ANNIVERSARY ISSUES: In the midst of its 75th anniversary celebration, Talbots has again joined forces with Dress for Success.
For what is its eighth annual collaboration with the organization that aims to help women achieve their full potential professionally and personally, the retailer has created a capsule collection with messages of empowerment. Thus far, Talbots has raised more than $8 million to help women return to the workforce and to get back on their feet.
The feel-good sweatshirts are also meant to honor the women who have benefited from Dress for Success’ services. The words that were chosen to be imprinted on the sweatshirts were inspired by the multitude of stories that Talbots staffers have heard through the years of its association with the nonprofit. Available online through March 20, the three $70 styles are offered in blue, pink and white with such words as “Strength,” “Powerful,” “Determined,” “Hopeful,” “Confident,” “Inspire” and “Kind.” A blue sweatshirt with “Inspire” is being sold in select stores. Talbots’ senior vice president of brand marketing Bill Miller said the retailer is proud to support Dress for Success for the eighth year and to “continue to help women, who have been impacted during the pandemic.”
From the third quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2021, the number of women in the labor force without high school diplomas decreased by 12.8 percent compared to the 4.9 percent decline by comparably educated men, according to the Pew Center for Research. The gender pay gap remains steady. On average, men are working fewer hours in paid jobs since 2019 but women’s hours are unchanged.
The Talbots x Dress for Success collection also plays into the momentum the specialty store chain has had with sweatshirts and sweaters that carry inspiring words or statements. “They are always a success and a big seller,” a company spokesperson said, noting how the limited-run line celebrates the inspirational stories and accomplishments of all of the Dress for Success women and how the retailer is confident the words should resonate with all customers. “With the current casual state of dressing and knowing the world has changed, we knew that our customers already love our sweatshirts and therefore, they would embrace the ‘Inspire’ collection.” the spokesperson said.
Timed to coincide with International Women’s History Month, Talbots is trying to spark a shared conversation not just with existing customers, but also potential new ones through its #WhoInspiresYou campaign. As part of this “ Women Helping Women” initiative and to try to create a buzz about the Inspire collection, Talbots is encouraging shoppers, employees, female community leaders and lifestyle influencers to post images of themselves wearing the sweatshirts and to explain who inspires them.
The partnership with Dress for Success offers different ways for shoppers to get involved. From March 10 to 14, shoppers can bring in gently worn work attire and accessories that will be given to the organization. From March 3 through April 3, Talbots will accept monetary donations for Dress for Success at its cash registers in stores. During its “Shop for a Cause Week” that will run March 7 to 14, consumers will receive 25 percent off entire in-store and online purchases with 10 percent of net proceeds benefiting DFS in addition to the 30 percent earmarked for the special collection.