Social Enterprise Spotlight – ReTweed

Posted: 08 October 2019, in News


Our newest Social Enterprise Spotlight is Hazel Smith and ReTweed. Read and share their Q&A interview below! Get in contact with Hazel on admin@retweed.com.



What’s your social and/or environmental mission?



ReTweed strives for a more just and equitable world by empowering people to value themselves and their contributions to society. We care about people, we care about the environment and we care about social justice. We offer support to those who are finding the road forward in their lives and careers tricky. We provide free training programmes in creative industry skills. All of the materials we use are diverted out of landfill and back into the economy.



How do you do it? (client group, practical daily work, customers etc)



ReTweed delivers an innovative textiles upcycling programme were
our students come together each year and learn a wide range of techniques and
skills in craft design and technology. We teach students a range of craft,
heritage & upcycling skills underpinned by a clear environmental
philosophy. ReTweed also encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to
discover the innovation in upcycling through a range of community and
commercial workshops and events



What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur?



I didn’t set out to be a social
entrepreneur, it just happened. ReTweed was an experiment and a hobby!! It was
a distillation of things I’d done in the past and combined things I cared about
– The environment and impact of rampant consumerism together with staggering
statistics on textiles waste to landfill. I mixed that up with my experience of
providing opportunities for others to grow their skills, knowledge and
confidence through quality training. And TA DA!



What are your current projects?



I love to say we’re bursting at the seams with projects and
ideas! Anyhow, the core social impact work continues via our training alongside
a wonderful volunteering programme. We’ve set-up a business incubator and have
5 women developing their own businesses with monumental achievements, where
participants are developing ethical business and increasing the cascade effect
of changes in culture around the environment; amazing innovation that addresses
the needs of our economy AND our planet.



What exciting things do you have coming up?



We’re expanding the model into other areas of Scotland and the
wider world. We’ve already successfully transferred our training and business model
to Dumfries and Galloway and have our sights set on ReTweed (in lights), across
the country. Me personally, I am off to the Social Enterprise World Forum to
speak on the subject of Responsible Business Models and to enjoy the learning,
inspiration and shared passion of social entrepreneurs.



Who do you want to work with more?



We’d like to work with regeneration and economic development
services and take ReTweed into other communities. We have a tried and tested
business and training model that has transformed our area. As well as
having a direct, positive and immediate impact on the women & their families,
ReTweed is creating role models; women who have the confidence to involve themselves
in leading creative enterprise and contributing to an upward shift in the
aspirations of their peers and the wider community.



What's your biggest challenge?



Honestly, prioritising my workload. So much so that Jonathon
from SES has chased me for weeks to get my ‘spotlight’ feature. It’s been an
eternal challenge of juggling too many balls in the air since the beginning of
time. I don’t think any social entrepreneur I’ve spoken to has said anything
otherwise. I’ve struggled with balancing our social, environmental and business
objectives. I spent a lot of time angsting about increasing our trading income.
Now, three years in, I’ve relaxed and am working in a more systematic way
towards sustainability.



What top tips would you give to other social enterprises?



It is hard going sometimes and you need tenacity and
resilience whilst taking care of your health. Social Entrepreneurs tend to be
very driven and entirely ‘addicted’ to the social justice objectives of their
enterprises.



I’ve been really lucky to have been surrounded by mentors
and people, from grassroots to Cross-Party Elected Members who have recognised
the impact of our work and supported us. That restores confidence and
motivation.  Final tip is have fun and
enjoy your human interactions.