“There’s nothing more magical than seeing a girl come out of the fitting room and see a girl look in the mirror, and like who she sees looking back at her,” executive director of Ruby Room and founder of F-Factor, Ellen Young, said.
It’s even more magical in the case of Ruby Room, a nonprofit in Seattle, as it’s often the first time a young person gets to see themselves in formal wear.
Now the organization, currently located in Bellevue, needs a new place to make that magic happen.
F-Factor is a series of workshops designed to help youth who are low-income or homeless get new clothes and have access to fashion skills that might be hard to receive normally. A personal stylist helps them find clothes fit and match their style.
The Ruby Room, a nonprofit that also works with youth by providing formal wear that would otherwise be inaccessible, began in 2003, and the owner of F-Factor Ellen Young took it over in 2016. The organizations left Seattle and both were housed out of a retail location along Bellevue Way Northeast, at a subsidized rate.
“We love operating in Bellevue, we would like to stay,” Young said. “Being accessible to volunteers (from Bellevue) that tallied over 1,400 hours of service (is important too.)”
In those four and a half years, Young said the support from the Bellevue community and volunteers greatly increased and they grew bigger than before. But now a new tenant is taking the space and they are in need of a new home.
When F-Factor’s fashion lessons and Ruby Room’s formal gown shopping were paused during the pandemic shutdown, Young said they still found ways to offer clothes to homeless youth through social workers and local partners, and doing a clothing drive.
With the lease ending, Young said they’re moving to storage now unless they can find a new home. While Ruby Room has seen less need during the pandemic, the number of those wanting to donate dresses and high quality clothing has increased.
“We also have volunteers that still want to come in and be active, and that won’t be possible when we’re sitting in storage,” she said.
The nonprofit has posted a flyer at rubyroomseattle.org describing what they’re looking for in a space, which includes: 3,000 to 10,000 sq. ft., ground floor, accessible space with at least one bathroom, and around $250-$500 monthly in the Eastside or greater Seattle area.
Young said she knows many businesses are closing permanently in the economic fallout of the pandemic, but that F-Factor and Ruby Room are ready to find a new space with the support of others.
“W’re not closing our doors, we’re looking to continue to thrive,” Young said.
Their lease ends at the end of September, Ruby Room Director of Communications Megan Brodsky told Bellevue Reporter, and are hoping to find a new home in the near future.
Those with any leads on a new location can email Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.