Dressing for success: The Brixton-based startup helping local residents ace their job interviews

Dec Connolly Editor

Email business@thebusinessjournal.co.uk

On demand laundry service ihateironing is collaborating with the Lambeth Council’s Brixton Tate Library to help low-income residents dress for success and ace their job interviews. 

The Brixton dry cleaning startup is relaunching their Brixton Library Workwear Scheme which facilitated the donation and lending of formal attire to local job seekers to look and feel their best for their interviews. It was one of the 16 not-for-profit organisations from across London to benefit from support from London City Airport’s Community Fund. The grant went towards the purchase of additional clothes to supplement the items already donated, to help support as many people as possible.

After having to be put on hold due to the pandemic, the scheme is now being relaunched by the Brixton-based startup in light of helping job seekers recover and bounce back from the impact of Covid-19, especially now in the face of the rising cost of living.

Matt Connelly, ihateironing Founder and CEO, said: “This vital project was interrupted by the Covid pandemic, but with the new cost of living crisis, we feel impassioned to reignite the Brixton Library Workwear Scheme and provide this much needed support to our local community.”

According to a study published by the House of Commons Library, the number of people in work fell by 825,000 between January – March 2020, and October – December 2020, with minority groups experiencing higher unemployment rates even two years onwards. 

As of 2022, Lambeth has an average unemployment rate of 6.3%, one of the highest among London’s boroughs. Connelly hopes that by helping residents of the local area look and feel their best for their interviews, it would have a positive impact on their performance and help them land their dream jobs. 

“Clothes for interviews can be expensive, and many people can’t afford a formal outfit that they’ll only wear a few times. This is the case now more than ever with the cost of living crisis. We want to make it easy for jobseekers to feel confident in how they look. First impressions are extremely important at an interview, and everything from your physical appearance, to body language, to confidence is taken into account.”

The dry cleaning and laundry delivery service is powered by a network of local entrepreneurs and master cleaners, and helps facilitate the donation of clothes to the library. 

Donations are now being accepted through ihateironing’s pickup and delivery service from the following postcodes: CR0, CR2, CR7, SE19, SE20, SE21, SE22, SE23, SE24, SE25, SE26, SE27, SW16.

The clothes are professionally cleaned upon collection and then delivered to the library, where job seekers can borrow the outfits for their interviews. After each use, the clothes are collected and cleaned for free by ihateironing and returned to the library, ready to be worn again. 

The Brixton Tate Library regularly hosts events and initiatives aimed at benefiting the local community, including offering workshops to help job seekers hone their skills before an interview. 

Job seekers can now also request specific garments and sizes ahead from ihateironing, and will be contacted by the company when a match for their requirements is found. Professional clothes can be requested directly from ihateironing’s Workwear Scheme, making it easier for individuals to find the right outfit for them. 

Matt said: “If the partnership proves to be a success, we’d love to engage with other libraries and employment and training charities across the capital. For now, we want to make sure people in Brixton and our surrounding communities know this service is available. We’d welcome wider support to make this a success, particularly from other third sector organisations whose clients may benefit from a service like this, and local businesses that may be happy to donate new clothes to the scheme. Our aim is to be able to offer a full range of outfits to cater to everyone’s needs.”