Meet Our Partners: Coucoudre
Location: Switzerland • Charity: Local Association for Refugees • Community focused, Sustainably made
We have recently been working alongside Coucoudre for a couple of key eco swap products. Another female-founded local business with a strong social and environmental conscience, we wanted to highlight the Coucoudre story.
What better way to do so, than to let Katie the founder explain how Coucoudre came to be.
We’re so excited to be adding Coucourde as a partner and hope you love their story and their products as much as we do!
‘WE CREATE GIFTS WITH A CONSCIENCE’
Welcome to Coucoudre. We are a social impact charity that work with refugees in french speaking Switzerland to repair clothing and create sewn products from recycled fabrics.
Our ethos is founded on 3 core values:
Supporting the human potential of refugees and creating community engagement for them. The refugees we help were professional tailors in their home countries and through working for Coucoudre can use this existing talent to support their families. We support their integration into the local community through these activities.
Driving sustainable impact in the textile business. All the products Coucoudre create are produced from unwanted or damaged textiles and clothing donated to us in the local area. The global textile industry is one of the dirtiest and most socially irresponsible industries in the world. We want to help change this by reducing fabrics that end up in landfill.
Offering a repair solution to reduce the ever growing fast fashion market. We want to advocate for people to ‘repair rather than buy new’.
It was back in 2014 that I, Katie, lived opposite a bunker used for housing new refugees in Nyon. An underground shelter with little natural light. None of them knew whether they’d receive permits to stay or whether they’d be sent back on the next flight. They had no french, no english, no community, no job.
As a British mother of 2 young children living in a foreign country I know only too well the trials and tribulations of being a ‘migrant’. Of not understanding a language, not having a clue about administration procedures, not feeling part of a place. BUT I have money, I have a permit, I have a passport, I can take a flight back home whenever I want. My family and friends can visit me at the drop of a hat (COVID aside).
It was through this personal experience that I started mentoring a family who have 4 young children. The father’s background was as a tailor and it got me thinking how I could help so…
- I showed them my badly sewn bunting that I’d spent DAYS creating for my children. I’ve always loved sewing but never been exceptionally talented at it!
- Determined to harness my ‘waste free’ principles, I used social media to see if anyone had damaged or unwanted fabrics that could be ‘recrafted’.
- I started marketing our first products and seeing if people needed any tailoring done.
AND Coucoudre was born.
We are now a team of volunteers who have built relationships with a number of refugees with existing tailoring skills to give them a sense of purpose, financial support and build their local network.