Social Enterprise is a win-win transaction. How terrific to buy a quality product that gives back to those in need at the same time?
We have been selling Greeves Street Christmas decorations to retailers, at markets, on-line and to our supporters. Retailers have been gobbling them up. I went to check stock at one of our stores and the shop assistant said to me (she was truly indignant), “Andie, I keep telling people about your women and the social enterprise, but they don’t seem to care. They just want the trees without the story.” She reported though, that one of her customers was buying a tree and after she told the customer the story behind the tree, the customer went back and bought five! I was rapt! If people love the product, and buy because they love it, then it is only a bonus if they also read the swing tag story and feel good about helping a very worthy cause.
Learning to sew has a particular magic which has the power to build dignity, confidence and self esteem:
Jody is an absolute perfectionist. It didn’t take long at all for her to learn to sew on the machine. Her first project was a work of art – a beautiful baby bunting. Since this creation, Jody has been energised and excited by what she might make next and even has ideas for a small hobby business.
Deborah is one of those people who is always asking permission and apologising. So I was surprised when one day she DEMANDED I teach her how to sew. We fossicked for scraps in a bag of donated fabrics and she decided we would make a pair of fingerless gloves. As she was sewing her first ever seam (carefully and perfectly), she paused and looked sideways at me and exclaimed, “I can DO this!” It was a precious moment.
Crystal took 20 Christmas tree decorations home, with a huge wad of toy fill. Late that night I received a photo of the little trees all stuffed and ready to sew up along with a text, which read, “I should get a life!” The next day, as she returned the little trees, she said, “Can I take more to do tonight?”
“When I’m sewing, I am a world away!”
I asked one of our women over coffee one day, what she would tell the world was the value to her in learning to sew? She said, “Andie, you don’t understand. My life is work. Then home. Work. Then home. That’s all my life is. But when I am sewing, I am a world away.”