I’ve never met a woman who didn’t enjoy the thrill of a new outfit. When you look good, you feel good. Cabi, whose fashion designs are sold through in-home shopping experiences, has been helping women feel fabulous for 21 years. The company owes its impressive success not just to fashion chic, but to its commitment to empowering women. This year, the Heart of Cabi Foundation took their charitable efforts from a national focus to a local focus. I got to participate in one of their Love Local events in Joplin, Missouri, and oh, my! What a fun day.
Cabi’s Joplin stylists, Stephanie DeTar and Kathleen Moehr, partnered with the Lafayette House, a sanctuary for women healing from the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse disorders. Throughout the day, 30 women came in for a personalized shopping experience. With the help of a stylist, each woman selected five new clothing items. From the background, I watched the shy smiles. The tears.
As Christine pulled each one of her items out of her shopping bag to show me, she explained that she is headed to Michigan next week for her nephew’s graduation. She’ll also see her grandmother, who is suffering from dementia. She looks forward to feeling stylish and confident in her Cabi outfits when she reconnects with her family.
“I’m still living on my grandma’s prayers,” Christine said. “I feel like today was God telling me, ‘Everything’s gonna be okay. I got you.'”
Dabbing tears from her eyes, W said, “I’m walking out feeling prettier than I felt walking in. I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I AM pretty! This means so much to me.”
As she showed me each of the items her stylist had helped her select, she said she couldn’t wait to take pictures to send to her daughter. “I’m going to wear this dress to church on Mother’s Day,” she said.
When I asked Kimberly what today meant to her, “Everything,” she answered. “I left my last home with nothing but the clothes on my back, so I’m starting all over. It makes me feel hopeful that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.”
Ashley was excited that her selections were perfect for job interviews. “I’m really hoping to get a job,” she said. “I have ADHD, so I need an active job. I really love this jean jacket.”
Knowing the giving nature of other Joplin business owners, Stephanie extended the offer for other businesses to participate. Blue Moon Boutique, Sophie, Bourbon Boutique, Magnolia & Sunshine, and La Boussole Medical Spa jumped at the chance to contribute items. Arvest Bank provided lunch. For the Joplin community, “love local” is a natural way of life.
Audrey expressed feeling overwhelmed by the experience — in a good way. “When they told me they wanted me to come to this today, I said, ‘Are you sure?’ I didn’t feel worthy. I just can’t get over this. I feel so pampered.”
She especially loved the input she received from her stylist. “I’m not always sure what looks good together,” she said. “My stylist gave me tips about what items to put together and how to wear them. I appreciate that help.”
This is not Cabi’s first event in Joplin. After an EF-5 tornado destroyed nearly one-third of the city and claimed 161 lives in 2011, Cabi held an event that clothed 500 women. People are still talking about it.
When I asked Lori what today meant to her, she positively gushed. “Oh, this has been amazing! I recently lost 200 pounds, so I have very few clothes that fit me. After all the trauma, this just feels so good.”
“It means so much to look in the mirror and like what you see after a lifetime of NOT liking yourself,” she said. “I’m overjoyed. Thank you so much for including me.”
On behalf of the women of Joplin, thank you Cabi for your commitment to women, and particularly for your desire to Love Local. You changed lives today. Tomorrow WILL be better than yesterday for some very grateful, and now confident, women.
Special thanks to Makala Towner of Towner Studios for all the photos.