Neat Places: Support from the bottom up

Neat Places: Support from the bottom up

Read the article at . The following is an excerpt from the article.


Why did you set up your business?

In 2015 I was working as a lawyer in a large corporate firm.  In my spare time I was volunteering with the Red Cross to help resettle refugee families that arrived in Wellington.  The amount of generosity and charity from the community was amazing, but the one thing that no-one could gift was a job.  The families I was working with kept asking me to help them find work as they really wanted to earn money and lead a normal life in New Zealand. 

I thought starting a social enterprise would be a great way to help them out and give them their first job in New Zealand.  Once they have their first job under their belt, it is so much easier for them to establish a career in NZ.  I wanted to provide a safe space for them to practice their English, build their skills and grow their confidence. 

The obvious question is what kind of social enterprise to start.  I settled on making underwear as many women from refugee backgrounds have sewing skills and it doesn’t require perfect English to sew.  I also liked the fact that underwear is different from the rest of the fashion world in that people need underwear in a way that they don’t necessarily need another cocktail dress.  I didn’t want to be adding needless waste to landfills or contributing to the fast fashion culture.



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