When I first started Merry People in 2014, I knew I wanted to do business in a way that would have a positive impact on the world. At the very beginning of this journey, I considered making Merry People a social enterprise.
Whilst I was learning about social enterprises, a business mentor connected me with Nick Pearce, a Co-Founder & CEO of a Melbourne-based social enterprise called HoMie (a man who funnily enough later became my husband!) I learnt first-hand about the challenges of running a social enterprise, particularly in regard to balancing social and commercial requirements.
As I was the only person working on Merry People during this time (and unable to afford to hire anyone or even pay myself a wage), I realised I was perhaps trying to do too much. I needed to focus on getting Merry People "off the ground" and into a profitable business first and foremost. I knew once this was able to happen, I could then hopefully make a positive impact on the world.
Additionally to this, for me “making a positive impact on the world” was not as simple as allocating a portion of profits to a charity; It was also through being a good employer, looking after my staff, treating all people kindly (including customers, stakeholders & suppliers) & creating quality products in a way that considers people and the environment.
It's incredibly important to me to support and give back to local communities, as our community has enabled us to grow in the first place!!!
I'm very pleased to say that Merry People is now a profitable business and over the subsequent years we have proudly supported various charities and causes.
I am further happy to share with you below some of the charities and people we have recently supported.
Dani Pearce - Founder
Bridge-It, Bridge-it provides a home and a community to young female identifying people (ages 17-21) who have experienced homelessness. They have called their home ‘The Cocoon’ and believe that everyone deserves a safe home - and of course, we couldn’t agree more! I remember walking into The Cocoon for the first time and the staff had baked muffins because they wanted The Cocoon to smell like a home. I could instantly feel the warmth, passion and genuine care the staff have for their work, which is further evident by the success rates they have had on their program. I wanted to support - so Merry People is providing funding for the creation of The Cocoon’s community garden.
Heide Museum, Heide is a public art museum and sculpture park located on a stretch of the Birrarung/Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia that has long served as a meeting point and as a creative hub. Since becoming a mum (and the hectic life of balancing Merry People and motherhood) nature has been my rock. It has helped me feel still in the chaos, to feel clarity when my mind feels jumbled and also helped me find creativity when I feel a creative block, I personally believe that the arts are an important part of our culture - and Heide has created a space that enables the arts; a space that inspires dreams, creativity, bold thinking and problem solving and space to find joy and connection to nature. We are very proud to be the official gardening partner for Heide - supporting the maintenance of the grounds. If you haven't been to Heide (only a 20 minute drive from the CBD) I encourage you to get a coffee or lunch at the cafe and walk around!
The Mother Day Classic 1 in every 7 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime - a very sobering statistic when you think of the amount of women in your life. The Mothers Day Classic raises money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and since 1994, the five year survival rate has gone from 74% to 92%. I have three members of my team who have had members in their direct family touched by breast cancer and through our connection with women, our pink boots and getting outdoors - it was a charity that myself and the team really wanted to get behind. Over a period leading up to Mothers Day (in Australia) we donated 20% of Dusty Pink sales to the Mothers Day Classic and raised $50,000 for breast cancer research.
Childrens Ground Is a first nations school in Alice Springs, a remote area in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Children's ground has created a new model in education, teaching first nations culture combined with the national curriculum from ages 0-18 years. I have at times felt like the issues within our first nations people are so complex, too deep and have wondered how we will ever solve. However I was lucky enough to visit the Children's Ground earlier this year and it gave me genuine light! Learning that existing education models were not working - as it was not recognising the language, skills & traditions of first nations people. I sat in on a lesson planning with a teacher, who asked the elders “How do you kill a kangaroo?” The elders explained the process of creating a sphere, hunting, killing, preparing and cooking a kangaroo. The teacher then explained to me how (through this process) she would also teach; Physics, Biology and Nutrition! Making education relevant and recognising the importance of teaching local culture. Merry People has given a small financial donation and also gifted the children 60 pairs of boots and will continue to look for ways to support the Children's Ground.
Thread Together. Is a social enterprise that allocate brand new clothing and footwear to charity organisations and causes around Australia who need it. In 2022 we donated 1,400 boots to flood affected areas around Australia and we will continue to work together to support Thread Together in 2023 for natural disasters/and or causes that need our product.
This year we are so proud to be supporting two inspiring women doing amazing things in the outdoors.
Belle Brockhoff is a World Champion snowboarder, making history as the first Australian woman to medal at a snowboardcross World Cup and win a World Championship gold medal. Belle represented Australia at three Winter Olympic Games (2014, 2018 & 2022), three World Championships and two X Games. She has won four World Cups, with a total of 14 World Cup medals. In the 2018 Winter Olympic Games she competed without an ACL and finished 11th. Belle is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and Law at Deakin University, majoring in Economics and is a proud member LGBTQIA+ community and activist.
Samantha Gash. A merry mum and former lawyer turned motivational speaker and endurance athlete-adventurer. Sam was actually a customer of ours and I saw her posting about Merry People on her adventures - so thought I would reach out! Sam is an advocate for women’s empowerment, social change and access to education, and has raised over $1.5 million for social justice initiatives and emergency relief campaigns. In 2021 she co-founded a global female adventure platform called Her Trails. An immersive adventure retreat for women to cultivate their resilience, connection and joy. We are proud to be supporting Sam & Her Trails in 2023.
We love supporting our local communities to achieve their goals through our boots as raffle prizes. If you are a school, kindergarten, childcare, sporting club, hospital, charity, or community group, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may be able to help. (Please include a letter from the registered charity or organisation you’re fundraising for.)