Episode #47 - The fashion brand run by knitting grandmothers

Show notes

In the US, where the number of senior citizens in the workforce has nearly tripled since the 1970s, older workers are also increasingly working full-time instead of part-time. Seniors now working full-time are more common than those working part-time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of those working who are older than 65 will reach 23% by 2022. In the last decade, the average age of the US labour force has increased by about five years.

Now, of course, there’s nothing wrong with this; working lives are being extended as life expectancy rises and public health improves.

And employers are starting to value older workers more.

In the UK, Barclays and National Express have both recently announced apprenticeship schemes designed to cater for older workers and to broaden the age diversity of their workforces.

The National Express scheme aims to recruit people for whom age and extended career breaks can pose a barrier to finding employment, including the over-50s and women coming back to work after having kids.

Company’s are starting to realise the value of having a diverse workforce, reflecting as it does their broad customer base and the wide range of skills and experience on offer.

No better is that being realised than at the DIY store B&Q, which has long championed employing older staff that have the real knowledge about doing stuff round the house that the new generation just can’t be bothered with.

Fast food chain McDonald's and pub chain JD Wetherspoons are two other notable companies now getting in on the act in encouraging older people to apply for jobs.

But imagine a company whose sole reason for existing is to give jobs to older people.

This week, Vikki Knowles meets Faustine Badrichani, the co-founder of Wooln, a New York-based business making high-end beanie hats and other knitted goods, entirely handmade by older ladies in the community.

If you want to find out more, head to www.wooln-ny.com.

Faustine Badrichani and Margaux Rousseau, co-founders of Wooln (Credi:  Aude Adrien)  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.8px Arial; color: #232323; -webkit-text-stroke: #232323}
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Faustine Badrichani and Margaux Rousseau, co-founders of Wooln (Credi: Aude Adrien)

Faustine and  Margaux with the grandmas (Credit: La Femme Collective)

Faustine and Margaux with the grandmas (Credit: La Femme Collective)

Wooln's grandmas working on a new pattern together

Wooln's grandmas working on a new pattern together

From the new Wooln collection (Credit:  eakphoto)

From the new Wooln collection (Credit: eakphoto)


Also, this week...

Gareth Kane

Gareth Kane

I know we have many sustainability practitioners listening to the show – those working within businesses whose task it is to rally the troops, set goals, make improvements, sell the concept of sustainability to the board, and so on.

Well, we have a special segment of the show just for you this week.

Gareth Kane gives you his 10 Worst Sustainability Ideas – and how you can learn from them.

Episode #41 - The East London start-up space with a difference


 

The Better Business Show, in association with Triodos

 
 
 

Show notes

If you’ve been to the East End of London lately, you’ll know what has become of the place.

Many blocks east of Old Street station have been utterly transformed over the last 15 years – much like places like Brooklyn, in New York - with a new, gentrified community of hipsters, marketing agencies, tech start-ups and entrepreneurs having moved in, renting out converted houses, warehouses and old office blocks. It has become a really buzzing place, and whenever I’m in the area for meetings, I love just wandering around and soaking up the unique atmosphere of this little pocket of London.

Auro Foxcroft, owner of Village Underground, sitting in one of the venue's train carriage start-up spaces.

Auro Foxcroft, owner of Village Underground, sitting in one of the venue's train carriage start-up spaces.

Well, if you wander along Great Eastern Street, you'll get an even more unique experience. For on top of the row of buildings, almost jutting out into the street, are a series of graffiti-ed tube carriages and a bunch of shipping containers.

And this is the home of Village Underground, a cultural and creative hub in the heart of East London. Part creative community, part arts venue, Village Underground is housed in a renovated turn-of-the-century warehouse primed for everything from concerts and club nights to exhibitions, theatre, live art and other performances. And it’s also a place where start-ups can rent space to work from.

But there’s more to it than that – from the way it was developed, to the way it is run. This week, the owner of the venue, Auro Foxcroft, gives us the inside story.

Check out the VU website for more details.

Oh, and the Better World Podcast Collective I mention in this week's show is here.

Episode #36 - Why I left my €100k CEO job aged 26 to launch a start-up to save the planet

Show notes

What makes somebody give up their 100k euro salary and CEO position to launch a start up at the age of 26?

Well, that’s what our guest this week has done. His company is HomeTree, a UK based tech start-up focused on alleviating the hassle too often associated with purchasing boilers and other energy saving home improvement categories once and for all. 

The ambition: to be the go-to place for homeowners looking to install and finance a range of products which drastically reduce their reliance on the grid and to live more comfortably, cheaper and in a more sustainable way.

At just 20, Simon was given an incredible opportunity when he was selected by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation as one of the top young potential entrepreneurs in the UK in its inaugural program. The programme placed him with Jon Moulton, the famous private equity investor, on a one-year contract, which ultimately turned into a permanent role. 

By the age of 23, Simon had been sent to his home town of Dublin, Ireland to set up a €100m joint venture fund with the Irish Government. 

By 25 he had made Simon CEO of one of his major investments.

However, inspired by the likes of Elon Musk, Simon felt increasingly compelled to work on what he believes is “my generation's greatest problem”: climate change. Aware of Musk's mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation with Tesla, Simon wanted to do something similar. But as an environmental engineer by training, he was keen to concern himself with the fact that the largest greenhouse gas contributor by far – electricity generation in residential buildings – was not seeing the same type of innovation. 

HomeTree is his response.

Enjoy the show.

Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella (chief product officer), Hometree's co-founders

Simon Phelan and Andreu Tobella (chief product officer), Hometree's co-founders


This week's news round-up with Vikki Knowles (aka Susty Girl) features:

1. Nike's distribution centre that uses sheep instead of lawnmowers for maintenance
2. Vogue's take on sustainable wool
3. The Union of Concerned Scientists new scorecard on the 13 biggest good companies – most of which aren't doing enough to safeguard tropical forests
4. Management Today's exploration of the impact of executive pay on corporate reputation.