In this blog, we’re chatting to ethical clothing brand, OutsideIn, all about how they are making a difference. We’re also catching up on the success of their International Women’s Day collection.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, OutsideIn created an exclusive collection of 100% organic cotton t-shirts to raise awareness of period dignity. For every t-shirt sold, two TOTM sample kits were donated to the homeless charity Simon Community.
Could you please tell us a little bit about OutsideIn and your mission?
OutsideIn was created for exactly what the name suggests – to bring the outside of society in. And what we mean by this is really pretty simple. We recognise that for many people who are experiencing homelessness, there is often a very prevalent sense of being on the outside to the rest of society. This can create feelings of a lack of worth, purpose, value, and hope.
At OutsideIn, everything we create is designed with these special and vulnerable individuals in mind. Through the designs of our clothing, the messaging behind our campaigns, and the purpose that drives our Wear One, Share One initiative, we seek to bring a tangible sense of hope to all who encounter OutsideIn.
Our mission is to create a community of people who are passionate about change, dedicated to making a difference, and ready to stand alongside those on the outside; bringing them in, showing them compassion, and demonstrating what hope looks like in full-blown, life-changing action.
What impact has your organisation had so far and how do you do it?
Since we started in December 2016, we’ve been dedicated to bridging the gap between the inside and the outside, and we’ve used clothing to do this! At OutsideIn we operate with something very special called Wear One, Share One. This is our unique giving concept which simply means that with every product you purchase from us, we donate another to someone experiencing homelessness.
Before Covid-19, we gave our customers the option of donating this product themselves which created some amazing opportunities for connection and meaningful interaction between them and the individual they gave their ‘Share One’ product to. Unfortunately, since the pandemic, we’ve had to put this on pause for safety reasons. However, all these ‘Share One’ items are now distributed directly to our charity partners.
In just a little over 4 years, we’ve been able to donate over 60,000 products through this special initiative! These products include everything from clothing, thermal accessories (such as beanies, socks and gloves), blankets, meals, hygiene packs and more!
We have also been able to support several other meaningful social impact initiatives such as refurbishment projects, food drives, and financial support to various organisations.
Because of Wear One, Share One and the other initiatives that our products have contributed towards, we’ve been able to work with charities all around the world from Belfast to Los Angeles to South Africa to Greece and so many other areas of the globe! None of this would be possible without our customers who play a vital role in making sure that every product makes an impact.
What was the objective of your recent IWD collection? Why was this so important?
This collection was all about creating awareness about the lack of period dignity among women experiencing homelessness. This collection was designed by the amazing women in the OutsideIn Team who felt a very strong sense of empathy for these more vulnerable individuals who, on top of all the hardship they’re facing due to their situation of homelessness, will have to face even greater difficulty simply because of a natural part of their lives. Sanitary items are one of the most requested forms of aid for charities across the UK because for so many women experiencing homelessness, the lack of sanitary items can lead to infections, a lack of dignity, and unhygienic practices that can be a threat to their overall health.
This issue is so important to us because we believe that everyone – no matter who or where you are – deserves to feel dignity, have access to basic health needs, and be equipped with essential items that will benefit their physical and mental health. By giving the women at the Simon Community the TOTM period kits that will not only meet an essential need but that will offer high-quality protection too, we are giving them the sense of dignity and care they so deserve.
How did the campaign go and how will this benefit Simon Community?
We were blown away by the support we received for this campaign from our incredible customers! Because of their purchases of both the products within the collection itself as well as their purchases of the period packages that could be bought specifically for a woman in need, we were able to donate 200x period kits to the Simon Community! This means that 100 women will have access to TOTM’s high-quality period kits to support their next menstrual cycle.
As the Simon Community looks after and supports many women experiencing homelessness, these products will make a significant impact on how the Simon Community can accommodate the ever-present need for these essential sanitary items.
What are your tips for anyone looking to make an impact & support homelessness initiatives/projects?
We think making an impact is simple and it can be done on many different scales in many different ways! However, a good place to start is with these three easy steps:
- Educate yourself on the issue: There are so many brilliant resources available that can help people become more aware of the issues that people experiencing homelessness may face. Homelessness is not a one-size-fits-all problem and so it’s so important for us to gain a better understanding of it. By doing this, we can provide more meaningful support that directly addresses the needs and challenges that these vulnerable individuals experience.
- Seek out opportunities to volunteer: There are so many charities across the globe that specifically look after individuals experiencing homelessness, and many of these amazing organisations make it so easy for volunteers to get involved. If you’d like to give of your time (which is a truly valuable contribution!), have a look at what charities exist in your area and reach out to them to see how you can get involved. Charities are often so grateful for volunteer support so don’t be afraid to get in touch!
- Give a little hope: Hope is SO important to us at OutsideIn and we believe that hope comes in so many forms! This can look like a donation of items, a financial contribution, a meal, an effort to stop and have a conversation, and sometimes it’s even as simple as a smile. We have to remember that for so many individuals experiencing homelessness, the challenges they’re faced with can often rob them of the hope they need to get through the day. So, whether you’re able to work alongside a charity to make a difference, or whether you’re simply keen to make a difference to someone you encounter directly, we like to encourage our team and our customers to always think about what actions and attitudes will help to bring a sense of hope back into the lives of these very special people.
Thank you so much to OutsideIn for chatting with us! You can check out their blog posts to learn more about how you can make an impact in your spheres of influence here! You can shop OutsideIn’s collections here.