In the next couple of weeks, kids in Central Texas will be heading back to class, and the teachers have been hard at work for weeks now to get ready for the new school year. One Austin store is trying to help them with the stress of planning the curriculum.
Soft Surroundings is a women's boutique that had its first catalog mailed on July 19, 1999 while its flagship store opened in St. Louis on Nov. 4, 2005. A core component of this business has been its commitment to teachers and giving back to them however they can.
Jean Gilbert is the store manager for the Soft Surroundings in Austin and started working their when it opened last year. She said that commitment to teachers is something that attracted her to the job.
"They really are the ones who truly teach and who are responsible for how our kids grow up," Gilbert said. "They do so much and they really are so important in everyone's lives."
A part of this commitment is giving free makeovers to teachers all across the country, including in Austin. Kim Wissen has been teaching for 20 years and is going into her 15th year in Austin. She currently teaches first grade at Steiner Ranch Elementary School. She recently thought her husband was taking her meet some friends before she was surprised with this makeover.
"I was totally shocked," Wissen said. "It caught me off guard!"
Wissen said she knew from an early age that this is the career path she wanted to take.
"Ever since I was in second grade, I had some amazing teachers," Wissen said. "I knew right away that I wanted to be a teacher after graduating from high school."
These makeovers aren't happening as a necessity -- it is more to give these teachers a chance to breathe during their mad dash to the start of school. Karen Brooks is the district manager for the Soft Surroundings stores in Texas and said this surprise makeovers can hopefully help assuage some stress.
"Women don't take time for themselves and we know that teachers are very busy," Brooks said. "They care for other children plus they care for their own in their own family. We hope to help make lives simple and uncomplicated."
Soft Surroundings is also offering 15 percent off to all teachers. To learn about this discount, you can visit the company's website at softsurroundings.com.