Monday 13 December 2010

Biddy Bags :: Knitting Nannas :: Social Enterprise

Biddy Bags products are both a fashion and a social statement.

Biddie Bags founder Samantha Jockel (middle), with her nanna Ivy Turner and business patron Sarah Blasko.

Biddy Bags

is a boutique social enterprise, the brainchild of Samantha Jockel,

where seniors who knit, crochet and sew

can be commissioned to create contemporary designs dreamed up by younger women.

…connects socially isolated nannas and

mature-aged ladies through craft, economic

participation and social networking.

…appreciates and values the skills of

mature-aged women and challenges the idea

that the older you get the less you have to

contribute to society.

…is inter-generational, combining

contemporary fresh ideas of young women

and the skills and crafting abilities of older

women – to create the Biddy Bags designs.

Patron: Sarah Blasko

This is an original Biddy Bag.

Each Biddy Bags design comes with the story of its maker and each ‘biddy’ shares in the company profits.

“Even if they’re earning $50 a week from the sale of an $80 bag, it’s significant for the women,” Jockel says.

Biddy Bags’ market is mostly women aged between 25 and 50, of which Jockel says there are two different types: those who think Biddy Bags’ products are “fun, silly and funky” and those who want to support its ethos of connecting and compensating older women for their time-honoured skills.

While Jockel is yet to draw a wage from the business – “any money I make is reinvested back into the business”, she was recently named a top-three finalist in Channel 7′s Sunrise Business Builder of the Year awards, which lauds unsung heroes of small business.

Other woollen strings to her bow have come via recent commissions from the Queensland, New South Wales and South Australian state galleries for her team of ‘nannas’ to create merchandise for the touring Rupert Bunny exhibition and an American impressionism exhibition from New York’s Met. The rest of the time, Biddy Bags sell at the Biddy Bags website, local markets and expo stalls.

“Initially I didn’t want to make things like tea cosies because I thought they were (ironically) way too nanna, but then I started getting emails from people asking for them. I did the research, found not one business on the internet exclusively selling tea cosies, so figured there must be a gap in the market.”

Now, the tea cosies are Biddy Bags’ second-biggest seller. As well as the cupcake one featured, there is the iconic pineapple that I love too. Still can’t decide which one to bring home!

To purchase visit Biddy Bags, and read the recent article in SMH source of the above excerpt.


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