How Being A Social Enterprise Helps RE+NEW+ALL Shine
You already know RE + NEW + ALL creates elegant, beautifully scented soy candles. You know we train and employ trafficking survivors so they can regain their financial footing during their recovery and re-entry into the world. You know our candles are made to make a difference.
But do you know why RE + NEW + ALL chose to become a social enterprise instead of a regular for-profit business or a nonprofit?
There were a few important reasons behind our decision. Before sharing our “why,” we should first explain the “what.” In other words...
What is a Social Enterprise?
These days, a lot of businesses are operating from a more socially conscious perspective. Some try to raise awareness around an issue while others offer to donate a portion of their profits to a particular cause. This has led to a fair bit of confusion around what a social enterprise really is.
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to use the definition from the Social Enterprise Alliance. According to the SAE, social enterprises are “organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach.”
In other words, a social enterprise like RE + NEW + ALL Candle is a business whose main mission is to sell a product or service, then use their profits to meet a societal need and make a positive impact in the world.
This is very different from a nonprofit or typical business. While both social enterprises and nonprofits work on behalf of a social cause, nonprofits rely on grants and donations for all of their funding. Social enterprises create their own income stream. And unlike a typical business, the primary goal of a social enterprise isn’t solely to generate revenue or wealth.
Yes, RE + NEW + ALL makes money from selling candles. However, we exist in order to provide employment to women who, due to difficult and sometimes dire circumstances, are rebuilding their lives, overcoming their past, and creating a bright future for themselves. Our revenue from candle sales keeps our studio lights on, helps us purchase supplies, and, most importantly, provides the salary and skills our candlemakers can use to start anew.
The Benefits of the Social Enterprise Business Model
While social enterprises can’t offer a single solution to the conflicts and issues our world faces, they can make a significant impact.
As social enterprises grow in prominence and popularity, they’re able to address an ever-increasing variety of issues. They can correct market failures, enhance business endeavors, and tackle global social challenges. This includes making loans more accessible to low-income communities, repurposing items that would otherwise go to waste, and hiring people who face significant barriers to regular employment.
A social enterprise can complement and advance a nonprofit’s social goals too. It can give them greater visibility and add stability to their financial bottom line, allowing them to devote more energy to their mission. For-profit companies can integrate a social enterprise initiative into their business model, giving them the ability to have a social impact as well as increase their financial returns.
It’s also notable that more people are paying attention to how and where their dollars go and how they can make a bigger difference. “Conscious consumerism” and “impact investing” may sound like buzz words, but are playing a powerful role in the way people are interacting with the economy.
Why RE + NEW + ALL Became a Social Enterprise
So, why did we choose the social enterprise route for our candles and candlemakers?
First, RE + NEW + ALL began as a therapeutic and creative outlet for trafficking survivors to restore their self-esteem during recovery. By operating as a social enterprise, making candles could then also be a way for these women to get back on their feet financially. Our studio gives these women a safe space to regain their confidence, learn a trade, and earn a living.
Second, as a social enterprise, we’re able to partner with other nonprofits and assist them in raising needed funds. One way we do this is through our Difference Maker campaigns: We partner with nonprofits that align with our mission, organizations providing outreach, resources, and aid to anyone who may be vulnerable to exploitation. Then, for one month, we donate a percentage of the sales from our Difference Maker to them.
And finally, being a social enterprise lets you, our customer, become personally invested in the lives of our candlemakers. Each of our elegant 13.5oz candles is signed by a survivor, so you know exactly whose life your purchase impacts.
When you purchase a RE + NEW + ALL candle, you’re doing much more than bringing the light of a beautiful, hand-poured candle into your home. Every sale keeps our candlemakers employed. Our monthly candle club subscribers are like monthly donors who assist us in planning, budgeting, and growing our business.
Every time you invest in a RE + NEW + ALL candle, you’re giving these women the joy of a job they love, an environment where they are safe and nurtured, and the opportunity to grow professionally into leadership positions. Your support gives these women the ability to dream and discover who they want to be.
And seeing these women succeed is RE + NEW + ALL’s real mission. As part of our community, you’re helping us make that positive social impact...one candle at a time.