We're a different kind of craft company - we exist to support mental health, wellbeing and the environment, through creativity. We have a 'social' purpose.
As a 'social purpose' company we are delighted that we can have a positive impact on people and planet, in various ways:
Having a social purpose means we have social impact i.e. our business and activities have a positive benefit on others.
One of the main things we can do is provide free creative supplies.
We receive lots of donations and we try to sell what we can to generate an income, with any surplus being made available for free to community groups and care homes etc. It is now generally accepted that creativity is good for wellbeing and mental health, and yet many places are not allocated a budget for supplies, so we support where we can.
We supplied free quality art paper from Pink Pig and various drawing materials for family activities taking place in The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield. Their forward-thinking approach sees empty retail units being used as community spaces dedicated to events for local people, in this case it was family arts and crafts workshops run by Wakefield Council.
Pink Pig are a local sketchbook manufacturer who have supported us a lot by sending us their offcuts, and the art supplies were donated by individuals so that we are able to support groups and events like this, bringing some colour to families!
We were able to supply 4 boxes of donated embroidery threads to a cross stitch group based at a community centre in Wakefield.
They were a fairly new group but really well-attended so new supplies were welcome.
Over time we also donated odd bits of aida fabric, more threads and patterns, plus members of the group were able to purchase further low-cost supplies for themselves in our community shop.
Thanks to crafters donating their unwanted supplies to us, we were able to supply free card making supplies to Managing Dyslexia, a community group based at Sandal library in Wakefield. They were an existing support group who felt they wanted to add crafting into their activities for the mental health benefits it brings. They don't stop there though, the group then fundraise with the handmade cards they have been able to make - we were thrilled to spot the fruits of their labour on display at a wellbeing event!
We were able to supply a free Cuttlebug die-cutting machine to an established craft group based at a community centre.
The group has fantastic attendance and has existed for a few years, so we were more than happy to pass on a donated Cuttlebug along with unwanted magazine freebie dies to get them started.
The plates that came with the Cuttlebug were a bit well-used, so they will probably need to source new plates, and because they might not know what they need to buy, we provided links to Cuttlebug plates on eBay* for the chance of some good bargains, and of course it helps the eBay sellers too. If they find an entire Cuttlebug on eBay for a better price than buying the plates alone, they can just return the one we gave them and we can put it back into our stock, but they can still benefit from our free magazine dies and of course our reduced cost dies, from donations. It's all good.
Our aim is to make creativity accessible for all but especially for those on a budget.
We were at a wellbeing event at St Swithun's Community Centre promoting creativity as a means to positive mental health and wellbeing. We were going to promote our new Creative Hub and shop, but we decided against running a stall to buy cheap craft supplies and took lots of freebies instead!
Making Best Use of Donations
We had some lightly used supplies piling up in boxes that needed further sorting, which would take time, so we just took those along.
Brilliant change of plan, because even though we didn't raise any funds, the experience was priceless: lots of excited kids and adults rummaging about in stuff that we couldn't put out in the shop but which they thought were great!
So, as well as helping us clear down some stock and gain some space, it turns out kids are really good at sorting through boxes of wool, card, paper, toppers and gems for pure enjoyment!
Some of the kids were rather resourceful: after a lot of commotion and excitement at what they were finding, suddenly they disappeared only to return with some free tote bags being given out free at another stall, meaning they could now carry all their free goodies!
Best of all, they came up with creative ideas on the spot - it seems kids love mirri card (it has a surface you can see your reflection in) Our rummage box had some die cut frames and mirri silver circles...
"It's like a mirror!" they exclaimed, as they stuck the die cut frames to the Mirri pieces with adhesive paper flowers - no glue, they used the adhesive on the back of the flowers! As it was almost Mother's Day, they then rummaged for alphabet stickers for their names or 'Mum'.
They loved it, we loved it and it was all made possible because people had sent in lightly used but unwanted papercraft supplies. Brilliant.
Unwanted magazine freebies were a hit too - especially the books of papers you sometimes get with magazines, and the mini card kits.
Crafters send them to us because they subscribe to craft magazines but don't always like or need the freebies that come with them - however they are brilliant for us because they are in wrappers and are therefore 'new' packs we can give out for free.
Free Quality Art Paper
We could also offer quality drawing paper and coloured mulberry paper thanks to offcuts donated by Pink Pig Sketchbooks*
At first the kids would take a single piece or two, but we could say take a handful! They couldn't believe it.
How does a child flourish in their creativity if they don't have access to paper to be able to practice and perfect?
Some of our printable craft supplies and donated magazine freebies were given out to the public at a mental health event held at St Catherine's church, Wakefield.
The event was put on by the Richmond Fellowship for local people to see the types of support and activities available to them.
We approached it from a 'self care' point of view since engaging in creative activities can help your wellbeing. We had various easy card making printables available so that people could take them away and get creative when they got home.
Kids art and craft supplies were given to a group of vulnerable children and young people attending a summer group over 5 weeks.
We don't get many kids supplies donated which is a shame because there are plenty of kids groups we could support, but we managed to pull a mix of new and used goodies together so the kids could do card making, painting, modelling, loom bands, bead making and general crafting. We even managed to get some creative books in there.
As a thank you to St Swithun's Community Centre who funded our first ever office space, allowing us to get started on our social enterprise journey, we provided a big bundle of brand new craft goodies for their summer raffle.
All items had been donated by our online customers, social media followers and the public as well as The Paperbox in York who send us their end-of-line clearance items.
Free craft supplies for attendees at a Positive Mental Health day at St Swithun's Community Centre.
People were allowed to take what they wanted from our donated stock of craft sheets, die-cuts, embellishments and peel-off stickers and at the end of the day, we gave the surplus to the centre for their crafting groups to use.
New donated cross stitch kits were given to Leep 1 CIC in Leeds, a centre for adults with learning disabilities.
They enjoy doing needlecraft under the guidance of one of their members who recently had her cross stitch and embroidery work exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery, and sells what she's made to raise funds for their group. We also put a donation request out later for gold thread so the group could finish a Christmas tablecloth.
A lady donated some of her old knitting supplies and the needles went down a treat with a local Knit & Natter group who took what they needed.
The start of it all! We ran some pilot craft classes at a supported housing scheme for people with complex needs which ended up running for a few months. This started the ball rolling with the donations coming in from customers, social media followers and even people we didn't even know but who heard about it from others or read our blogs. You can read all the blogs we did on this pilot here (we now support groups with supplies rather than do outreach ourselves due to time restrictions)
In addition we have
Disclaimer: We are a developing social enterprise and part of that development is learning what works and what doesn't. We have listed various things that we've done from when we started out as a record of the things we've been able to do for others, but we may not be doing those things today e.g. outreach sessions with groups - we have learned that this is not viable for us to do time-wise so we now support groups run by others with resources and supplies instead.
* We always look for the best way to get the most benefit from donated items to have the best social impact possible *
We encourage our customers to make their own social impact through use of our "Sell What You Make" printables for fundraising or even donating what they've made to those who need them e.g. see our article Food Bank Story
Perhaps the biggest impact of all is all down to those generous people who donate unwanted art and craft supplies - without them, we wouldn't have the resources to continue doing what our company is set up to do.