Spring is here! We lost an hour of sleep, had our first ‘It’s-Not-Cold!’ day and, to me at least, the birds seem to be singing twice as loud as if to say they know summer is on the way! Overall, it feels like there is a renewed sense of hope for the future, that life is slowly on its way back to normality, and that our dreams and plans feel more tangible as restrictions lift and vaccinations are rolled out.
For us at OutsideIn, March has seen a mixture of learning and moving. We’ve learned more about the issues of homelessness and how we can innovate the products we make, and we’ve moved because we’re in the process of relocating a lot of equipment and furniture into one of our warehouses. Louis, who runs the Operations at Oi, tells me he has everything under control…😬
So, here you go! This is Behind The Scenes March 2021.
International Women’s Day Collection
We kicked off the month with our very first Women's Drop - it sure was special! As always, for this collection we prioritised purpose over product and so to prepare for its launch we spent time learning more about the key issues that face women experiencing homelessness; namely the lack of Period Dignity.
As we looked into this more and more, we realised that Period Dignity is something that we all had a lot more to learn about than we realised. Period Dignity is defined by unrestricted access to essential sanitary items for individuals throughout the course of their menstrual cycle. A lack of Period Dignity means that this access is often limited, selective and complicated. Unfortunately, for so many women experiencing homelessness, a lack of Period Dignity is their reality and these items are often not available at all. In turn, this leads these vulnerable women to have to create makeshift sanitary items from things like rags, toilet paper or old T-Shirts. These can result in infection, poor protection and other health concerns.
With the purpose sorted, we made sure our products were ready to go! With every one of these products sold and with the help of TOTM, we committed to donating 400x period kits to the Simon Community. Less than a month after launching the collection, we were able to hit our target of 400x period kits that will be used to support 200 women experiencing homelessness!
The support you showed us for this collection was amazing and it really encouraged our team about the purpose behind why we do what we do - so thank YOU! This collection reminded us to constantly strive to learn more about the issues that face individuals experiencing homelessness and how we can play a part in restoring dignity and hope back to those who need it most. This week we are delivering these 400x packages to the Simon Community and we are BUZZING about it!
Also a huge shout out to the Oi team for their hard work in making this drop happen! I also challenged us as a team to donate 20 packs, which we doubled and donated 40! We have so much to learn but with the help of our partnered charities and your support, I am really excited for the rest of this year and to see how we can use curiosity-driven innovation to set hope in full-blown, life-changing action.
Giving Our Depop a WHY!
If you’ve been following OutsideIn over the past year, you’ll know that every Friday is Depop Day! Rebecca stocks up our Depop with our ‘imperfectly perfect items’ that include everything from tie-dyed socks to sweatshirts with 50 logos embroidered all over! Depop is FULL of super unique items with a whole lot of character!
The main reason we started a Depop account was to be more sustainable, and since we had so many items with small imperfections that we couldn’t sell on our main site, we wanted to find a way that they could still be loved and enjoyed. A year later, Rebecca has sold over 1,000 unique Oi products on Depop which has been incredible! After seeing the success of Depop and how the account has grown so much, we sat down and chatted about future plans to see how we could use Depop as another way to put purpose over product. After a lot of thinking and brainstorming, we came up with an exciting way to do this.
With every purchase from Depop, 100% of the profit made will be used to fund the OutsideIn Social Impact Team and their impact-driven endeavours. This means that we’ll be able to make social impact even more of a key focus here at OutsideIn! At present, we have two part-time team members who look after Social Impact; however, our goal is to make these full-time positions in order to help us dedicate more time and resources to educating our customers and our team on the issues of homelessness, impact-driven campaigns, outreach opportunities and to open the door to working with even more charities than we already do.
Giving Depop a purpose is a huge stepping stone that I am so excited about! As our Depop grows, I can’t wait to see how our social impact and the team leading it grows too.
More details to follow soon!
I’ve always seen us as a company that is here to bring hope, to bring people on the outside of society in, and to use clothing to do this. With quality as one of our core values, when it comes to products I never want to get complacent or think we have reached our best. And so, this month we have spent time evaluating a lot of our older collections to assess what has and hasn’t worked, and we have looked to you, our amazing customers, for your feedback on what you love, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see next (feel free to pop a comment to share your thoughts on this with us!).
Throughout this re-evaluation process, Pinterest has become my best friend. It is addictive and what started with one board has now turned into over thirty 🙃 The biggest thing for 2021 going forward is purpose first, products second. This doesn’t mean we have second-class products, it just means that the purpose behind the product should stand out more than the product itself. With the highest quality products still our aim, our Fashion Team have been spending hour upon hour drawing up new exciting products that will be coming your way very very soon! And this month the Social Impact Team has worked more closely than ever with the Fashion Team in order to look at how we can innovate the products we give to people experiencing homelessness.
With over 25 charities giving us feedback on their needs and how we can best meet them in terms of fabric, function, colour, style and more, we are more excited than ever to innovate our Wear One, Share One like never before! Every detail matters to us because we believe that someone experiencing homelessness deserves to feel the same quality that you and I do.
I’m so proud of our team and although we have a long way to go, I believe we are redefining fashion. Below is a snap from a recent meeting which brought up some amazing conversations on how we can improve our products to give people experiencing homelessness the hope, dignity, quality and care they deserve.
Hats, hats and more HATS! From Oi Hats to Oi Classics, Oi Poms, the Beanie Brand, Oi Oi, Oh Aye, and more, we have heard just about every name under the sun for what we are 😂 But realistically, a major reason for the spread of the company since 2016 is our hats.
There are 3 simple reasons why I feel they’ve done so well:
People love the fleece lining (especially in Northern Ireland where the average temperature year-round is about 11 degrees on a good day).
The Wear One, Share One model attached to them which allows you to know that someone experiencing homelessness also gets to feel the same comfort you do by receiving a thermal-lined beanie because of your purchase.
Empowering you, the customer, to be a part of this unique giving process by challenging you to share your additional product with someone experiencing homelessness in your city or town.
Over the last 4 years, we have seen over 60,000 hats and other items donated across the globe everywhere from Los Angeles to South Africa. To celebrate how these hats have travelled near and far, we decided to create our biggest-ever sale that has discounted every hat we have! The more hats we sell, the more we can give, and the more we can give, the more we can make a difference.
Check out my recent video on why and how the products we give make a difference. A massive thanks to everyone who has helped us reach this amazing total of 60,000 so far! We can’t wait to see this go even further!
Well, that’s a wrap for March! Thanks again to everyone who reads the BTS blogs, and for all of your support for OutsideIn - especially during COVID. You’ve helped us to keep going despite uncertainty and please know that we see every email, DM and story, and we appreciate them all!
See you all in April! And stay tuned for some very exciting, very purpose-driven collections coming your way SOON!