robin Kishner, another volunteer, enlisted her friend, Laura Herbert, to do the PR for the event, a further illustration of how the web of volunteers grows. Bottomless Closet is also supported by the fashion industry, receiving proceeds from sample sales or unsold inventory.
Bottomless Closet has given many women the confidence to make that first impression and to keep pushing toward success.