Local social-enterprise, The Clothing Bank, has announced that it is rebranding on 19 September 2022. This move signifies an important recommitment to their impact goals: to eradicate poverty from South African families through small business opportunities. Their new name is Taking Care of Business (TCB).
Over the past 12 years, The Clothing Bank has received numerous local and international accolades for its work in the circular economy – creating self-employment opportunities primarily through retail supply chain waste. To date, they have partnered with 13 of SA’s major clothing retailers, trained over 2775 unemployed individuals to start a business, diverted more than 16million items from landfill, helped their beneficiaries make R260million in profits, equipped over 100 preschool classrooms, and supported over 3700 children in their early learning education.
When The Clothing Bank opened its doors in 2010 in Cape Town it originally only supported unemployed women through its clothing reselling programme. “We partnered with South Africa’s major fashion retailers who generously donated their waste stock – usually customer returned items, end-of-season merchandise and other deadstock. Then, during a holistic 2-year enterprise development programme, we train women how to run a sustainable trading business,” says Tracey Chambers, CEO and co-founder.
Later the group expanded and launched several new programmes, while also expanding its reach across the country.
- In 2014 they started GROW Educare Centres, which focuses on equipping preschool owners to run financially sustainable ECD Centres that provide 5-star early learning at affordable rates in low-income communities.
- In 2015 they started their Repair programme (previously called The Appliance Bank) which teaches unemployed South Africans to run appliance repair and trading businesses, reducing e-waste.
- In 2021 they started their Remake programme (previously called TradeUp) which equips seamstresses to run financially viable businesses by providing them with access to pre-consumer ‘waste’ raw materials and fabric.
- In 2022 they launched their first Graduate Business Accelerator.
“During the past few months, we’ve come to realise that our name limits us and no longer represents our highest purpose or the breadth of our impact. We are more than clothing, appliances, fabric and educational equipment. We are in the business of empowering the people who are raising the next generation. We are in the business of caring for people and the planet. And, we believe that when you take care of small businesses, you help people take care of their families. That’s why we wanted to review our brand strategy and reposition our organisation. Our new name and logo reflect our commitment to equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to unlock their full potential and access the economy,” says Tracey.
The group chose Taking Care of Business (or TCB for short) as their new name since it introduces the principles of business and care as a core part of the organisation’s work. It also leverages the equity they already hold in the acronym TCB. The logo is inspired by a single thread, representing the journey someone takes when they join TCB’s holistic programme which addresses the head, heart and hands. It also honours the origins of Taking Care of Business by symbolising a clothing thread. “The journey to eradicating poverty is not a straight line – there are many twists and turns that our beneficiaries have to navigate. The journey-thread concept acknowledges that each individual in our programmes is on a personal journey towards financial and social independence. Together, we unravel the thread and walk alongside them,” says Tracey.