Running a Social Enterprise: Doing the Right Thing

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The ongoing tension. 

We need to sell more;

  • so we can pay our staff wages and pay the (ever-increasing) bills.
  • so the producers of the products we sell have work so they can pay their bills and feed their families, send their children to school (you get the idea)
  • so our customers have easy access to our products so they can make more fair trade ethical and sustainable lifestyle choices

However we want to discourage mindless consumerism

  • to celebrate when our customers choose to buy less, 
  • when they stop buying new clothes
  • when they mend instead of buying new

However we still need to sell more!!!

  • We continue to follow the The Real Living Wage Foundation’s recommendations and increase our staff wages. This means we do it earlier than usual, in September instead of February. It’s the right thing to do (the wages are still low) but it increases our already growing overheads while sales are still down. 
  • We have to negotiate a new electricity contract. We use 100% green energy, it’s the right thing to do, but you’ve guessed it, it’s more expensive than a tradition tariff.
  • We’re going to make a loss at the end of the year, we’ll eat into our reserves. It’s fine to do it this year but for how long?

I believe that what we do is important and how we do it is equally important. 

I have to be honest its hard work, really hard work at the moment. I still love it, I still believe we are making a positive difference. 

I am really grateful that I’m not alone in this strange world of thoughtful retailing.There is a community of us here in Leicester and in the UK ( that I am proud to be a part of. Business’ where the sale and profit made isn’t the only thing, (despite what Sir Alan Sugar might say) 

Though we still need to sell more!!!!