How the owner of Queen Bee Designs partnered up with Suited for Change in a clothing drive that is changing women's lives.
Story by Kellie Gunderman | Photography by Victoria Mance
Fashion. The concept means different things to different people. It can be a very personal form of expression or provide joy to someone wearing something that makes them feel powerful, beautiful or in control. And in some very rare instances, fashion can inspire -- providing new beginnings and play a vital role in securing a better future for an individual and their family.
When Allison Priebe, lovingly referred to by the local community as Queen Bee for nearly twenty years, opened her boutique, she quickly gained a well-deserved reputation for making every woman who steps through her doors feel like royalty. "A woman can create a buzz without having to say a single word when she wears something from Queen Bee Designs," Allison explains.
Though Allison's mission began as an effort to bring her beautiful jewelry and accessories at affordable prices to women, her giving nature and philanthropic spirit also led her to use her influence and store to advocate for women in need. While at an event for The Junior League of Washington, Allison was introduced to the non-profit organization Suited for Change.
Suited for Change assists local women as they navigate their path to financial independence. This is achieved through coaching, skills training and, of course, professional attire. These three pillars of the program empower the women who are served to project confidence and self-worth; both vital to securing and sustaining professional employment. When Allison learned of their need for professional attire, she knew right away that this would be something she could help with, and it wasn't long before her clothing drive began
"I knew that money is very tight for people all over our region during the pandemic and a lot of women are working from home. I knew several ladies who wanted to get rid of their suits and professional clothes by purging their closets in hopes of helping other women to get ahead." - Allison Priebe, Queen Bee Designs
If you're wondering how the drive went, just ask Allison and her dedicated group of volunteers who spent weeks sorting through more donations than anyone could have ever expected. Allison credits much of the drive's success to the local women who turned out in support of Suited for Change and its mission. "This clothing drive was important because it allowed women to feel like they were doing something to help others."
"Right now many of us are isolated and not able to do as much as we would like to do in our community. The act of giving to others in hopes that they would thrive is a win win for all involved." - Allison
In addition to making a significant donation to Suited for Change, Queen Bee Designs had enough clothing on-hand to also assist local Alexandria non-profit organization, The Friends of Guest House. The Friends of Guest House works to help women who have been incarcerated readjust into society. Women live at Guest House for several months as they learn new skills that will help them to be productive members of society and ultimately break the cycle of incarceration. It is Allison's sincerest hope that the clothing drive will assist them in feeling capable, fearless and ready to take on the world as they step out and take their first steps into a brighter future.