Hands Designs stays nimble during Covid-19

06 May 2020

Across the globe we are seeing businesses accelerate and transform as they adapt to new ways of working in the current environment. It is a challenging time; individuals are concerned about income security, businesses large and small are concerned about how to keep their doors open, and sadly many operators are struggling to survive.

Over in Thailand, where we support 7 projects caring for 350 kids, the economy is expected to lose 1.3 trillion baht ($65M AUD), almost all of this is in the tourist sector. With 1 in 6 people in Thailand working in this sector, there are some hard times ahead for many across the country. The impacts will be felt for many months and possibly years to come.

Since 2005, we have been taking real action to implement positive change in the lives of the people left displaced by the Boxing Day Tsunami as well as those we have committed to support since. We have done this by providing safe homes, skills training, access to higher education and employment opportunities.

As we enter this new phase of devastation, we know that there will be an increase in the support required from our homes as children are left un-fed, without a roof over their head and unable to be taken care of because Mum and Dad have lost work and therefore all of their income. We know that the next 12-18 months is going to look grim for many families and communities across Thailand, so now more than ever we need a plan in place so that we can continue supporting those that are currently in our care and those who may need a helping hand in the future.

Keeping Hands Designs alive

Our corporate merchandise arm, Hands Designs, provides a meaningful and sustainable way of raising funds to ensure we can keep doing this. It is a way of Sharing the Good and creating deeper connections between our sewing team and our supporters. But it provides so much more.

Hands Designs employ a team of 8 women from the local community. As well as our kids, these women are our priority. They are far more important to us than the garments and products they make. As daughters, mothers, and grandmothers, each has a financial responsibility to their families. With their partners and husbands losing work, for some, Hands Designs is all they have.

With the recent closure of hotels in the Takua-pa area and a slowdown of corporate merchandise orders from our overseas partners, Hands Designs has taken a huge hit. Unlike the stimulus support we are seeing in Australia through JobKeeper, there are no government packages that will help us keep our teams employed.

So we do what we have always done at Hands. We fight. We fight to keep the business going in Thailand to continue supporting our homes, we fight to keep our team of 8 women employed so they can feed their families and we fight to show this virus that we won’t be beaten.

Hands Designs pivots to serve the greater good

We are so proud of the Hands Designs team as they have pivoted the business to serve the greater good. While COVID-19 has posed many new challenges for production, the team have rallied together to innovate, find new revenue streams and target their work on what they can do and contribute to the community.

After recognising the need for facial masks in Thailand (compulsory for children and adults in highly populated areas), the team set about designing and producing quality masks for sale to hospitals and local communities. To date the team have hand sewn 3,600 masks and the orders continue to flow in. Additionally, with the support of local and international sponsors, they have been producing 500 knee high booties for PPE in local hospitals.

Like many businesses our staff have made their own personal sacrifice and contribution to keep the wheels in motion by reducing hours, wages, or whatever they have been able to do as a team to reduce costs and ensure that we all see through this immediate situation and can remain for the long term. We are so proud of all of our team both in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand; it is during these times that we truly remember how much better we are together.

Make your next corporate merchandise order a conscious one

When you buy from Hands Designs, you are not just purchasing a beautiful product, you are helping our community thrive and supporting a business that is focussed on providing our kids with a life of choice rather than chance.

Hands Designs is nimble and quick to adapt, our sewers are creative and can work with you to design the right product for your audience, and our products are hand made with love ensuring quality every step of the way. You can help make a difference by supporting Hands Designs and making a conscious purchase for your next corporate merchandise order. Whether you’re looking for beautiful totes, aprons, or even masks, our team can develop products specific to your needs.

Contact sue.blair@handsgroup.org.au for corporate merchandise orders.

Alternatively visit the Hands Shop to purchase some individual goodies for yourself – all handmade in our sewing room.

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