Vendor Spotlight: Just Trade

By now we’re all aware of fair trade. Fair trade gives you the power to change the world every day just from being a little more savvy when picking up your shopping. But for a long time, it also covered simply providing a fair wage to workers.

Now, enterprises like Just Trade are here to say that fair trade is so much more than just a fair wage. Their collaborative business approach means it cultivates long-lasting relationships with its artisans. Combining traditional craft skills with expert knowledge, every piece of Just Trade jewellery is handmade using locally-sourced materials from eight groups based in Peru, Ecuador, India and Vietnam. You can shop their collection at The Big Issue Shop!

This handmade hammered gold plated bangle was made by the women in the Flowering Desert Project in Tamil Nadu, India.

While this handmade cosmetic case made from screen-printed linen comes from a World Fair Trade Organisation registered factory in Vietnam that employs over 100 marginalised workers from Hanoi and the surrounding areas to make textiles.

Coming from economically disadvantaged communities, each of these makers receives not only a fair wage for their work, but training opportunities and fair conditions too.

Vendor Spotlight: Elephant Branded

“The idea of Elephant Branded is like The Big Issue in that it is run like business, not a charity, and shows that business can be a force for good.”

That’s the view of James Munro Boon, co-founder of Elephant Branded – a social enterprise that make bags, laptop cases and wallets out of recyclable materials to make a difference.

For every one sold, a child in Cambodia gets a school bag to help them with their studies.

“The idea of Elephant Branded is like The Big Issue in that it is run like a business, not a charity, and shows that business can be a force for good.”

That’s the view of James Munro Boon, co-founder of Elephant Branded – a social enterprise that make bags, laptop cases and wallets out of recyclable materials to make a difference.

For every one sold, a child in Cambodia gets a school bag to help them with their studies.

“To be honest, that’s the only reason I do it,” he says. “I go out there every three or four months and that has been since uni when I was spending all my student loan on flights out there every five or six months.

“I’ve seen kids growing up and have their own children thanks to the work we do. I love spending time there and I think that the really valuable thing is where we support people to run their own business and build their own lives.”

While Elephant Branded faces a constant battle to find new recyclable materials – with a struggle to find a waste material available in high volume that doesn’t vary in quality and consistency – it is constantly attempting to innovate with new products on the way.

But the original three ranges of products are available in The Big Issue Shop.

“As well as the exposure, I think working with The Big Issue adds a degree of credibility,” says James.

“Just like how it is wrong for me to Cambodia and tell people what to do and how to run their business, The Big Issue gives vendors a chance to work their way out of poverty.

“And I think that people who buy The Big Issue have the same ethos and concerns as we do. I’ve met a family in Cambodia that I would never have had a chance to meet and that’s where I see the synergy with The Big Issue.”

Street Art: Steve McIntosh

Street Art Steve McIntosh

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

Steve McIntosh taught himself to draw at a young age by reading and imitating DC and Marvel superhero comics. ‘My drawing feels more technical than artistic; puzzles, crosswords and historical facts influence my thoughts and occupy my time, though my work comes from my imagination. I don’t feel in any rush when working, just take my time, each line is considered, not instinctive. I’m not sure why my landscapes and towns often lack people, maybe because I like solitude.’

Vendor Spotlight: Damsel & Daughter

Damsel & Daughter

Vendor Spotlight: Damsel & Daughter

Founded by Mai Gornall, DAMSEL & DAUGHTER, sell beautifully crafted leather and vegan leather coin purses which raise funds to improve women’s health in London.  Marrying her love for crafts with social consciousness, Mai Gornall formed Damsel & Daughter to respond to issues surrounding women in poverty. The word ‘damsel’ finds its roots in ‘women of noble birth’ as Gornall believes all women are created nobel.

Damsel & Daughter

Born from wanting to figure out some way of giving women in disadvantaged positions back their dignity, Gornall found a need for regular feminine hygiene packs. This lead to the creation of the leather coin purses which the proceeds would help fund feminine hygiene packs. These coin purses are all up-cycled from leather and faux leather off-cuts sourced on Brick Lane. The silver model is made from vegan leather.

The packs are then are distributed to various shelters across London, such as The Manna Society and the Hackney Migrant Centre.

