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Location: Edinburgh
Date: May 19, 2021
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Fashion is at the heart of what we do.

Recently, we were lucky enough to receive clothing donations from one of our beloved retail partners, Treen. Treen have been been involved with Smart Works Edinburgh since 2019. We feel incredibly lucky to provide their beautiful and sustainable clothing pieces to our clients.

We asked Cat, the founder of Treen, why she chooses to support Smart Works Edinburgh and here’s what she had to say:

It honestly felt like a natural fit! Everything you do at Smart Works to empower women partly through what they wear is aligned with our own values as treen. We know that how you feel makes a huge difference to your confidence.”

As we at Smart Works Edinburgh, focus on creating the perfect workwear outfit for women across Scotland ahead of their interviews, we asked Cat what her go-to interview outfit. She highlighted:

“(Something) simple, classic and always comfortable. I’d go for things to feel my best in, like one of our organic cotton Edgar Shirts in a crisp white, the elasticated waist yet still smart black Alex Pants and add a Grace Bag in Olive along with Remy Earrings in a high shine gold – all making a great first impression without compromising on style.”

Without retail partners like Treen, we won’t not be able to provide the beautiful, high-quality interview clothing we do on a daily basis to women across Scotland.

If you would like to visit Treen, their shop is at 2-4 St Stephen Pl, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AJ. Additionally, to find out more information, check out their website here: https://shoptreen.com

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: April 28, 2021
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On Monday 26th of April 2021, we reopened our doors at 32 Annandale Street Lane once again!

We have been providing our services remotely over the past few months, with our coaches guiding our clients with interview techniques via Zoom, and our team in HQ posting our interview clothing parcels to women across Scotland.

However, we are back in our Edinburgh office with our wonderful team of volunteers by our side. This week we welcomed a few of our volunteers into our centre for the first time since before Christmas. One of our dressing volunteers, Annie, who has been volunteering with Smart Works Edinburgh for 5 years said:

“It is fantastic to be back, meeting new people, helping our clients again and serving a purpose. It is all round great to be back!”

We couldn’t agree more, Annie.

The true silver lining of the past year is our virtual service and the ability to reach more women in Scotland. We have been able to offer our services to women in the following areas:

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Lanarkshire
  • Aberdeen
  • Dundee
  • Falkirk

We are thrilled to be able to offer our amazing clients a more personal dressing service while we continue to look forward to the day we can welcome them into our centre again. Clients continue to be at the heart of everything we do at Smart Works Edinburgh.

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: March 10, 2021
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With March being the busiest month of the year here at Smart Works Edinburgh, here is a look back at what we have been up to over the past week.

Our trustees were heavily involved with the events surrounding International Women’s Day, with Kirsty Johnston, talking all things Smart Works at Brewin Dolphin’s virtual International Women’s Day event. Kirsty was accompanied by financial experts from Brewin Dolphin, who discussed the world of investments, financial planning and charities, all from the perception of women within the industry. Stylist, Numba Pinkerton, also joined the event, providing practical tips and tricks to help you master the art of smart/causal dressing.

Additionally, Bronagh Power, shared the work of Smart Works Edinburgh with all those attending Shepherd and Wedderburn’s virtual panel. Bronagh shared some of the challenges faced by our charity in the past year but also shared some of the opportunities that were presented to us , most notably the chance to extend our geographical reach so that we can now support women from all over Scotland.  The event was a great success with Bronagh sharing; “There were about 94 in attendance on the day but the event was shared across social media platforms. It was a great opportunity to hear from other women’s inspiring experiences and of course to share something of our wonderful Smart Works story.”

As the week of “Cycle” arrived and left, it became clear that this years event has been our most successful yet, with almost £32,000 raised for Smart Works Edinburgh. This year also saw our largest number of participants ever with 251 participants. We would like to thank you all for your amazing effort, without it, we wouldn’t be able to carry out the life-changing services we do to women around Scotland.

Back to News
Location: Edinburgh
Date: March 10, 2021
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Over the past six months, Amelia Ward has been our communications intern. She has been responsible for writing our weekly ‘news’ updates and email newsletters.

A student in her penultimate year at the University of St Andrews, Amelia studies French and International Relations. She is particularly passionate about female empowerment, journalism, and equalising access to opportunities for all.

 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Smart Works Edinburgh?

