Cabi stylists giving back

The cabi stylists at the Heart of cabi Foundation Week event in Swift Current, Sept. 11. Front row, from left to right, Lana Longmire, Marilyn Helgason, Christie Hittel, and Jackie Nestman. Back row, from left, Laurel Gording and Lorraine Smith.

Some non-profit organizations in Swift Current recently participated in a charitable event to provide the gift of clothing to local women.

The fifth annual Heart of cabi Foundation Week took place from Sept. 9-19 in communities across Canada and the United States.

It was the first time a clothing donation event by cabi stylists took place in Swift Current. Cabi is a California based direct sales women’s fashion brand. It was started in 2002 and the seasonal clothing collections are only available online or through a network of cabi stylists in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Heart of cabi Foundation was founded in 2005 to empower women in need through the distribution of clothing in communities affected by natural disasters, by supporting women entrepreneurs in the developing world, and by partnering with non-profit organizations across the United States and Canada.

Lana Longmire, a cabi stylist in Kindersley, was the ambassador for the Swift Current event, which was held at Fresh Start on Sept. 11. She was the coordinator of the event, but was assisted by five other stylists. They are Laurel Gording and Lorraine Smith from Swift Current, Marilyn Helgason from Kindersley, Jackie Nestman from Moose Jaw, and Christie Hittel from Oyen, Alberta.

Longmire previously participated in similar events with non-profit organizations in other Saskatchewan locations, but never before as an ambassador.

“I was very honoured to be in charge of this,” she said. “It was exciting, it was really emotional for all the stylists that came out to help. They did an amazing job. It was a great event, and I'm just thrilled to be able to give back.”

She reached out to three local non-profit organizations and asked them to identify women for the event. The 35 participating women were invited through Fresh Start, Southwest Crisis Services, and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Swift Current Branch. Each woman received a gift of five pieces of cabi clothing, which they were able to select with the assistance of the stylists.

“The stylists just took each woman that came in and found her pieces that fit her, and we helped them pick those pieces and try to mix and match so that they get an outfit that they can wear,” Longmire explained.

Eleven women at the event were invited to attend through the CMHA Swift Current Branch. Sarah Laybourne, the local CMHA program coordinator, said it was a really positive experience for them and they had a wonderful time.

“A lot of them said it gave them a positive boost to their day,” she mentioned. “They felt like they had a really special treat that day. They had one-on-one time with a cabi stylist, who helped them pick out individual pieces of clothing, they got to try them on there at the event, and a couple of the ladies actually wore their new cabi outfit out of the event. They wore their outfit home. They liked it so much.”

This was more than just a regular shopping experience due to the personalized service offered by the cabi stylists.

“The stylists were very friendly and knowledgeable in the clothes that they had there for the women, and the stylists themselves made the ladies feel extra special with the individual attention,” she said.

According to Laybourne the women really appreciated the gift of clothing and also the quality of the items.

“The ladies were very impressed with the material of the clothing, the fit and the feel,” she said. “A lot of them tried pieces they weren't sure about trying, but then once they tried them on, they really liked them. So they maybe tried clothes they wouldn't normally try.”

There was another pleasant surprise for the participating women towards the end of their experience.

“At the end, when they were getting their clothes in a bag, they also received a free cloth face mask, and a piece of jewelry as they were leaving the event,” she said. “That was an extra little surprise that the women enjoyed.”

For Longmire the experience of the women at the Swift Current event is a confirmation of cabi’s goal to empower women.

“Actually our motto at cabi is clothes can change lives,” she said. “We believe they can.”

The Heart of cabi Foundation supports the empowerment of women in various ways. When a woman signs up to become a cabi stylist, the company will fund a small business loan for a woman entrepreneur in a developing country.

Clients can select to round their clothing order to the nearest dollar, and this money is used to fund the education of children in Rwanda through Opportunity International, a non-profit organization that works to end global poverty.

A portion of the net proceeds from the sale of the cheerful blouse, which is part of the cabi clothing collection, is used to fund charitable events in local communities. The clothing provided to the women at the Swift Current event were funded in this way.

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