Tell us about your business?
Joined in Life CIC is an eco-friendly fashion brand. Clothing and packaging are all made from organic and /or recycled supplies. We donate 10% of all sales revenue to our partner charity, Mary’s Meals so each t-shirt sale will provide a child with a fresh healthy meal at school for over a month. Now we are officially registered as a CIC, the vision is to start organising local community events to increase awareness about the environmental issues.
We want to encourage people to help protect the world's environment and support the people in it. Through the sale of organic/recycled products and the 10% donation, we want to show that every single purchase can have an impact.
What did you do before setting up your business?
I graduated a year before setting up Joined in Life CIC, but I always had the idea of designing my own clothing range.
I had designed many different clothing ranges when I heard about The Enterprise Place and decided to go in, tell them about my idea and see what they thought. The positive feedback I received really helped motivate me to push on with the idea.
What inspired you to set up your business?
When I was a student I would try to find eco-friendly clothing options, but always failed. Therefore, I decided to set up Joined in Life CIC and sell my own designed eco-friendly fashion brand. We teamed up with a charity called Mary’s Meals and now 10% of sales revenue goes towards supporting their great cause.
What makes this business different?
There are 3 key points that make it different for a fashion brand.
Firstly, we’re and eco-friendly business. All our products, packing & office supplies are all eco-friendly keeping the carbon footprint of the business to an absolute minimum.
Secondly, our company has partnered with Mary’s Meals, and donates 10% of all sales revenue to help bring nutritious meals to children suffering the effects of poverty at school. Each sale is not only good to the environment; it has a life changing impact for a child. By opting for one of our products you know you’ve helped change a child’s life.
Lastly we have just recently received our CIC status, which means we can now begin to focus on helping our local community through events and various other projects around Sunderland.
What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?
We are part of the Enterprise Place at the University of Sunderland and that’s where we heard about the competition. We wanted to share our business and mission with more people and the process of the competition gave us the opportunity to get valuable feedback from industry leaders to help us develop our business further.
Where do you see your business in three years’ time?
In three years’ time I see Joined in Life CIC ranked as one of the best Eco-Fashion shops in the North East of England. I hope to have my own business offices, have my products stocked in many shops around the UK & have a greater variety of products.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The most rewarding part of the journey is seeing the amount of money we are raising for our charity partner & the number of children’s lives we are changing for the better.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been adapting to the demands of the business as we grow and expand our product range.
Who/what gave you support or advice?
At The Enterprise Place there is lots of support & advisor sessions offered to you to help your business evolve from an idea into a fully functioning business.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
If its something they’re passionate about I would say go for it! It’s the most rewarding job.
The competition is now open to all pre-start business ideas or start-ups established in the North East within the last 3 years, regardless of the business leader’s age or experience.
For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visitwww.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Deadline for entries is 16th of October 2016.