Pivot is a social enterprise that empowers people experiencing homelessness to pivot their lives by designing, making and selling jewellery.
Pivot’s model is aimed at bringing part-time, flexible and meaningful employment to those who find it difficult to access, by working directly in homeless hostels.
We support our makers by providing coaching, financial support and guidance to create swifter pathways out of temporary accommodation.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The idea for Pivot was conceived during my time on the postgraduate social innovation programme Year Here.
During the year-long course two months are set aside to build and prototype our own social enterprise. From a young age I have always had a passion for designing and making. Having come from a family of architects and crafters, I have been fascinated by the power of creating something from scratch. It involves creativity, dedication and precision. The feeling of completing a piece and seeing someone else wear it is truly gratifying.
I wanted to share this feeling with the people I was working with in the North London hostel and see if I could create a business that supports vulnerable people whilst also creating something beautiful that people wanted to buy.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in the UK has reached unprecedented levels. According to research from Shelter, 280,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, an increase of 23,000 since 2016.
I had seen first hand the scale of the problem of homelessness, having spent the past two years helping other organisations build innovative solutions to tackle homelessness in the UK – including the YMCA, the catering social enterprise Fat Macy’s and UK national homelessness charity Crisis.
Through the combination of my experience working with people experiencing homelessness and my technical knowledge of making jewellery, I felt like I could build a social enterprise that would help to tackle this issue in an innovative way.
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What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Be agile and don’t plan too far ahead – we’ve put this into practice over the pandemic, pivoting where we’ve needed to.
Build a business around something you love.
Invest in yourself! Build up your specialist knowledge and expertise, for example I learnt so much during my time at Year Here.
But also don’t be afraid to give something a go! You miss every shot you don’t take.
What can we hope to see from Pivot in the future?
- Work with more hostels and people living in temporary accommodation
We want to work with more temporary accommodation providers across the UK.
Earlier this year we launched our first ever project outside of London. Our new project with Taunton Open Door will see a collection designed by clients of Open Door, made up and sold locally in Taunton and Somerset.
We hope to partner with more hostels across the UK to help those experiencing homelessness pivot their lives through making and enterprise.
Subscription service and workshops
We have also created a number of new products and services for our consumer customers. In November, we launched our first ever subscription service just in time for Christmas.
For £125 we’ll send you six pairs of earrings over the year. Each pair will come handcrafted and in a presentation box with the name of the maker inside.
£125 is how much it costs us to support one of our makers for a month and is a great way to fill your life with a bit of joy knowing that your gift is helping someone.
We are also exploring how to roll-out our jewellery making workshops – be that virtually, in people’s homes, in offices or in a workshop somewhere in London.
As much as possible, we try to involve our makers with these workshops, acting as facilitators or assistants – as they are making experts afterall!
3. Hire more markers into part-time and full-time roles
We also want to hire more of our makers into part-time or full-time roles, helping to manage the making process and facilitate making sessions.