Name: JOLLIE GOODS
Mission: GIVING FUN AND TANGIBLE OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL HOMELESS CHARITY
For the last couple of years I’ve been to Bath Chirstmas market with my Mum. It’s a lovely day out and usually involves many free samples of different booze and nibbles! It was last year that I met the lovely people working for Jollie Goods.
Jollie Goods was founded by Ed Vickers whilst he was a student at university. He became frustrated when he walked past the same people every day who were sleeping rough and not knowing how he could help. “I feel passionate about homelessness simply because of spending time and building friendships with people who are, or have suffered from being homeless. These people are branded ‘homeless’ but in fact they are very normal people like you and I, who have been subject to harsh circumstances, or have made a few bad decisions. I’ve learnt how easy it is for people to become homeless and because of this, how severe the issue has become in the UK. Research has also shown that 40% of people sleeping rough suffer from mental health issues, which for me means that it’s completely unacceptable that these vulnerable people are allowed to sleep outside and we should do all we can to support them.”
This frustration led him to help out at a homeless charity on Saturday mornings where he soon realised the serious demand for fresh pairs of socks. “I saw how far a simple change of socks could go in looking after the foot health and hygiene of the visitors.” This clear need inspired him to think of a sustainable solution that not only provided socks to homeless charities but also engaged the every day person with a fun opportunity to do their bit to support those battling with homelessness. “I founded the social enterprise Jollie Goods in 2012, with the intention of creating further fun and tangible ways to support the long-term work of local homeless charities.”
One of Ed’s biggest challenges was just mustering up the courage to take the step from starting Jollie Goods as a fun project, to turn it into a sustainable business and a full time job. “As someone who’d never had any experience in business I had to learn the basics of running a business from scratch which, if I’m honest, I did mostly through learning by making many many mistakes!”
Jollie Goods started their relationship with John Lewis after winning a national ‘Pitch to John Lewis’ competition (run by Start up Britain) which Ed had entered online whilst at uni. “This is a competition where people from all over the UK can enter by submitting their ideas and products and then 12 finalists are invited to pitch to the John Lewis buyers at their head office in London. Luckily they liked the product and our brand ethos and placed an order for the upcoming Christmas! The first order placed with us required myself, mum and dad staying up all night packing socks into tins. We had just started and had no significant infrastructure in place to handle any orders let alone John Lewis!”
So far Jollie Goods has donated over 15,000 pairs of socks to over 30 different homeless charities in the UK and they hope to be able to double this in the next year. Ed has other plans in the pipe line too. “I hope to grow a sustainable business and by working closely with specific homeless charities, we will be able to offer long term work opportunities for those transitioning out of homelessness.” The brand is named Jollie Goods and Ed has got a few other products in the pipe line which we are yet to announced. “We will focus on creating a variety of new styles and designs for the socks, but also have plans of developing other products that have a social impact linked to them, and will continue helping the homeless in a fun, easy, and most crucially a sustainable way.”