“Although I absolutely loved every minute of my time with Smart Works, I particularly enjoyed my weekly meetings with Emma Jewson and Beth Reid. With Covid-19 restrictions, it was difficult at times to really feel connected with the work that Smart Works does. However, accredit to our weekly calls, I felt instantly welcomed and developed a really lovely bond with the team. I would love to drop by as soon as it is safe to do so, and meet the team in person, see the office, and get a tour of the dressing rooms!”

Which articles were your favourite to write?

“Something that I particularly enjoyed about working with Smart Works was the sheer diversity in fundraising activities that were run. Between the Evening with Ayesha Hazarika event in September, attending a Winter Makeup Masterclasswith Bobbi Brown pro-artist, Aimée Morrison in December, and participating in our Volunteers ‘Show and Tell’ Social in February, there was so much to do and always such a great community atmosphere, that you just can’t replicate. For those reasons, event recaps were some of my favourite articles to write.”

How does the Smart Works ethos inspire you?

“The Smart Works ethos inspires me in many ways, but most keenly, in its emphasis on the importance of power dressing to feel confident in the workplace. I believe that giving unemployed women the tools that they need, through clothing and interview preparation courses, to begin to level the playing field is critical for the empowerment and betterment of all women. To me, confidence is a tool that should never be underestimated, and I am constantly inspired by the way in which Smart Works understands and responds to this.”

Although her time at Smart Works Edinburgh has come to an end, she says, “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an incredible organisation. Thank you, all!”

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: February 17, 2021
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On behalf of the team here at Smart Works Edinburgh, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to our incredible volunteers who have continued to support us through the tumultuous last few months and year.

In celebration of our volunteers we hosted a lovely evening last week where each volunteer had the opportunity to ‘Show & Tell’ an item with the group that has given them comfort or joy during lockdown, and to speak about one of the first things they wanted to do once lockdown is over. The evening was particularly fun to learn about the myriad of interesting ways that everyone has been keeping busy during lockdown.

From our power lifting femme fatale, Cathy, achieving an unofficial world record for over 60s in her makeshift at home gym, to volunteers knotting wool to make rugs, playing the cello, partaking in zoom book clubs, watching theatre and online productions to support small theatre companies, and so much more, it is clear that we have an incredibly talented community here.

We are so grateful for this incredible community of volunteers, and want to thank you again for the constant support. It is thanks to you, our volunteers, supporters, referral partners, and more, that it is still possible for us to support unemployed women through the interview process, equipping them to feel prepared and dressing them to feel confident.

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: February 3, 2021
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A quick reminder to our Smart Works Edinburgh community that despite Scotland’s third and most recent lockdown, we are doing our best to continue providing our services to women in need. So what does this look like?

Fortunately, we are still able to offer our expert-led, one-on-one interview and career-coaching services, which can be carried out virtually or over the phone. This has proven to be an invaluable asset to the dozens of women that we have been able to see over the course of the pandemic.

Furthermore, our dressing service will also continue to operate, as our wonderful dressing team works with our clients over the phone or video call to curate the perfect outfit, will package it into a box with love, care and a supportive smile, and ensure it’s delivered straight to their door. Unfortunately, however, we are unable to accept clothing and accessory donations at our Edinburgh office, but we’ll let you know as soon as that changes.

While the news of another lockdown was hardly greeted with enthusiasm, we are as grateful as ever for the everlasting support of our Smart Works Edinburgh community and referral partners. It is thanks to you that it is still possible for us to support unemployed women through the interview process, equipping them to feel prepared and dressing them to feel confident.

The next few months will be challenging, but we’re better prepared than ever before to make sure we can be there for our clients at a vital moment in their lives. If you or someone you know is in need of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at edinburgh@smartworks.org.uk

In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date by following our Instagram @Smartworksedinburgh.

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: January 27, 2021
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We are excited to share the news that in December 2020, Lucy Hannay became the most recent Volunteer Trustee of Smart Works Edinburgh.

With a 15-year professional background in public relations, Lucy has worked all over the world, firstly in London and Sydney and then in Scotland where she worked in corporate communications and events for Scottish & Newcastle plc. and Heineken UK. She is now a PR freelancer with clients including Dalkeith Country Park and is passionate about helping small businesses to engage and communicate with the right stakeholders in the most effective way. Lucy is currently working on an outreach program for Smart Works Edinburgh, promoting its new virtual service across Scotland.

