Social Enterprise on the Move: Can You Help?

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A pop-up social enterprise and store which mentors refugees and recently arrived migrants in design and business skills, is likely to lose their current location to a franchise food chain. They are desperate to find new premises to continue their inspiring work.

The founder of Space2b, Ms Janine Lawrie, said: “Six months ago, a small army of volunteers transformed a rundown purple hair salon in Carlisle St into an exciting art and design social enterprise with a shop, gallery and training/event space”

Having successfully established Space2b with the support of the East St Kilda community, they are now seeking new premises in the area.

“If anyone has a space they are willing or able to provide at a lower rent, please let us know, as we are passionate about continuing the projects that we have underway,” Ms Lawrie said. Space2b are committed to becoming a self-sustaining affair with a business-like approach to their cause.

The shop currently stocks over 45 established Melbourne designers, with a growing number of migrant and refugee designers from diverse cultures selling products they have made; including clothing, toys, jewellery, giftware and accessories, all inspired by their own culture and their work with local designers.

Local resident and author, Julie Mundy said: “Space2b has brought something fresh and important to Carlisle Street. It’s full of gorgeous, original design, at good prices, but you also get the satisfaction of knowing that by buying here you are improving the lives of new Australians”

“Space2b has much greater scope than we initially anticipated, as migrant and refugees working in the shop are improving their English skills, exchanging ideas and making connections with the local community, as well as developing creative and business skills via mentoring with Melbourne designers,” Ms Lawrie said.

Prior to leaving its current location in mid-March, Space2b is launching an exhibition of paintings and drawings by asylum seekers from Tuesday 17th February until closing.

Additionally, Space2b is having a moving sale through February with up to 50% off clothing, jewellery and homeware items.

Social enterprise employs commercial strategies to improve human and environmental well-being, rather than producing profits for commercial gain.

Space2b is a partnership between Janine Lawrie; textile and fashion designer, and Mariam Issa; founder of RAW-Australia, writer, storyteller and activist, who arrived in Australia as a refugee from Somalia 15 years ago.

If you have a retail space in a good location that might be suitable for Space2b to pop up in or settle in for the longer term, or even just a short-term storage area while they find the perfect space, please email Janine Lawrie at Space2b would also like to hear from anyone in the community who would like to be involved and assist this important new enterprise.



231 Carlisle St, Balaclava


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