Social Entrepreneur Index nominee: We Make Bristol
Amanda George talks to us about her social enterprise, We Make Bristol, which helps artists sell their work locally with low commission fees, allowing them to maximise their profit.
What does your social enterprise do?
We Make Bristol supports Bristol artists, designers and creatives by giving them the opportunity to sell their work on the high street without them having to pay large commissions on sales or sell wholesale for very little profit.
What made you start your business up?
The great lack of selling opportunities for creatives that exist.
How do you measure your impact?
Happy stockists that are selling their work and making money.
How did you decide on what legal form would work best for your business?
I wanted a business model that I thought would be a fairer way of operating for local independent creatives. Other retail outlets will take a large commission from them or beat them down on wholesale prices.
I decided to operate as a sole trader, set up my business model and was then told by a business advisor that my business model was that of a social enterprise!
What advice would you give to aspiring social entrepreneurs?
It has to be something that you are passionate about.
Why do you think social enterprise is important?
In a world that is increasingly profit-driven, it is great to be able to do business for good.
What’s been your most rewarding experience as a social entrepreneur?
Being a finalist in the retail category in the Bristol Life Awards 2019.
What’s been the most surprising thing about creating a social enterprise?
The fact that the business model i set up to run my business was, in fact, the business model of a social enterprise!
What are your plans for the next two to five years?
Just to keep going as I am but to develop an e-commerce website so that I can increase sales potential for my creatives.
What is the biggest change you would like to see in the world?
Well along with the usual things of world peace and an end to poverty... Heads of businesses not being allowed to take huge lump sums from the business whilst redundancies are being made, or worst still they are about to go into administration.
What have been your three proudest moments as a social entrepreneur?
Setting up my shop with no experience and seeing it thrive. In 2019 whilst the Guardian was reporting a 19-month downward trend in retail sales, I was consistently seeing month-on-month increases when compared to 2018. Being a finalist in the 2019 Bristol Life Awards. Having so many customers repeatedly tell me how much they love my shop and ask me never to close.
What would you say to encourage more entrepreneurs to consider the social impact of their businesses?
Happiness isn’t just achieved through making money. Happiness comes from so many other areas. Simple things like treating employees and customers fairly, being conscious of the effect you have on people and the environment plays such a big part in our lives. Having come from a relatively cut-throat work environment previously, I can honestly say that whilst I earn far less these days, I am the happiest in my work that I have ever been.