As Dress for Success Vancouver celebrates its 15th year of operation, we couldn’t forget about the men behind DFS Vancouver who have supported us over the years. The first spotlight in our ‘A Few Good Men’ series is Ed Des Roche, owner of Plum Clothing. Ed was our first official retail and corporate sponsor the year we opened, and graciously continues to sponsor us today. Over the years Ed has sat on our Board of Directors and has generously gifted gift cards and support to the organization.
How did you start getting involved with Dress for Success Vancouver?
Astrid spoke to me before she started Dress for Success in Vancouver. We’d never met before so it was a cold call. She told me about her ideas for DFS Vancouver and it sounded interesting so I said I would help as a sponsor.
Was there a reason why it spoke to you? Dress for Success Vancouver sounded like something that would appeal to my customers. We put some parameters around sponsorship for our company because we were being approached for support from many organizations. Big Sisters and DFS Vancouver matched perfectly with what we thought our customers would support.
How does it feel to be a sponsor for 15 years?
It feels pretty good! It’s a good organization. We’ve played different roles throughout the years, we’ve always sponsored but we were also a drop off depot at our stores for a while. It didn’t work too well for us because people would just come by with bags of stuff and it was hard for my staff to do their work. Now we do clothing drives over shorter periods of time so we’re prepared for it.
Any standout moments from 15 years of being involved?
I served on the board for a while and that was interesting. I had a strong relationship with Deb. Astrid is quite a dynamo and she is hell bent on making the organization work.
What’s the most rewarding part of this work? C
lothing and fashion is strongly tied to confidence for women in particular. It’s been a part of our DNA as a company because Plum pays special attention to customers who are more or less shy about fashion and feel insecure. Our staff are trained to make them feel more secure and help them dress appropriately. Dress for Success Vancouver is basically the same thing except they’re dealing with women who have huge potential but their one impediment is gaining the confidence to apply for work. Clothing is very important and Dress for Success Vancouver recognizes that. The principal is the same as our company so they completely align. DFS Vancouver often takes clients from low points and helps to leverage them up to a point where they feel good about themselves and have enough confidence to start again. That’s a very short and interesting story to tell, it’s easy to understand.
What was your experience like sitting on the board?
I was often the only male at meetings for Dress for Success Vancouver and I found it interesting, I learned a lot. I learned how female board works and there are some differences from one that is primarily males but it was mostly similar. Most board challenges are the same. It was a big learning experience.
Was there something in particular you were passionate about during your time on the board?
I am particularly interested in how the organization could appeal to sponsors. I felt there was a lot more the organization could do, the story is a good story and easy to tell. I feel like there is probably unrealized potential for the organization.
Do you have anymore thoughts or comments on the future of the organization?
I think it’s got a huge potential for growth.
Thank you for your continued support Ed!