Lucy was kind enough to answer some of our questions about her passion for Smart Works Edinburgh.

What do you find particularly enticing about working at Smart Works?
For me, it’s definitely the opportunity to be part of an inspirational female community. Between our wonderful clients, trustees, and management team, it’s an absolute pleasure to be working amongst so many bright women towards such a worthwhile cause.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Smart Works thus far?
I would say that it was the moment when I was asked to be on the Board of Trustees after starting as a volunteer. The transition to Trustee where I had the opportunity to meet all of the other female board members was hugely exciting and a real privilege.

How does the Smart Works ethos inspire you?
Smart Works truly inspires me in its commitment towards empowering unemployed women all across the UK, and its tangible impact on their welfare and future prospects. Through its dressing and coaching service, Smart Works not only gives women in need the tools to succeed in their job interviews and careers, but it also instils them with the confidence and self-belief that they need to transform their lives.

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: January 13, 2021
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Smart Works Edinburgh is proud to announce the launch of our annual Cycle for Smart Works fundraising challenge! In the week leading up to International Women’s day 2021 (1 March-8 March) we are asking you to get on your bike and pedal for a purpose! Across the UK, amazing participants like you are signing up in teams of five to collectively cycle 500 miles and fundraise for the charity. Each team member will complete their miles independently, making it a safe and way to raise funds for Smart Works Edinburgh. Last year our participants raised over £7,000, which was transformative in helping unemployed women across the UK return to the workplace and have success in their interviews.

Smart Works Edinburgh Trustee, Bronagh Power, has done the challenge for three years in a row now. Bronagh shared, “I’m not a cyclist, but I embraced the challenge because I feel so passionately about what we do at Smart Works in Scotland. Not only that, but you feel a great sense of achievement at a personal level, and it’s a real bonding experience. My favourite thing was sticking in my ear plugs and listening to a podcast or watching The Crown as I pedalled like fury.”

What’s more, there are SO many ways to get those miles in. Despite gyms being closed for the foreseeable future, there are still dozens of ways to get cycling and help out for the cause. Whether it is ditching your WFH desk for an indoor bike, borrowing a neighbour’s, or using your daily exercise to cycle locally in the fresh air, Cycle for Smart Works is the perfect excuse to get out of your pyjamas and get your body moving. All that in mind, we urge you to please cycle sensibly and in line with relevant restrictions. Every pound raised will help unemployed women across the UK to feel prepared, encouraged and empowered before their job interview. Now more than ever, our clients need your support. Cycle for them like the champion you are.

Sign-ups are now open for our Smart Works Edinburgh community at £5 per person via our sign-up link and event page, and more info can be found at www.smartworks.org.uk. Once signed up, each team will receive the following: a welcome pack with fundraising advice and a guide to completing the challenge, including cycling tips and exclusive offers from our official partners – Boom Cycle, a team fundraising page to raise money for your chosen Smart Works centre, and, a unique log in to track the total miles cycled, so you can see your team climbing the official leader board once the challenge begins. On top of all that, the first 100 teams to sign up will receive a limited edition Cycle for Smart Works 2021 t-shirt.

It’s time to spread the word, assemble your team and get signed up. If you have any questions, please direct them to cycle@smartworks.org.uk. We can’t wait to welcome you into the Smart Works community, as we Cycle for Smart Works in 2021.

#CycleForSmartWorks

Back to News
Location: Edinburgh
Date: December 16, 2020
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On the 7th December, Smart Works Edinburgh hosted our very own winter makeup master class in partnership with Bobbi Brown and Bobbi Brown pro-artist Aimée Morrison. The event was a huge success, and with over 40 attendees purchasing tickets, the Smart Works Edinburgh community helped raise north of £200 for charity. The proceeds of the event will go towards the cost of sending clothing parcels to women across Scotland, helping them through their journey into employment.

Here at Smart Works, we are firm believers in the power and influence of an outfit, and know first-hand how much of a difference an outfit can make for a woman’s confidence. The same can be said for makeup. We believe that styling and makeup emphasise confidence, and are far from frivolous pursuits. Our lovely trustee, Fiona Richmond, summarised: “feeling your best is truly transformational, and that is ultimately our goal here at Smart Works.”

