Social Enterprise

Spending With Your Values

Spun Studio, Sistering’s innovative social enterprise, offers marginalized women a chance to earn supplemental income in a creative, collaborative and healing environment.

"I am my most creative self in Spun Studio."

—Spun Participant

The women who create at Spun Studio are living on the street, in shelters or in unsafe housing. Some have job skills but have difficulty managing conventional workplace expectations. Chronic physical and mental health issues, substance use, lack of skills, language and cultural barriers compound their marginalization. Earning an income, coupled with the housing access and support services and harm reduction and trauma informed counselling offered at Sistering, provides participants with a round-of-circle care that contributes to finding and keeping secure housing.

Spun Studio has developed unique curricula from a trauma informed perspective; our model is responsive to women’s episodic engagement due to trauma or disability. Participants are taught textile skills by trained professionals, enabling them to create and sell textile items and earn supplemental income. They learn fundamental business and entrepreneurial skills, too, that contribute to their ability to create micro businesses. The Social Enterprise team works with community partners and community members to create business opportunities for participants including a variety of corporate and not-for-profit orders.

Building Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence & Self-Worth

Our social enterprise contributes to participants’ sense of self, too. Creating and selling their work through Spun Studio, a supportive community of entrepreneurial women who respect and honour one another, builds self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of independence and self-worth. Members of the studio sell at community festivals and events. They are also offered opportunities to earn income as peer facilitators of arts-based social recreation workshops.

 

"The women in our survey live in extreme poverty: 42% live on less than $200 per month. Women become homeless and stay homeless largely because of poverty. Income is a major determinant of health and was cited throughout the study as a barrier that prevented women from accessing health care and maintaining good health."

—ONTARIO WOMEN'S HEALTH NETWORK

"Social enterprises represent a labour market model that recognizes the need for alternative/non-traditional employment opportunities for marginalized women who often can’t compete in traditional work environments. The supports that people living with disabilities need in order to find and retain employment that accommodates their particular needs can be a barrier to returning to work."

—WELLESLEY INSTITUTE, 2015