Kindness & Co is a community interest company...why?
Every business has a story and I felt it was perhaps time to share mine.
My name is Nicola, married to Alan, we have two girls Emily 19 and Jessica 17. We have a menagerie of pets, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 ducks. By day I work in our family business LPS Ltd in Irvine.
In 2017 I started South Ayrshire School Clothing Bank a charity which supplies new school uniforms and warm coats to children and families experiencing financial hardship in South Ayrshire.
All our requests come from trusted third parties such as Social Workers or charities working directly with children. We also set up school clothing banks within local Secondary Schools, this means we are able to include young people that aren’t under the care of social work or charities uniform items are distributed by Guidance teachers.
Fundraising is a challenge, and a time consuming one so I started selling candles to raise funds….that way I get to do something I love for a great cause.
Through the work with South Ayrshire School Clothing Bank I met so many other amazing people and charities so really wanted to be able to do something for them too.
Candle sales were great in Christmas 2018 and I was able to made a donation to Whiteleys, a local charity which offers therapeutic short breaks for children and their families. We met Bernard and he showed us round the Retreat - honestly that visit still makes me tear up. We lost my brother when he was 20yrs old to leukaemia. So visiting here we could see how much a retreat like this means to families. It’s a special place where families can reconnect and spend some ‘normal family’ time. Kindness & Co donate soaps for the cottages and candles for the families who are staying. I also donate candles called Whiteleys Warriors so every family receives one at the end of their stay…candles and fragrance are so important and the hope is the Whiteleys Warrior candles remind the families of their special time in a very special place.
Unity Grill are another wonderful organisation who we are lucky enough to work with, they are a social enterprise restaurant donating 100% of their profits to challenge food poverty but they do so much more than that. Angela has been a great source of help when I was setting up Kindness & Co as a CIC. We donate the soaps for their toilets and they also sell our range of candles.
At the start of 2020 I set up online sales via shopify. In January 2020 profits went to Unity Grill, In February to Whiteleys Retreat, In March to Beautiful Inside & Out and then Covid 19....
So in April / May lockdown hit and the world changed, I halted candle making and concentrating on donated soaps, lotions and scented angel wings to local NHS staff, care homes and key workers.
In June 2020 after a good few weeks of lockdown and an inkling for something different I launched a new range of candles….candles to really lift your spirit, give you pause – I think we're all more conscious of the things we're bringing into our homes so I wanted them to be extra special - more meaningful.
2021 will see the launch of a new range….something I’ve been working on for the last 12 months or so and I’m finally happy with the results and nearly ready to share with you all!
To sum up…Kindness & Co is non profit, my main goal every year is to ensure the School Clothing Bank has the funds it needs. 2021 has seen the clothing bank grow and thanks to the funds from Kindness & Co we have been able to increase the number of uniform hubs we have within schools. We still continue to receive referrals from charities and organisations working directly with children’s and families summer is our busiest of times and luckily it would seem its also the quietest time for candles - its a perfect fit!
So right there is my big WHY...