Social Enterprise Story: Make Give Live
Founder: Claire Conza
Type of organisation: Limited Liability Company
Who is Make Give Live?
Make Give Live was founded by Claire Conza in 2016. Following a burnout in a business she had lost passion for, Claire spent a good 18 months trying to figure out how she could re-invent herself using her skills and talents to do something purposeful.
Claire became interested in Social Enterprise and loved learning how business could be a force for solving social and environmental problems, where government and charities fell short. She began digging around the issues of isolation and mental health, particularly within older generations.
During her pregnancy, Claire had suffered intense sickness and pre-natal depression. She learnt first-hand the therapeutic benefits of being around friends and she got back into knitting, a skill that her grandmother had originally taught her. It was the one thing she could physically do that distracted her from the sickness and negative thought patterns. It had a really positive outcome and sense of achievement. Claire started to see how combining all these things into a Social Enterprise called Make Give Live, could be her ticket to fulfilling work.
What problem is Make Give Live trying to solve?
Make Give Live’s purpose is to ease isolation and improve mental health and wellbeing through the therapies of social connection and mindful making with purpose. Groups of people of all ages and backgrounds meet weekly at a local cafe to enjoy each other’s company and hand craft a collection of hats. These hats are sold as a ‘buy one-give one’, each sale enabling them to give a hat to a homeless or older person in need. This year they’ve developed their first Summer/Christmas collection with 100% of profits going towards resourcing the groups and enabling more impact.
People involved in the groups have joined for different reasons. They might be lonely, struggling with mental health and wellbeing or they might be great at making and would like to be more purposeful and charitable with their time.
As many of us know, isolation and mental health are huge issues in New Zealand. While Make Give Live are tackling them in a small, niche way, it’s highly effective for the people involved. They believe there should be as much focus on prevention as there is on the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
Make Give Live is also spreading the message of giving and inclusion which they believe has a ripple effect on the wider community.
The impact so far
There are currently five groups in Auckland with over 40 makers, plus a wee satellite operation in Taupo that was started by one of Make Give Live’s supportive retailers (Spacecraft).
Next winter they will launch their first full-cycle operation in Christchurch where every step of the process (making, giving and selling) will happen within the local community. Christchurch’s Hapa store will support the local group by selling the hats in their two stores and the local group, who will meet at Xchange, will decide who to donate their give hats to.
The groups become like families and some refer to them as a lifeline, something to look forward to again. There is so much more connection and activity that happens outside of the groups because of the relationships formed within.
This year, Make Give Live has been able to give 425 hats to people in need with the help of partners Lifewise and Age Concern Auckland.
The future of Make Give Live
Make Give Live hopes to have groups across NZ, so more people can enjoy the benefits. They’re also dreaming of a hub in Auckland with skills training and workshops for fibre crafts.
Another goal is to ramp up support for the New Zealand wool industry. They’re currently looking into developing their own yarn direct from the sheep, with the help of partner Lester Mismash from Prosper yarns.
Make Give Live would love your support through purchases of their beautiful collection made with love to enable them to give more to Kiwis in need, and connect and enrich the lives of the makers. You can do so through the Good Gift Guide, that Ākina has recently launched in partnership with NZ Post.
They’re also looking to form an advisory board so if you have skills you could offer to help them to succeed and grow please get in touch with Claire.