Karmen Masson knows a thing or two about how personal image affects self- esteem. Growing up as an overweight child and teen, she struggled with confidence.
Fast forward – Karmen is an adult, with a high-powered law career and a svelte figure. Despite outward appearances, the negative feelings remained and after a number of bad relationships, Karmen decided she needed to change her karma. Instinctively, she knew by doing good things for others, she could turn things around for herself.
Suit Yourself was born out of her parents’ 90-year-old apartment basement in Edmonton and offers clothing and style advice to disadvantaged women entering the workforce.
The start was rocky, Karmen emailed 5000 Edmonton lawyers asking for donations of gently used ladies business attire. Although the response was abysmal, she didn’t let it stop her. Suit Yourself now has its office in Little Italy in Edmonton and has outfitted over 1400 women and brags 80 volunteers.
Like many working and volunteering mothers, balance is a concern – and Karmen doesn’t admit to having all the answers. To that end Suit Yourself, has hired an Executive Director to take the reins for the numerous fundraisers and volunteer management duties so that Karmen can return to a part-time law career and adjust her work schedule from 24/7 to a more sane 8-10 hour day.
The before and after pictures of former clients were a highlight of the evening, as were their success stories of transitioning into the workforce with a new look and new confidence, some returning to Suit Yourself as volunteers.
Karmen’s four season purse raffle brought in approximately $500.00 to Suit Yourself and many women brought fashionable business wear and jewelry Friday evening as donations.
Fort McMurray’s ladies clothing boutiques; Helen Arong, Yvonne Lauren, I Love Threadz, Miyonakwan Inc., and Drop Dead Darlings generously donated many beautiful items to both Suit Yourself and as door prizes.
Karmen’s message showed how starting with a simple act of helping others has escalated into a very successful non-profit business that creates positive karma for thousands of women.
Every success begins with one act and one person.