aDressed

The official blog of Gap Inc.

How One Idea at Banana Republic Fueled Transformations

ExperienceChris Nicklo, Banana RepublicComment
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This is a story about how one idea and a lot of passion can impact the lives of others. 

I work at Banana Republic, a brand that has always been about “transformations” whether it’s providing a graduate’s first interview suit or a bride’s rehearsal dress.  

One morning, earlier this summer,  I was captivated by a post by Yahoo! blogger Zachary Roth in which he wrote about long-term unemployment and asked his readers to share their personal stories. Thousands responded, (more than ever anticipated). It led to the creation of a Tumblr site called  Down but Not Out which featured personal stories from jobseekers talking about the need for jobs, but moreover hope and friendship.

A group of employees here started talking about how we each had a friend or relative looking for work and encouragement. This discussion led to an idea – “Why don’t we help with what we’ve got…  interview clothes, resume tips, and friendship.” 

Within a couple weeks (which is fast in the corporate world) we gathered volunteers – stylists, store managers, sales associates, recruiting advisors… who brought their skills to three “transformations” events in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

Non-profit partners and Zachary helped us reach out to jobseekers for a few hours of wardrobing (complimentary of course), resume/interviewing advice and listening.  We heard so many stories of frustration, but also stories of hope and possibilities. 

And it’s those stories and their spirit that have inspired all of us here at BR. We hope you like your new clothes and wish you all the best!

As we reflect on 9/11 and volunteerism, share how you give back to your communities. And join Gap Inc. employees on Facebook to share how you are giving back to your community. 

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“It is rare that a company such as yours would step forward to aid those who have struggled to reinsert themselves back into the mainstream. Thanks.”  - Greg

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“I cannot tell you what new energy I have for my job search.  Now, I have confidence that I was sorely lacking!”  - Becky

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“I have an interview tomorrow morning and can't decide what to wear, but I know I will be bringing a new and streamlined resume with me.”  - Patricia

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