ReTweed’s Founder, Hazel Smith has spent a year as a student at the Scottish School for Social Entrepreneurs and graduated this week at the Bank of Scotland’s Headquarters in Edinburgh along with the 14 other Social Entrepreneurs from across Scotland.
Many people ask us “What is a Social Enterprise or “What is a Social Entrepreneur?” Essentially Social Entrepreneurs are just folks who want to work towards positive and sustainable social or environmental change through enterprise and innovation. In ReTweed’s case we are here to offer creative industry and a sense of community connectedness for women who are looking for a step on the road to a new future.
ReTweed’s other aspiration is to promote better environmental awareness and behaviours and to divert waste textiles from landfill by transforming them into beautiful (and they are) furnishings, crafts, fashions and accessories which are designed and produced by our students and then sold by us to raise some income.
We look around our world and we see populations increasing and in the Western world a never-ending need for people to people to ‘consume’. We now have a situation where the poorest people in the developing world are working in slave labour conditions, including children, to meet the need for cheap and readily disposable clothes for the poorest people in the Western world. Although ReTweed is not going to change the global economy, we can change our little corner of it and hope that others will follow our example.
Once upon a time, it was the working classes who were the makers, hobbyists, small businesses in creative crafts and manufacturing “Make Do and Mend” is the adage which has carried across time but has lost its momentum – except of course if you attend artisan craft fairs or craft events – there you will find the designers, makers and entrepreneurs are almost exclusively privileged and affluent. What was once the proviso of the working classes has become the avant garde of the middle and upper classes (sorry to use class definitions but they still apply).
Cutting to the chase ReTweed’s journey over the last year has been so much aided by Hazel being inspired by the many other social entrepreneurs from across Scotland. Aside from the hard learning on subjects like business planning, financial management, marketing, governance, legal structures – the shared learning from other students has helped sustain ReTweed on a steady path of progress which in turn is mirrored by our own students here in the project.