Goldfinger, a social enterprise crafting bespoke furniture and joinery from reclaimed materials, saw a dramatic decrease in income when COVID-19 hit their key clients, putting their services to the local community at risk.
Springing into action, they pivoted their business model from B2B to B2C and secured other sources of income to keep their community services running. To help ensure their survival, ReLondon awarded them an emergency grant funded by the Mayor’s Green New Deal fund.
Throughout the pandemic, Goldfinger were able to provide community meal deliveries and carry on supporting marginalised young people and isolated community members through their academy and People’s Kitchen. They safeguarded and created new jobs and went on to launch a new, circular furniture collection.
What was the challenge?
Goldfinger is a design-led social enterprise using reclaimed materials to craft sustainable high-quality furniture and objects for residential and business clients. Their commercial profits are reinvested back into their social mission: (a) Goldfinger Academy, where they teach crafts and life skills to marginalised youths and isolated community members; and (b) the People’s Kitchen, where they make community meals from surplus food.
Most of Goldfinger’s contracts come from hotels, restaurants, cafes and offices – all of them hit particularly hard by COVID-19. By March 2021, they had no new contracts and their existing high profile contracts were delayed. Rental income from their two tenants was down because they agreed rental holidays both; and their in-person team building events had to stop, cutting off an important source of income for the start-up academy.
In order to ensure that Goldfinger survived the remainder of the pandemic, securing the jobs of our highly-skilled team members, we required this Emergency Grant to get us back to thriving and providing for our communities.
What did they do?
Goldfinger were quick to act – they pivoted their business model to provide furniture for residential customers needing home-working spaces, and upgraded and enlarged their sustainable e-commerce platform. With the help of a grant, they were also able to move their academy online and keep serving their community, and they managed to raise £10,000 from their network in order to sustain the People’s Kitchen operations, delivering free meals to vulnerable residents in the local community, directly to their door.
We were pleased to be able to offer them an emergency grant of £10,000, thanks to the Mayor of London’s Green New Deal fund, to pay towards salaries and fixed costs for a short period and play a small role in their recovery.
What were the outcomes?
Goldfinger is back on track. In October 2021, they launched their new, circular ‘Ayrton’ collection; a furniture collection comprising a desk, bench, side table and chair made from teak lab benches donated by Imperial College. The jobs that were previously at risk due to COVID19 are no longer at risk and they’ve been able to recruit 2 new roles within the business, with 4 more to follow.
Since April 2021:
What was learned?
Goldfinger is a great example of a social enterprise doing good for the local community and the environment. A small, hassle-free investment from public funding meant that they could pay towards some of their core costs, allowing them to focus on continuing to serve their community and go on to recover. Read more about the outcomes of the Green New Deal Emergency Grants scheme and what we’ve learned about the importance of government support for small businesses here.
In 2022, Goldfinger has been invited to curate a retail pop-up at the new Soho Home shop and will launch a retail presence at Selfridges in their permanent furniture and homewares section, while Inhabit is opening their second hotel with a new range of Goldfinger furniture.
During London Craft Week 2022, Goldfinger will organise an event to launch a new collection using timber from their collaboration with Saunders Seasonings (another member of ReLondon’s SME network) who repurpose felled trees from London. The social enterprise will also continue their work towards becoming a B Corp, as well as obtaining Cradle to Cradle Certification, the global standard for products that are safe, circular and responsibly made. To support this exciting work, Goldfinger will be hiring 5 new positions.
ReLondon’s business transformation team continues to help small-and-medium sized businesses in London adopt the circular economy through our advisory support, grant schemes, and matchmaking services. Find out about our fully funded business support programme at our website: www.relondon.gov.uk/business.