At the beginning of Y.O.U Underwear's Journey, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of donating 23,000 pairs of underwear by 2023. We’re so proud to say that, 6 months ahead of schedule, we have exceeded our goal! We donate 3 pairs as a bundle - one to wear, one to wash and one to dry. That means that over 7,600 women and girls have received clean underwear from our donations.
Thank you so much to every one of our customers who helped us reach this milestone, whether you’ve purchased from us, donated at checkout, followed us on social media or recommended us to a friend! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to change the world one pair of pants at a time, our mission since day one.
It all started when our founder Sarah set out to East Africa in 2016 and did some community volunteer work as part of the Uganda Marathon. Here, she was shocked at the number of women and children who didn't have access to something we take for granted everyday: underwear. Believing that underwear should be universally available to people in all communities, she created Y.O.U Underwear - a social enterprise that reinvests profits into donating underwear.
Our buy-one give-two model means that every time you buy a pair of Y.O.U underwear from our core women's, men's and girls' collections, we donate two pairs of underwear to Smalls for All. When you buy a pair of underwear, we donate one to match, and then the amazing Wandsworth Group then donate the second pair to complete the B1G2 model!
About Smalls For All
Smalls for All is a Scottish charity that collects and distributes underwear to vulnerable women and children across Africa and the UK. In the UK, Smalls for All helps charities that focus on alleviating poverty, by providing them with underwear. In Africa, they help individuals in orphanages, slums, camps, hospitals and schools, supporting people in over 18 countries.
Smalls for All work closely with partners at home and abroad to ensure that underwear reaches the right people in a sustainable and culturally conscious manner. Where possible, they ensure that underwear is bought in local communities, rather than being shipped in – this reduces shipping and helps to support the local economy. For this reason, we don’t usually donate our own underwear and instead support the local markets.
In May 2020, Sarah visited Smalls for All’s sorting facility and got stuck in sorting through donations in the Bravalanche room. It’s amazing what a small volunteer army, copious amounts of tea and some sharp scissors can achieve. In one day alone, they managed to open over 2,000 parcels and over the course of the weekend got through 30 (!) postage crates full of lovingly gifted donations.
Other Ways We Give Back
Since then, we’ve found new ways to give back and support causes very close to our heart. Our Light Pink range supports the work of a brilliant breast cancer charity. For every item sold in this collection, we donate £1 to Future Dreams - money which helps fund vital research and the distribution of care packages to those going through treatment, as well as the giving post-surgery bras to those who cannot afford them.
For every item sold from our Mara Collection, we provide a pair of underwear to girls in the Maasai communities of Oloishobor and Olorgesailie, and support the work of the Ajuma Foundation in Kenya. To date, we have donated 2,037 pairs, with plans to donate tons more! For a full overview of how we’re giving back, check out our 2021 Impact Report.
While we’re over the moon to have reached our 23,000 target half a year early, our work is far from done. As the highest scoring B Corp in the UK, we’re always looking for ways to improve, and are currently working towards reaching Net Zero and developing a more supportive bralette.
Written by Melissa Watt