In the back of my head, I always thought that I could never run for office…I’ve gone through phases in my life where I didn’t have healthcare, or I had to live paycheck to paycheck. And I’m still a renter. I don’t own my house.
I started realizing that we need [to hear from] more people like me—people who have had the experiences of being self-employed. Of working for small mom-and-pop shops. I realized that my story and my life experiences would have more of a voice as an elected official.
—Rep. Emily Weber of the Missouri State Representative—the first Asian-American woman elected to the Missouri House and a member of our 2020 Ready to Run Program
In 2020, we launched Ready to Run, a program where we offered free clothing loans to women running for office. Truthfully, I had no idea just how much this would impact aspiring candidates. Within hours, we’d heard from hundreds of women. After navigating bureaucratic red tape and spending hours on the phone with various lawyers, we ended up lending clothes to 272 women who ran for a variety of positions, from City Council to State Coroner (yes, it’s an elected position, and now that I’ve seen Yellowstone, I know why!) to Congress. Ultimately, over 95 of those 272 women got elected.
I was shocked by the messages we received from these women about just how hard it is to get ready for the campaign trail. “In my day job, I’m a firefighter as well as a mother of four. I can’t even begin to tell you how stressful the ‘how to dress’ piece of running for office has been,” shared one woman. I would never purport that clothes are what move the needle on female representation, but if we can help level the playing field even a tiny bit for women candidates, well, there could be no bigger gift for me.
I am so excited to share that we’ve officially launched Ready to Run 2024. Applications for our candidates are now open and close on 2/14/24 at 11:59pm ET. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by the end of February.
Politics have felt especially broken for the past number of years, and the national conversation often feels pointless; impossible, even. But. I’m a big believer in controlling the things I can. I believe in the power of small changes—I would not be a small business owner if I didn’t. There is incredible power in women sharing their life experiences and making change toward a society that works better for women.
As Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, recently said, “I’ve been in every single powerful room. I’ve met every single CEO. I’ve met every single President, every Prime Minister. And when I meet them, I’m like, you? You’re running what? Me and my girls—we can run circles around you.”
I know you can. And we can’t wait to dress you for that.
Founder & CEO