Home > Talking Pants > Talking Pants – February 2017

Overall total is 390,288

Regular readers of my updates will know that I’m constantly amazed by how much Smalls for All has grown over the past few years. It’s been absolutely incredible. Thanks to our pantastic supporters and some wonderful new partnerships, we’ve been able to help many more people in Africa get the underwear they need. In the last two months alone, we’ve sent over 50,000 items of underwear.

We’re always adapting to support our growth and looking to raise more funds to support our work too. As part of this, I’d like to tell you about a new partnership we’ve started with a family-run business called Lawrence M Barry & Co – LMB.

LMB specialise in recycling clothes. We plan to work with them to raise additional funds for Smalls by sending them a small proportion of the gently worn bras we collect.

We’re not aware of any companies in the UK that recycle bras for their textiles – the technology doesn’t seem to exist. But LMB have developed an alternative recycling solution that helps people in developing economies to earn an income by selling bras. By supplying bras that have only been gently worn, LMB provides the opportunity for enterprising individuals to set up in business and earn money, keeping many families out of poverty.

There has been a fair amount written about the potential impact of sending unwanted clothes to developing countries. The concern is that it may prevent the development of any local textile manufacturing.  From the research we’ve done on the ground in Africa, we know that textile manufacturing doesn’t exist in many African nations. When it comes to bras in particular, there are challenging barriers to entry as the technology and costs involved in manufacturing them appear to be unsustainable in the local economies.

We believe LMB’s approach is helping to solve a problem in communities where bras are too expensive to produce, where there is often little or no access to bras, and where many people are living in poverty and looking for a way to earn a living. LMB have an established network of people they help, so are having a positive impact on the lives of many.

We plan to start a pilot scheme with LMB from 1 May when they will take a small proportion of the gently worn bras we collect. The exact number will depend on the volumes we receive, but we’ve set a cap of 10%.

This means that 100% of all the brand new pants and brand new bras we collect, and at least 90% of the gently worn bras we collect, will continue to be donated directly to the people we support in Africa. The remainder of the bras will be helping people earn a living and, at the same time, raising vital funds to support the work we do.

Of course, we couldn’t do any of this without your donations of pants and bras, and I’m really glad to say we’ve had lots of contact from people having a new year clean-out or making a resolution to do something to help. Thank you everyone for your continuing support and enthusiasm for the work we do.