Adding a much-needed dose of glamour to our Monday night, the event was informative and fun. Bobbi Brown pro-artist Aimée Morrison discussed everything from Bobbi Brown’s winter skincare favourites, like their gorgeous vitamin enriched face cream, eye creams, or illuminating balm, to sharing her top tips on how to freshen up your Zoom-ready makeup and save it from the triple threat of central heating, blistery cold weather, and face masks.

Moving on to makeup, Aimée main takeaway was that the power of makeup is rooted in “embracing your natural face and your natural features.” Emphasizing the desire to achieve a gorgeous natural glow, Aimée showed the group how to apply mask-proof makeup for the perfect winter makeup look. Some of her favourite Bobbi Brown products include the Instant Full Cover Concealer, Skin Foundation Stick, and the Precise Buffing Brush. What’s more, Aimée also shared some of her top tips on how to contour naturally, and how to apply concealer and foundation without looking “cakey”.

Transitioning to a more festive look, Aimée then demonstrated how to use Bobbi Brown’s new Burgundy and Bronze Luxe Encore Eyeshadow Palettes to achieve the perfect Christmas holiday look. She was also kind enough to show us two looks; using each palette on a separate eye to create both a halo smokey eye with the bronze palette, and a warm berry eye look with the Burgundy palette. By using a setting spray spritz on her brush prior to dipping it into her highlighter powder, Aimée explained how to focus your glow onto your cheeks for a more sculpted accent. To finish, she topped the look off with a sheer, nude lip balm. When asked what her best tip for makeup is, she replied, “the key is really just stripping it back to use fewer products for more functions – more often than not, less really is more.”

To find out more about the lovely Bobbi Brown pro-artist Aimée Morrison, visit here or go along to her Instagram @bbpro_aimeemorrison to see more of her gorgeous work.

As ever, Smart Works Edinburgh was thrilled to partner with Bobbi Brown to host the gorgeous evening, and will no doubt be putting our new festive tips and tricks to use (even if it is just to sit at home on the couch!). Smart Works has been partnered with Bobbi Brown since the launch of their makeup set ‘Pretty Powerful’ in 2013. Click here to shop this year’s Pretty Powerful set ‘Elizabeth Scarlett X Bobbi Brown’, the proceeds of which go to Smart Works charity.

 

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Location: Edinburgh
Date: December 9, 2020
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In celebration of the start of December and the festive season, Smart Works Edinburgh has launched our new social media campaign, The Outfit You Didn’t Get To Wear. We know that the festive season presents the perfect time to get dressed up and have some fun, even if it is in your front room, which is why we’re hosting this glamorous new campaign to get you into the party spirit, and raise vital funds for Smart Works Edinburgh.

At Smart Works, we strongly believe in the transformational power of clothes for women’s confidence not only in the workplace, but in daily life too. Thus, in appreciation of the power of clothes, we have launched this initiative.

We all have an outfit that we were looking forward to wearing for that all-important special event that was postponed this year. However, instead of letting them hang in our wardrobes, we’re asking you to style your Outfit You Didn’t Get To Wear, share it on your social media, tag five friends to challenge them to do the same and, if you’re able, make a small donation to Smart Works Edinburgh.

Besides the joy of getting to share your gorgeous outfits, we have partnered up with the glorious @sarahharanuk so that one lucky winner will receive one of her luxury leather bags!

So, if you want an excuse to put on your favourite outfit and support women into employment in the process, consider this your official invitation to join our The Outfit You Didn’t Get To Wear campaign!

Simply follow these steps to get involved:

  1. Get all dressed up in your gorgeous outfit and post a photo to Instagram or Facebook, and tell us a bit about the story behind it. Whether it is a gorgeous velvet top, some show-stopping sequined trousers, or a classic party dress, we want to see it, and know what makes it so special to you.
  2. Use the hashtag #theoutfityoudidntgettowear, and tag @smartworksedinburgh to help us find your photo.
  3. Tag five friends and challenge them to do the same.
  4. If you’re in a position to do so, please donate £5 to Smart Works Edinburgh via the charity’s  JustGiving page. All proceeds go directly to Smart Works Edinburgh, enabling us to help even more women in Scotland to build their confidence and get the job they deserve.
  5. And that’s it! We will personally read all of your entries, and the five that really pull on our heartstrings will be in with the chance to receive a luxury leather bag from Sarah Haran. The lucky recipient will be chosen by public vote on our Instagram Stories.

However, if you don’t fancy sharing a photograph, there is no need to panic! You can still make a huge difference to Smart Works Edinburgh by making a donation here.