EP (36) Nick Pearce: Creating a unique social enterprise that gives back to people experiencing homelessness

 
Marcus Crook (left), Nick Pearce (middle), and Robbie Gillies - Co-founders of HoMie.

Marcus Crook (left), Nick Pearce (middle), and Robbie Gillies - Co-founders of HoMie.

From conversations with people on the street, to a bike ride charity event in Vietnam back in 2013, the rise of social enterprise known as HoMie, is quite unique.

Marcus, Nick and Robbie didn't have a clear plan when they began sharing all the stories and pictures of people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne on their Facebook page; but they did know that the general perception of homelessness needed to change. And they wanted to help create that change.

As their following on the FB page Homelessness in Melbourne grew, they decided to co-host their first pop-up shop known as a "Street Store." This is where people of the community were encouraged to donate gently used clothing and goods that they didn't want anymore, so people who were experiencing homelessness in the community could come and select some items. 

The event was such a huge success and it created a positive vibe for everyone involved, that the three friends wanted to create something more permanent. After getting some crowd-funding money, and taking part in a few start-up programs, the social enterprise known as HoMie was founded.

Community giving and giving back is extremely important to these guys. Not only can all their products be purchased online (a lot are designed in house); but they have a brick and mortar store on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy (Melbourne). For every product purchased, they're able to provide new clothes, job training and other opportunities to those experiencing homelessness.

It's such a great idea, people! With transparency and goodwill at it's core.

They also offer really cool VIP shopping days - but you'll have to listen to the episode to find out the impact they are having!

The HoMie store on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

The HoMie store on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Marcus Crook and Nick Pearce

Marcus Crook and Nick Pearce

A HoMie block party to raise awareness of homelessness in Melbourne.

A HoMie block party to raise awareness of homelessness in Melbourne.

SOME QUESTIONS I ASKED:

  • We're you always a kid that wanted to help others?
  • What was the turn-around moment for you? Did you have an epiphany or something, where you knew what you wanted to do?
  • How did the idea of HoMie come about?
  • What were the beginning years like? How did you get it off the ground?
  • How have you guys been able to fund your social enterprise?
  • Did you ever think it would be what it is today?
  • What was the response to the stories you were sharing on the first FB page?
  • What was your opinion of homelessness before becoming so engaged in this issue?
  • Why do you think Melbourne has a large homeless community?
  • What is the origins of a Street Store event?
  • Where do you guys see HoMie in five years?
  • And so much more...

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: 

  • How their VIP shopping experiences are changing lives
  • The power of giving people their dignity back
  • How a simple purchase of a product can go a long way to changing a persons life
  • How Nick used his own struggles to positively give back to his community
  • Why it's important to create something with authenticity
  • The reasons they don't want to expand too quickly, and rather value real connections
  • The importance of non-judgement
  • How to play on your strengths and collaborate with others that have different skill sets
  • How to build a successful business, while working alongside your friends
  • And lots more!!

OTHER LINKS:

CONNECT WITH HoMie

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | FB STORIES

ENJOY THE PODCAST? 

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Edited by: James Nicholson