We have been involved with Smart Works previously from supporting clothing drives to the incredible fundraising brunches and hunting through the fashion sale. Therefore, we were really looking forward to meeting Sarah Martin, who is a trustee of Smart Works Greater Manchester, to see how we could work together to reach more and more women, it was such a privilege to hear first hand about the incredible work that they do, the women they help and lives they transform.
Smart Works combines two of our favourite things- charity and fashion, combining the power of clothes and the magic of empowering women. We have always loved clothes and always remembered moments in our life by what we were and others were wearing- we remembered how special clothes made us feel and how each outfit was carefully constructed to tell a story to reflect how we were feeling. We are incredibly in awe of the phenomenal work of Smart Works from the one to one personalised and empowering support each client receives to the thought and time that goes into creating the perfect outfit, sourced sustainably, for every single woman. The clothes represent how special Smart Works makes each and every woman feel- the encouragement to be yourself, celebrate our differences and belief you can achieve your dreams no matter what. This is the feeling we strive to capture every time someone wears a Careaux piece, therefore we are truly excited to be partnering with a charity which shares our values and a huge contributor to equality by their huge success rate of women gaining employment.
After many months of plotting, we launched our charity fundraiser, which was held on the 12th September 2019 in the Museum Room at the beautiful Manchester Hall. We were so lucky it was attended by over 100 incredible women. It was so special to see so many familiar and new faces all there to support women into work.
The evening began with a drinks and canapés reception whilst the guests arrived.
In the true spirit of Smart Works, we had several local independent women-owned businesses showcasing their products to raise money for Smart Works, including Freya Hill Creations - beautiful handmade headbands from up-cycled fabrics by the wonderful Cheryl Hill.
As a huge thank you, we created a goody bag for each of guests- filled with ethical, vegan and cruelty free goodies from incredible women-owned businesses, who Laura and I have huge admiration for!
The goody bag itself was printed by the wonderful local business Inkthreadable in Blackburn. The tote bag was 100% organic cotton and printed using vegan and environmentally friendly water-based inks. The print was of the limited edition print created by the very talented Corina Fay illustration, who works at Smart Works after volunteering for many years and Rachel's watercolour painting of the Careaux collection.
The goody bags included a beautiful lip balm from BAO skincare, founded by the extremely talented Beth who hand makes every single product in small batches in Dorset, England. Each of her products are organic, vegan, cruelty free and palm oil free. Beth is such a generous person and we are very grateful to have found her whilst on the hunt for amazing ethical and female founded brands.
Sana Jardin very generously donated samples of their incredible perfume collection. I first heard Amy, the founder of Sana Jardin speak last year and she was such a joy and inspiration to listen to- Sana Jardin is a socially conscious, luxury fragrance house whose enables the women within the supply chain to become micro-entrepreneurs by up-cycling the waste products from perfume production.
To start the evening of speakers was Sarah, who was hosting the evening. She gave a introduction to Smart Works and welcomed everyone to the evening, she then introduced the speakers including the Smart Works Greater Manchester team- Fiona, the manager, Jan Iceton, the Chair and ourselves.
Finally, the raffle was upon us. Prizes included, amongst others, an incredible gift from the amazing Monica Vinader and the Careaux 'Capsule Collection’ in a limited edition royal blue of the ELEANOR and CATHERINE tops with the VICTORIA and ELIZABETH skirts. Trish Keating was the winner of the capsule collection, which meant so much to us as she has supported us so much for the past few years and is a true champion of women in business. Laura and I cannot speak highly enough of Monica Vinader - such an inspiration for us founded by two sisters who have stayed true to their ethical values and championing women with every step they take.
We were extremely happy to be supporting Smart Works and the event raised over £5000. It truly is an amazing charity which empowers women, which is a huge part of our mission.
A very special thank you to the incredible photographer Alison McMath who captured the event so beautifully. Alison is also currently creating her own exhibition focussing on age inclusivity in photography, with 10% of profits going to Women's Aid.
We are so grateful to every single person who shared the event, entered the raffle and have supported Smart Works- thank you so much!