We have found over the years that we inevitably end up with odd boxes of products that we can’t sell for one reason or another. It may be that they were earlier stage formulations where we haven’t quite perfected the colour and smell, or it could be that the packaging gets damaged, or perhaps we have things with a too short shelf life (one of the dangers with natural products)
It has always seemed like such a waste for us to just throw them away, when they are still perfectly good to use. So we have always tried to think creatively about what to do with them. We thought it might be interesting to share a few of the homes that some of these less fortunate lip balms and lotions have found after leaving us…
Back in 2014 a big box of lip balms took an unfortunate tumble down the stairs on their way to get labelled. The tins were too damaged for us to sell, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to simply dispose of them, and there were too many to just give away to friends and family (there really is a limit to how many lip balms any one person needs!) So we decided to donate them to a local charity. We chose the Open Nest as they do such incredible work providing families with post adoption peer support, advice, short breaks and training in a therapeutic environment. The founder of this incredible initiative, Amanda Boorman, also runs a boutique hotel La Rosa in the heart of Whitby (where we are based) so we headed over there and asked if she would like to sell the lip balms at a discounted rate and give all proceeds to the charity. We were thrilled to see that they managed to raise over £100.
Earlier this year we found ourselves with a surplus amount of Starflower & Calendula body lotion, which we were worried might not all sell before the shelf life was too short. Trying to pre-empt this possible waste, we got thinking about who could benefit from the products. As a family we have been heavily involved with helping those going through the asylum process (Cecily, Hugo and Dorrie’s mum dedicates herself to fighting to support those most vulnerable) A lot of her work is done alongside the dedicated team at Justice First. They are a charity that was formed in 2006 working with people in the Tees Valley who are seeking asylum. They help those whose appeals have been rejected to re-engage with the legal system. They provide humanitarian aid for those who do not, at present, qualify for support from the state. During this uncertain time, many of those seeking asylum will have little or no money to survive on. So we thought what better place to send a box full of body lotions that could be picked up for free by anyone who needed them. Thank you to our mum for transporting them all up to Middlesbrough on the bus!
Earlier this year we were made aware of an initiative that was launched as Part of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2016. Care to Share are a Scarborough based organisation (just down the coast from us!) and they wanted to encourage people to rally together to help female Burmese refugees who live on the Mae Sot rubbish dump in Thailand. They came up with the idea of sending care packages to women and sent out a request for donations. We were more than happy to send over a selection of lip balms and lotions that we were unable to sell, and heard that the whole initiative was a huge success.
I recently saw a Facebook post from a friend who is working with a group of young people who are doing their National Citizen Service, a voluntary programme for 15-17 year olds which involves taking part in a social action project of their choice. For their project, this group of young people has decided to help 16-25, which is an organisation that supports young people with housing and life skills. They start by housing those young people at risk of becoming homeless and those who are already homeless, providing them with anything necessary to start living independently. Items such as toiletries, sanitary products, cups, plates, duvets and sheets are the most important items they can give them. After that, they help them develop skills such as cooking and budgeting, for them to become independent. Seeing her request for donations coincided with a batch of lip balms having a cosmetic imperfection, meaning they didn’t pass QC. So we will be shipping these off to Bristol this week!
If you know of any charities that could benefit from these sorts of donations, please do let us know and we will bear them in mind should we find ourselves with any items that we need to re-home! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you have been inspired by any of the charities above, please do take a moment to check them out and see if there is anything you could also do to help them!