A unique pop-up beauty boutique opened for one day in the Royal LePage North Bay boardroom recently, as owner Sue Symons and her team hosted a very special event for the women of the Nipissing Transition House.
While Symons and her team participate in several charitable endeavours throughout the year, this event differed as the recipients were offered a first-hand, personalized experience.
It was when Symons was cleaning out her closet for this event that she received some divine inspiration to host the pop-up beauty boutique. She came across one of her late grandmother Grace’s dresses, a woman who Symons adored and whose strength and courage greatly inspired her life.
“She left an abusive relationship with my grandfather back in the mid-forties and set out and became a very successful businesswoman,” Symons said. “She was somebody who managed to maintain a really good balance of femininity and kindness and lovingness, and had a strength that just wouldn’t stop her.”
Providing community support to women who have fled abusive relationships
Grace’s story made her think of the ladies at the Nipissing Transition House, an organization they’ve worked with several times over the years, and how something as simple as women cleaning out their closets could uplift other women.
“These women are coming in potentially with just the clothes they are wearing. When they leave, they don’t have a lot of money, so even going to a discount clothing or gently used clothing store is potentially money they don’t have,” Symons said.
The Nipissing Transition House is an emergency shelter for women and children in North Bay who are fleeing violence and abuse. Janine Lefreniere, the organization’s executive director, said they provide essential services to women and children in their care, serving approximately 120 women and 80 children residentially each year.
Lafreniere said that when Symons approached her with the idea of the pop-up boutique that would feature business casual clothing, cosmetics and head-to-toe accessories for the women, she thought it was a wonderful initiative for their clients, so Symons and her team got to work.
The first annual Amazing Grace Beauty Pop-Up Boutique comes to life
While Symons envisioned that the clothing and accessories could help encourage the women to return to the workforce, she also wanted them to feel like this was a special day, just for them. And no detail was spared.
Their boardroom was cleared out and beautifully decorated in Christmas décor and transformed into a stunning boutique. They brought in dressing rooms and refreshments. And each woman who had an appointment time just for them, had their own “beauty consultant” to guide them and help them choose clothing and accessories.
On the day of the event, Symons said her ultimate hope for the women was that when they come in they feel safe. “I hope they when they are here they feel supported and encouraged, and I hope that when they leave they feel confident, beautiful and hold their head high.” Symons now says that the event surpassed their hopes and more.
“We were blown away,” Symons said. “It was a much bigger gift to us than any of us expected.”
Lafreniere added the event was magical and that it surpassed any expectations they may have had. She said some feedback she received from the women is that they felt “overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and support” the event provided.
The women also expressed appreciation for the support, generosity, and kindness in putting this event on and they were completely delighted with the clothing and jewellery, she said.
Symons credits the hard-working women and men on her team for making the event possible. Despite the men not being involved in the boutique event on that day, she said they were instrumental in making the event come to life.
“They collected clothes, set up the room, spread the word, got clothing racks,” she said. “We have such good men in our lives and it’s important to acknowledge that there are good men out there and they have a heart to serve.”
Best of all, the event was received so well, Symons and her team have decided to make it an annual event, much to the delight of everyone involved.
To learn more about the Amazing Grace Beauty Pop-Up Boutique or find out how to support this event, contact Sue Symons, Royal LePage North Bay at 705-472-2980.