This is the end

I have avoided writing this message for a long time, because it’s sometimes hard to face the fact that things come to an end. But it’s time…

In the last week of December “Stichting Not a Factory” will cease to exist. The money which is left in the bank – which was intended to be used on future projects – will be donated to two organisations that work in the exact same field as Not a Factory: creating job opportunities for refugees in Greece.

How did we get here? 

This end is not necessarily a sad story, because along the way some wonderful things happened. Thanks to your support Not A Factory was able to employ 6 refugees to produce T-shirts, bags and work in a flexible and supportive work environment. I really hope Not a Factory has contributed to some positive change in people’s lives.

So why stop?

Running a financially and ecologically sustainable clothing production company is quite a challenge. Do you know how many T-shirts you have to sell to employ one person? A freaking lot!!

I realised that I love supporting people, but that I’m not necessarily the right person to run a business selling T-shirts to people. I actually believe our overconsumption is destructive to ourselves and our planet, so being part of that business is quite counter-intuitive. But besides these ethical concerns which you can debate about, maybe the main reason has been something else: I got really tired.

Even though this project has only been possible because of the support of so many wonderful people who have helped in different ways. In the end, a lot of it has been a one-man show. If I didn’t keep going, it wasn’t going anywhere. And I got to admit, getting this project from idea to reality within quite challenging conditions, has had a toll on me. So much so that at some point it became hard to stay motivated… Apparently I am not superman?

There is sadness in me writing this, because my initial wish of creating long term employment for refugees, hasn’t manifested the way I dreamed of. But hopefully indirectly and directly, we’ve helped to create conditions for people to take steps in that direction.

So now what?

Together with the board of Not a Factory we decided to stop. The funds which are left we are donating to two organisations that share the same values as Not a Factory.: Naomi Thessaloniki and Because We Carry.

The Not a Factory T-shirts and bags have been produced in collaboration with Naomi Thessaloniki. Since then they have continued producing T-shirts, trousers and many other items for various organisations. We have transferred 60% (approx 6.000 euro) of our fund to support their amazing work.

Because we Carry began in 2015 with offering emergency aid to mothers and children, and are now starting a workshop to produce clothes together with refugees in Athens. We would love to see them succeed and will transfer 40% (approx 4.000 euro) of our funds to them.

Do you still have T-shirts?

Now that you are asking… Yes! Do you want to own (another) one of these special T-shirts? The one and only?! This is your last chance!! Until the 1st of December you get 60% discount and all profits will be donated to the above organisations.

Thank you.

Thank you and everybody for making this possible. For your support, you listening ear, your muscle, your ideas, thoughts and understanding. I hope we will meet again…

Maarten (& the team)

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