In December 2013, two high school friends, Matt and Will, met up in Portugal. Matt was on university exchange, and Will was traveling on a surf trip. Will was reading Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality, which motivated deep discussions around how to tackle inequality.
Later that month in San Francisco, Will was writing poetry on the subway, and was accosted by a homeless man. The man shared his poetry with Will, which had been published in a local homeless newspaper, and was a true work of art. The man shared his story, and it was very clear that he was, sadly, a product of his upbringing – his lack of opportunity during childhood constructed a glass ceiling for him. He didn’t lack intelligence, he lacked resources and social capital.
Will shared the story with Matt, and the pair re-connected in Australia in their final semester of university. The two embarked on a mission to provide an equal opportunity for individuals to live, learn and flourish, and the first seedlings for a social business were sown. Of particular motivation was to create a sustainable model – one that would outlive its creators.
The first iteration of Society&Co was to create a community of change-makers and to be an informational hub in the social business sector. In March 2015, Society&Co was born through a soft digital launch, which was the start of an online community.
As time progressed, and with an ever-growing community, the opportunity presented itself to harness the passion of this community, and launch a social business venture which would generate revenue to fund education projects. In December 2015, societyandco.org went live and we launched our first venture - the Scholar Tee.
In April 2015, through the incredible support of our Citizens, we were able to provide our first Indigenous Scholarship to Alyssa, an 11 year old Indigenous Australian who is one of 6 children to a single mother facing significant financial hardship. The Scholarship provided the foundations for Alyssa’s education - her textbooks, uniform, stationery and the means for school excursions.
Following the success of the Scholar Tee, it became clear to us that fashion apparel was an effective medium through which we could engage and inspire a younger demographic to help tackle some of society's most persistent issues. So in June 2016, we narrowed our focus to fashion apparel and launched what would prove to be two of our most popular items - the Stripe Long Sleeve Tee and Trucker. And as the Society&Co community has grown, so has the team. We’re blessed to have Kat on board, our forever on-point Creative Manger.
The clean design and staple style offered by our Impact Collection caught the eye of the right people, and in October 2016, the Collection became available on Australia's premier online fashion retailer - THE ICONIC. We shared this amazing news with our Citizens and friends at our Spring/Summer Launch, along with our new Impact Partners: the the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation, LIVIN, Long Street Coffee and Boomerang Bags. Safe to say 2016 was a huge year for us.
To be continued...