Name of business: Jollie Goods (product name: Jollie’s Socks)
Creator: Ed Vickers
Years in business: 3
Specialty: ‘More-than-profit-movement’ to get homeless back on their feet using the medium of socks (to start with)
Key to success: Partnerships
Greatest asset: Friendships
The tube’s on strike, still it’s a lovely day – we meet at a café in Kensignton, no too far from their HQ at The Refinery.
I’ve been introduced to Ed via a mutual friend, Aaron Jones (creator of Fikay, my brand hero as well) who was certain I’d love the idea behind Jollie Goods and Jollie’s Socks. He was not wrong.
Ed Vickers created the brand while studying biosence at the University of Exeter. He wasn’t that into it, but he got a 2:1, because he “doesn’t like not finishing things”. During his studies he volunteered in a homeless charity. A desire to make a change, lasting more than a few spare coins could provide, began to grow.
So he created The Original Jollie Goods, an online shop selling socks.
I could say it’s all about super funky socks, manufactured from ethically sourced materials, with eccentric names and packaged in quirky tubes. I would be intriguing, but I would only be telling a part of the story.
The fact is, the socks are the beginning.
Heart of gold
Every time you buy a pair of socks from Jollie Goods, you are giving a pair to a charity supporting homeless in stepping out of the circle of poverty.
This is a key element of this idea. Ed’s socks are not a cotton equivalent of a few spare coins you give away because the sight of a homeless person at a corner of a street made you feel uncomfortable enough. It’s about education and knowing who you are helping, what your socks are helping people achieve.
The Original Jolly Goods cooperate with carefully selected charities that help homeless write CVs, dress for an interview, improve their skills. You can see the list on their website and soon you will be able to read the stories of people whose lives this deed has actually improved. It may have started as a random act of kindness, but it’s being translated into a designed action with a very tangible outcome: reminding us that homeless are humans and reminding them that as well.
Ed expressed a very important thought. There is no such thing as ‘the homeless’. It’s not a homogenic category. There are soldiers, graduates, teens. Yes, addiction is one of the most common cause of homelessness but the circumstances vary. They can be battled. If we are reminded about the human underneath the rags. That’s what Jollie Goods are about.
Their ambition is to cooperate with businesses, educators and mentors to create more accessible training facilities enabling people who lost their homes discover and develop skills to get a job or start a business. Jollie Goods want to create an environment motivating the change and facilitating the development.
They start with socks.
Why Ed & The original Jolly Goods are my brand hero:
I believe all businesses should be social. It should not be the duty of Corporate Social Responsibility policies to make businesses realise they can make a difference, that they are on a mission. It should be woven into the DNA of the brand, underlining its actions and relationships with clients and employees alike.
‘A more-than-profit’ enterprise, I found this phrase on their website and I think it is an excellent way of describing how brands should think about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with making money. However, it can be achieved in many ways – we might as well make it do good.
My lessons from this conversation:
- doing good things can be fun
- you can do good, whatever your background
- do good now, don’t waste time (…Ed’s a year out of Uni… a year!)
If you like The Original Jollie Goods, you may be interested in:
– the Stove Team
Elements of a strong brand:
relationships, good people will help you get further
understanding of the people the brand serves
humility: achieving and still wanting to accomplish more
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
- Visit their website jolliesocks.com
- Facebook profile: JollieGoods
- Follow them on Twitter @jolliegoods
- Instagram page jolliegoods
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