Mireille (founder & director of i-did) saw that her Kurdish friend, a highly educated refugee, was always unable to participate in our society. Then in 2009, Mireille founded i-did with the goal: social inclusion through work. i-did started as a Slow Fashion label and after many highs and lows, something had to change.
When Michiel (director of i-did) joined at the end of 2012, the enormous mountain of textile waste quickly came up in the conversation. How nice would it be if we can help to clear this waste up little by little? This has resulted in our beautiful recycled felt. At first they thought we were crazy, now years later we still show how much beauty can be made from old textiles.
At i-did, we not only want to offer people a second chance, but also raw materials. Every year we all throw around 200 million kilos of textile away, with the residual waste. We make high-quality design products from recycled felt; made of textiles that would otherwise be thrown away. We then use this recycled felt to make design products such as bags, laptop sleeves and acoustic interior products.
For example, blue bags are made from old KLM uniforms. All products made from recycled felt are made by people who, for whatever reason, have not or never worked for a long time. Thanks to the good guidance and coaching on employee skills, 70% of employees eventually find a paid job!
Our goal is maximum impact.
The social and sustainable pillars are the anchors of our organization. Our ultimate goal is inclusion through work and the processing of textile waste streams. Due to our complete focus on maximum impact, our profit motive is only a means. As far as we are concerned, this is the basis for a better world and the movement towards a new economy.
It is an honorable task for us to remind companies of their own responsibility and the important role they play in the world. Every day there are choices to relate to people, society and the environment as a company. Collaboration and inspiring each other are keywords to change towards a future that demands more of us. We like to be the messengers, the pioneers who change the chain.
How we work.
Our organization is divided into four different self-managing teams. There is a production team which ensures that customer demand matches the stocks and developments of products. Production is carried out by the participants - who have not worked for a long time. They are supported and guided by a social team. This team actively coaches the participants to teach them employee skills. And eventually let it flow to a new employer.
To create sufficient demand from customers and partners – and thus to make more impact – the business team is committed. They tell our story, contact our customers and explore new markets. Team Factory completes the i-did circle. They are responsible for the quality of the felt, research and testing of the production processes.
We work from two locations in the Netherlands: Utrecht and The Hague. We produce our articles at both locations and coach about 80 participants.