Behind The Scenes - June 2020
Welcome to Behind The Scenes, June 2020 edition. Usually how this works is I get out my phone and scan through the millions of photos that I’ve taken in the past month. If they weren't dated I wouldn't have a clue what was done in what month, it all merges into one huge blob of new products, new giving concepts and endless fun with the Oi Fam. So here we go with a run down of what we’ve been up to.
Updates to our Warehouse
This one has been a slow burner but it’s starting to take shape! Since last year the team has grown significantly and with that the need for more space! We’ve gone from a 1,000 square foot to over double now at 2,500 sq ft at our HQ in Belfast. Working within the government's guidelines, it’s been a huge relief to see the team again, though it has taken some adjustment not having to interact with them through a screen. Below is how the new warehouse is starting to take shape. I swear we aren’t trying to be the office US, but yes we did install a basketball net in the warehouse, so when it’s safe be sure you’ll be seeing some warehouse vs the office intense lunchtime matches.
Coming out of Lockdown
I'm sure we can all agree there’s been a huge sense of relief that we are coming out of lockdown, even though we definitely aren’t out of the woods just yet. There has been no hiding in the land of business from the effects of Covid-19, no matter how organised or good at problem solving you may be. At OutsideIn it really has been a huge challenge for the whole company, from changing our giving concept that’s built upon connection, to trying to balance all staff solely on our online store. Our busy events schedule was wiped clean this summer which was a huge part of how we get to spread our vision across the UK. We were going big this year and had some amazing ones planned for London, but we will be back hopefully before the year ends. Despite the difficulties a massive credit has to go to the whole team throughout lockdown who have jumped over every hurdle thrown at them, whether that be adjusting to working from home, taking on roles that don’t come natural or thinking of new ways to communicate our mission to our followers. The Oi fam as we call it really is a family, by that I mean everyone looks out for each other, if someone is struggling it’s like a natural instinct to be that shoulder of support, If somebody passes an exam it’s a full on celebration. How have we created such a tight-knit family? I believe it’s down to a few things. When we hire it’s not just about the level of skill each individual has, but more importantly their personality, their compassion and ambition. We very much come from all walks of life, different countries, religions and as time goes on that will only diversify more. Hiring can be a long process, but the results of having a team and a family that cares about each other and our vision of rewriting homelessness is priceless.
BLM & Active Listening
This month has been a HUGE learning curve. As a company we acknowledge our privilege and have taken it upon ourselves to become aware of our blind spots, also involve ourselves in active listening, learning and action to become better allies with those who are discriminated against. It’s been a month since the police killing of George Floyd, a truly horrific murder that has shaken the world and shinning light on systematic racism against the black community not only in America but around the world. We have to hold hands up, acknowledge our lack of understanding and better stand up for the Black community as we move forwards as individuals but also as a company. You will most likely have been aware of the stream of images on social media of black squares often tagged with “blackouttuesday” The purpose being an expression of highlighting the problem of racial inequality and a statement from those who post that they want to become better educated and better allies with the black community. This was more than just a black square, as a team we jumped into the discussion about everything going on. It was like a lightbulb moment, I could see everyone coming to an understanding of how we could do better, whether that be with the models we choose, artist we work with, employing, it’s like a new set of lenses have been put on, we no longer can say we don’t know, the challenge to the team was, what are we going to do about this, now and for the future. That's the thing I wanted to set a new standard, I’m not going to post a black square unless we as a team can come up with long term solutions on how to become more educated and how we can be a better support for the black community. The information that the team has found out has been startling, especially looking specifically within our sector of fashion and how race impacts homelessness, from renting houses, to income differences, there is a huge inequality and white privilege that cannot be ignored across the world. As much as we are a clothing company we are a voice for those who are on the outside of society. So moving forward we hope you can see a change in our culture, to be more accepting, more educated and advocating for the black community.
This part of the company seems to just keep growing and growing in size and workload, the need is massive! This month as mentioned above has focused on two key elements - Racial inequality within homelessness and how Covid-19 has impacted those who are homeless. Our team wanted to shed light on the massive gaps within the homelessness community. A real struggle has been the lack of information available, especially within the UK, there are very little stats regarding homelessness and even less for race & homelessness. We have taken it upon ourselves to continuously inform and educate you guys, so we can all be part of the solution. If you’d like to see what stats and information we found so far make sure to click the links below.
It’s also nearly time to say goodbye to our Deliveroo meal sharing concept. Since the beginning of lockdown in March we had to change our “Wear One, Share One '' concept from offering the customer the option of personally sharing their giving product in transitioning to a new way of giving that aligned with new social distancing restrictions. Our partnership with Deliveroo allowed us to create a new “Wear One, Share One” that meant every purchase provided a meal to someone who is homeless or vulnerable. With over 2,500 meals being donated so far, this has been an amazing opportunity to still be able to give back as a company during this pandemic. For that we have to give you a MASSIVE thanks for supporting us throughout! Honestly this company would not be anywhere near where it is today without your continuous support. Whether that be your words of encouragement, purchasing or repping our stuff around the world, the OI fam has no borders, and we welcome you all with open arms.
New Collections coming in July
This brings me nicely to my next exciting point, there is a new “Wear One, Share One” (WOSO - that’s going to be our new name for it) concept coming your way very very soon…. Which also means there’s new collections! Yes you heard it here first and I need to be careful because the more I write about it the more excited I get and the more I’m going to end up giving away!
First one I am allowed to tell you about is our new HSH tees dropping July 2nd. The Hope Sweet Hope collection has been a huge hit since first being introduced in 2017, so we keep on adding more fresh products just for you. I’ve added a sneak peek below, three new tees, three new colours to keep you looking fresh this summer. I’ve got my name all over a mint one, so I can’t wait for the drop next week.
At the start of this year we vouched that whatever we created would have a purpose rather than creating products just because. With the next summer collection we are dreaming big, in terms of size, products and how we give back to those who are homeless. That’s why I am so excited! The new designs are insane and the new WOSO concept for giving is going to be next level. The projects see us partnering with The Bowery Mission in New York and Centenary House in Belfast to give back to those who are homeless throughout the summer months. How do we keep you in the loop? I’ll be doing my monthly write-ups, but we are also going to make sure we have tonnes of footage that you get access to by signing up to our email to see exactly where your giving goes. So make sure to subscribe below to be kept in the loop. I’d love to tell you all more about what is happening, but the excitement is in the unknown, the anticipation and the sneak peeks.. They are coming. In the meantime make sure to keep the second week of July in your diary.
That’s a wrap for this month. It’s for sure been a massive learning month and one that hopefully we can look back at and remember how we became aware of our blind spots and more importantly what we did about them. As much as we’ve had to adapt I’m really excited for this summer, we might not be travelling around the UK, but we are certainly going to be busy with new drops and new giving back concepts. Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!