This autumn Oriflame’s photo team organized a hugely successful sale of their stock of clothes used for photo shoots. The money collected went to the Help to Help foundation and their charitable work in Tanzania and Uganda. Following the success we spoke to our Global Stylist Teddy Rydberg, Therese Wesström from Oriflame’s Sustainability team and the Managing Director of Help to Help Foundation, Clara Luthman, about charity, Oriflame’s sustainability goals and the connection to the Help to Help Foundation.

“It’s so great that we can have such a win-win-win situation: circular economy, happy employees that get to wear nice things for a small price and money raised for a good cause,” says Teddy Rydberg.

The autumn sale isn’t a new thing. Since the photo department constantly buys clothes for shoots, they tend to pile up in storage and need to be put to better use. Selling these clothes has become a fun activity at the office and a great way to collect some money for charity. This year’s expectation was around 30-40000 kr, but at the end of the day the result was 57403 kr. This sum was then matched by The Oriflame Foundation.“When I found out that The Oriflame Foundation decided to match the collected sum, making it a total of 114000 kronor, I got overwhelmed” Teddy continues.

The full sum will be handed to the Help to Help Foundation. They work in East Africa with economically disadvantaged but promising college students. After an application and interview process, the foundation pays the college fees for the recipients. The goal of the drive was to collect enough funds for two students, but since it went so well and thanks to the matching sum, we can no provide school fees for five students in total. We asked Clara Luthman about the Help to Help foundation.

“Young people are the future, and if they have the knowledge and the tools to make a change, they’ll do it”she replies.

Teddy Rydberg, Stylist and Clara Luthman, Managing Director of Help To Help Foundation.

She then told us about the foundation’s work in Tanzania and Uganda where there is a big deficit of skilled labor. For example, in Tanzania, a country of 58 million people, holds only 40 to 50 anesthesiologists. In Sweden, on the other hand, there are 2000 anesthesiologists out of a population of 10 million. There is a big need for engineers, teachers, doctors and the situation is the same in all sectors. The foundation has funded studies for 535 students since the start. This year they are accepting 200 students and 300 next year.

“What we’re most proud of is that 85% of our graduates are contributing to family income within a year of graduation, and 59% contribute to their sibling’s education so that they also get the chance to study” ,Luthman says.

The Help to Help foundation and Oriflame have a long history together. The foundation itself was started in 2010 by a former Oriflame intern and the company is also involved with several local programs. One of them is the “Help to Help Academy” that tries to bridge the gap between studies and the labor market. Since a lot of the participants of the program don’t have a connection to the labor market Help to Help organized a company visit to Oriflame’s office in Tanzania in 2013 and 2014. There the participants got practical tips on how to find work.

Oriflame also helped to organize a female business leader program, where female entrepreneurs got to learn how to run a business, find investors and other practical things regarding running a company.
With all the history and a great relationship in place, picking Help to Help as a charity partner was an obvious move. It’s always great to collect money for a good cause, but there is more gain to be made from an event like this. It’s a way to contribute to what Therese Wesström calls a “circular economy”. This entails keeping the resources we have in continuous use by repairing, sharing and re-cycling, in this case, reusing. This in contrast to a linear economy where you take, make and finally dispose.

“Instead of Oriflame wasting these clothes, we give them a longer life cycle so our employees can enjoy them. The fashion industry is very resource-intensive and at Oriflame we want to respect nature, so reusing instead of wasting is a great example of respecting nature” she says.

Therese Wesström, Global Sustainability Manager

This event has exceeded all expectations, and the positive effects are obvious. Five young people will now get the chance to chase their dreams of higher education, and we’ve managed to cut back on our consumption a little bit. But if you are feeling charitable, there are more ways to get involved with Help to Help besides donating money. The foundation always needs volunteers for their work, and every Oriflame employee gets one free day a year to volunteer.

“I have actually volunteered as an interviewer at Help to Help. It was a great experience! This way you get to know the students and get a picture of their daily lives,” says Therese Wesström

With the sale finished, and the money put to use, Clara Luthman and the Help to help foundation extend their gratitude to the Oriflamians involved. 114000kr goes way beyond what anybody thought, and now five young people will get to chance of pursuing their dreams of higher education.

“I hope everyone is proud. I want everyone to know that they are really contributing, and that their money is going to young people that are going to create change in the world!”she says.

Help to help circular economy