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Radley Stories

People & Planet

Proud to be an Official Wardrobe Partner for Smart Works Charity

19 October 2022

We’re proud to announce we’re now an official Wardrobe Partner with Smart Works, the charity that exists to give unemployed women the confidence they need to reach their full potential, secure employment and change the trajectory of their lives.

We first teamed up with Smart Works back in March for International Women’s Day, when we donated £5 from every purchase. Our Head of Marketing, Louise Taylor, notes:

“We showed our support through a donation and highlighting the wonderful work Smart Works does. As an official Wardrobe Partner, we'll now be donating at least 500 bags per year, but our support doesn’t stop there. Many of our staff are also keen to volunteer for this incredible organisation and we’ll be taking part in The Big Stella x Smart Works Fashion Sale.”

The event will be taking place at Somerset House on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November. Hosting over 1000 guests, you'll be able to purchase discounted clothing, accessories - including our handbags of course - and beauty. With 100% of proceeds going back into Smart Works. Follow Somerset House for information on when tickets are on sale.

We spoke with Smart Works CEO, Kate Stephens, to discuss the vital work they do in supporting women. 

“The service is a constant inspiration - to see how fashion can be a force for good and transform women's lives, and to have the privilege of taking this service to as many women as we can across the UK.”

How did you become involved with the charity?  

“I started off in the private sector, in political consultancy and marketing which I loved. After my first child, I couldn’t quite believe the cost of childcare and decided to get involved, so became a trustee then vice chair of a family charity, campaigning for free childcare at a time when it was not the political norm. It really opened my eyes to how impactful, entrepreneurial and dynamic the charity sector can be. I got to the point where I was far more interested in that “side job” than my day job, and at the same time, the Smart Works CEO role came up. It was, and is, a dream job. The service is a constant inspiration - to see how fashion can be a force for good and transform women's lives, and to have the privilege of taking this service to as many women as we can across the UK.”


Could you tell us what happens when someone is referred to Smart Works?  

“We refer to our beneficiaries as our clients. Our clients are referred to us via the Job Centre or a charity such as The Prince’s Trust. We work with hundreds of referral partners across the country. Our clients receive one-to-one interview coaching and a styling consultation to find them the perfect interview outfit. The clothes are kindly donated by our retail partners and individuals. The clothes, shoes and accessories are completely free and theirs to keep. Once a woman gets the job, they’re welcomed back to Smart Works for a ‘Second Dressing’ to pick five additional pieces to see them through to their first pay cheque. This is undoubtably one of the best moments at Smart Works – over 72% of women we see go on to get a job within a month of their appointment. We like to think we provide a proof point that fashion really can be a force for good.”


What does it mean to be a Smart Works Wardrobe Partner? 

“We couldn’t deliver our service without the wonderful support from our wardrobe partners. Our wardrobes are carefully created to ensure our stylists have the very best stock to pick an outfit for our clients. Wardrobe partners support us regularly throughout the year, ensuring that Smart Works clients up and down the country have an outfit which makes them look and feel great.”

Why do you think Radley London is a good fit for Smart Works and how will we help the women referred? 

“Radley London is the perfect fit for Smart Works, with such a wonderful selection of beautifully designed bags (big enough for a CV or even that pair of heels to slip on before the interview), and an ethos that supports the mantra of looking and feeling great about who you are and what you can achieve. We have had such tremendous feedback from both our stylists and our clients about the Radley London bags in our wardrobe.”

Thanks for your time, Kate. We’re thrilled to hear our bags are already helping clients at Smart Works feel more confident in themselves. 

For more information about the charity visit the Smart Works website.

Make sure to keep up with more of the latest news on Radley Stories. And if you haven’t seen our October Edit yet, take a look at the New In section.

Smart Works Charity, Charity No: 1080609