Online Project Showcase

First Impressions – a clothing library for, and operated by, long-term unemployed women, offering appropriate outfits for job interviews plus opportunities to be empowered and upskill.

  • Organisation:

    Cire Services Inc

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    Cire Services Inc

  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Mooroolbark, Yarra Ranges Local Government Area

  • Target Groups:

    Gay and Lesbian
    Rural / Regional


Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):


  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):


  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:

    DGR1 (item 1)

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Cire Services Inc.

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 15 Jul 2019
  • Project Completion Date:
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • Helping long-term unemployed women in the Yarra Ranges, where there is much socio-economic disadvantage and generational poverty, by:
    * providing access to good quality and appropriate clothing for loan/purchase job interviews and other important occasions
    * helping upskill women who help run the project voluntarily in areas such as project management/store management/retail skills/merchandising, sewing, design and customer service/communication
    * helping boost the self-confidence and self worth of disadvantaged women
    * helping reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness and potential risk of mental health issues among disadvantaged women
    * encouraging the recyling, re purposing of clothing which helps address environmental issues and promote Fair Trade.
    * the exchange is located in an easily accessible shopping centre that was looking for tenants to help revitalise the precinct.
  • Project Description:
  • First Impressions Clothing Exchange is a 'clothing library' operated by and for long-term unemployed women in the Outer East of Melbourne. Established by Cire Services Inc, a not-for-profit unique to the Yarra Ranges, the library provides low cost items for loan/purchase to disadvantaged women who need good clothing to attend interviews and other events. The project was designed and developed by a group of long-term unemployed women from a variety of backgrounds who are engaged with EmploymentPlus JobActive service in Lilydale and participate in the Women’s Warehouse Essentials pre-accredited program at Cire Training. In addition to providing access to clothing, the initiative helps upskill the volunteers who help run the library in areas such as project management/store management/retail skills/merchandising, sewing, design, and customer service/communication. One woman has already gained full time employment as a result of her involvement in First Impressions.

    If successful in receiving grant monies, First Impressions would like to rent its own premises and use the money for shop fitting requirements and general overhead expenses such as rent, utilities etc. Our current rent is based on an in-kind arrangement with an artist- in-residence. Cire is also contributing $$ through course participation and enrolments fees.

    With any grant monies, we would also be able to enrol women participating in the program in Cire’s pre – accredited “small business” course, with potential to assist women further with either pre – accredited or accredited courses based on their individual goals. We also plan on running smaller workshop sessions and tasters for clients as well as the volunteers. We have engaged further with our existing partnership with Employment Plus and hope to be able participate in ’The work for the Dole’ scheme to reach out and allow further development to those women seeking to enhance and develop their employability skills in the eastern suburbs.

    Our vision and long term goal is to expand on our current model and open a second First Impressions premises in Yarra Junction to help service clients who are more regional and to also deliver the pre –accredited programs. To date we have been funded through Cire and charitable in-kind donations, and gifted donations through local businesses such as Bunnings, Once Loved Clothing in Mooroolbark and community residents.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • The women who designed the project identified that lack of access to business and other quality clothing was a barrier to employment and social engagement for many of them. In addition, they wanted a space where they could develop identified employability skills in management, retail, design, merchandising etc that was tailored to their needs and concerns. A clothing library was deemed more suitable to the ongoing concerns of the community in comparison to other options and local offerings (Op shops etc). The opportunities for program delivery and community building are significant and focused on the self-identified needs of local women.

    The women range in age from 18 to 50+ and have been unemployed for 12 months or more.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • Many of the women involved in First Impressions are engaged with EmploymentPlus JobActive service in Lilydale and participate in Cire Training's Women’s Warehouse Essentials pre-accredited program. The project empowers them and gives them a hand up in changing/improving their circumstances. It is hoped First Impressions can be the first of such initiatives in the region.

    It provides a safe space to deliver women-focused programs to those experiencing a range of barriers. For example, Cire Services has extensive experience delivering financial literacy training to survivors of family violence and women-only spaces are an important part of this.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • The project is designed to empower women and invest in their future, those of their children, and also strengthen their families and their communities by:
    * helping maximise their opportunities for employment by dressing the part
    * boosting their confidence to engage with others as well present well at job interviews and other important engagements.
    * boost their sense of self-worth, reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness and risk of mental health issues
    * helping upskill those assisting running the outlet in areas such as project management/store management/retail skills/merchandising, sewing, design, customer service/communication, leadership/management
    * it is a hand up, not a hand out, for a solution-based approach that they have identified
    * provides greater visibility of the issues facing women in our region
    * provides a space for related programs such as sewing or mentoring
    * sustainable model for women’s empowerment, and their improved economic and educational outcomes
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • Our project is new and we are in the process of organising some coverage through local media outlets.

    It will help increase community visibility of the issues facing unemployed women in our region and a base to develop relevant partnerships. Also the issue of family violence.

    Stay in touch by checking our website or following us on facebook:

    Page -
    Handle - @cirefirstimpressions

    Webpage -
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • The success of the project will be measured on a regular/ongoing basis by:
    * the number of women using the service and potentially gaining employment
    * the number of women helping run the outlet and their level of engagement, upskilling, leadership, confide
    * since opening on 15 July, one woman involved since the beginning, was able to tell a future employer, at an interview for a shopping centre “Pop-up” shop retail role, about the skills she has acquired and the experience she has gained by being part of the “project team”. She gained the job!
    * increased community visibility of the issues facing unemployed women in our region
    * development of relevant partnerships and networking opportunities for participants to grow their employment prospects.
    * interest in related programs on site such as sewing or mentoring as well as Cire's pre accredited programs

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Sandra Bucovaz

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone: