CHARLOTTE, NC – Despite the fact that unemployment is at an all time high and the only concern of most businesses is improving their bottom line, some companies are making pro bono work part of their business plan.
Cynthia Urbanik is a seasoned veteran of the design industry and owner of the brand new yet quickly growing interior design company, CU Interiors, which is already making a huge impact on the Charlotte charitable community. When Dress for Success—a worldwide nonprofit organization that provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in more than 75 cities worldwide—decided to expand their operation to a 5,000-square-foot warehouse space, they immediately sought the design expertise of CU interiors.
Wanting to transform the old warehouse into a Boutique and Career Transformation Center that would be the life launching block for hundreds, if not thousands of disadvantaged women as they gather their lives and jump back into the workforce, Urbanik knew that she had what it took to get the job done. “I saw this as a win-win opportunity for everyone involved,” she explains.
“This new boutique was a launching pad for my growing business and a great opportunity to use my skills as a designer to better the lives of those around me. Dress for Success is an organization that I believe in and it is important to me as a business owner to align my company with nonprofits that myself and the community as a whole respect.”
Despite many obstacles and an extremely tight budget, the design for the new boutique was a huge success. Urbanik viewed this as a great opportunity to broaden her scope as a designer and to involve even more members of our community. Thus, stepping out of the typical “closed-door” design process, Urbanik made calls to friends, colleagues and community members to solicit them for donated time, resources and materials that could serve to transform the old warehouse into a glamorous and welcoming boutique. In almost no time, volunteers and materials flowed in.
Through the diligence of Urbanik and those around her, Dress for Success received free or heavily discounted carpet, drapery, dressing room curtains, signage, and upholstering services. They even recycled break room cabinets from an adjacent vacant suite, thus helping to put the finishing touches on this ever-evolving project. “My design for the boutique was continuously evolving based on donations. However, people really seemed to understand that we were looking for items that were special and unique. The women at this boutique deserve to walk through the door and feel a sense of dignity and pride. I believe we accomplished that,” states Urbanik.
Urbanik’s other work can be viewed on her Web site: www.cu-interiors.com.
More information about Dress for Success can be found at www.dressforsuccess.org/charlotte.