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

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.