SHOP DAMSEL & DAUGHTER

Damsel & Daughter

Street Art: Andy Bick

Andy Bick

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

Andy Bick from Worcester experienced a long period of homelessness, including living in a hostel for several years, and before that rough sleeping and sofa-surfing. He now lives in his own rented flat. He started drawing cartoons as a means of communicating with his 90-year-old mother. “I intended for these cartoons to have a simplistic style,” he says. “I felt it would be wrong or a distraction to Beano-ize the homeless. It was important for them to look like something homeless folk could relate to.”

Street Art: Stephen Mundy

Stephen Mundy

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

Stephen Mundy served two years of a four-year prison sentence at HMP Lewes, Sussex. “I created this image (pictured above) just before I was due to be released from HMP Lewes, Sussex after serving two years of a four-year prison sentence,” says Stephen. “While I was in prison I was given the choice of working in the workshop, or going to education, I chose education. I was very mentally ill, and practising art was a real benefit to my mental health. I applied to college on release but didn’t have anywhere to live. That’s where this piece of art fits in – boarded-up houses, a man with a rucksack, scratching his head, thinking “where to now?” Luckily since release, I have been in temporary, supported housing, and doing well at college.”

Stephen Mundy

Vendor Spotlight: Good News Shared

Vendor Spotlight: Good News Shared

Good News Shared is shining a light on the uplifting, charitable things that are happening all around us to help people feel more optimistic and to inspire people to make positive contributions to their community.

Studies have found that hearing and sharing good news can have a number of positive effects on us, including increased optimism and reduced stress levels. Good News Shared aims to put this at the forefront, promoting charitable events and positive mental health.

They have since created a guided journal with daily reflection questions to help you notice, remember and appreciate the good things from your day.

Called, The Moments Journal, this book gives you a positivity boost every evening as countless studies have shown focusing on positive moments, kindness and good news can increase your happiness and reduce your stress levels.

The Royal Collection

Royal Wedding Collection

The Royal Wedding Collection

We are proud to present to you The Big Issue’s Royal Wedding Collection – guaranteed to be your Antiques Roadshow treasures of the future! This exclusive range of commemorative objects to treasure are all designed by contributors to our Street Art page and artists who have experienced homelessness. We have portraits by John Sheehy, Jo Adamson and Geraldine Crimms, whilst our stunning cover was created by David Tovey.

A unique way to celebrate – Big Issue style!

Celebrating The Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding

Portrait Royal Wedding

 

Vendor Spotlight: Jerry

Jerry Bottle

Vendor Spotlight: Jerry

Jerry cares about decreasing plastic bottle pollution, getting clean water to everyone and furthermore, keeping you in good health. A million single-use plastic water bottles are bought around the world every minute and Jerry believes we need to change this environmental crisis together. All profits from the sale of Jerry’s beautiful reusable water bottles go to making clean water projects across India and Tanzania, with their sister company – The Waterfall Charity.

As well as this, by looking at the bottom of the reusable steel jerry water bottle, there will be the coordinates of the water project that purchase has funded so you can trace exactly which village your bottle is funding.

Jerry is working on setting up free-refill spots by working with shops and restaurants to let people fill their jerry bottles. They also work with corporate companies, schools and universities to educate and encourage people about sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles.

SHOP JERRY 

Jerry

Vendor Spotlight: Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project

Vendor Spotlight: Forgiveness Project

The Forgiveness Project works in communities, prisons, schools, and with anyone wishing to explore peaceful solutions to conflict and pain.
All profits from the sale of The Forgiveness Project products go back into the project enabling them to support more people.

Founded in 2004 by journalist, Marina Cantacuzino, The Forgiveness Project provides resources and experiences to help people examine and overcome their own unresolved grievances. The testimonies they collect ”bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit and act as a powerful antidote to narratives of hate and dehumanisation, presenting alternatives to cycles of conflict, violence, crime and injustice.”

The Forgiveness Project

This idea informs their work across multiple platforms – in publications and educational resources, through the international F Word exhibition, in public conversations, and their award-winning RESTORE prison programme.

RESTORE is The Forgiveness Project’s award-winning, intensive group-based intervention programme that supports prisoners in their process of change towards a crime-free life. They currently have two publications out, the most recent one – Forgiveness is Really Strange is a beautifully illustrated book that explores the complexity of forgiveness. The Forgiveness Project collates powerful real-life stories from survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence worldwide. They reveal the very real impact of forgiveness on their lives and offers alternatives to resentment, retaliation and revenge.

the Forgiveness Project