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The water bottles and socks helping raise money for homeless people and refugees

As part of our Meet The Maker series, we talk to Joey Li, founder of Leiho

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we speak to the people behind the creations in The Big Issue Shop – a platform for buying ethical products which put people and the planet first.

This week, Joey Li, CEO and co-founder of Leiho, a business selling eco-friendly products to help the homeless.

What can we find on your part of The Big Issue Shop?

Our Big Issue shop consists of everyday essentials crafted with our Leiho smiley faces: bamboo socks, baseball caps, beanies, tote bags and water bottles. 

Every product in our store helps to fund impact projects and donations for people experiencing homelessness.

How do your products make a positive difference in the world?

Our products are all designed with the idea of spreading kindness, care and happiness towards the wearer. Every item is also eco-consciously made, especially our bamboo socks! 

Bamboo is an extremely environmentally friendly material that saves a lot of water and does a lot less damage to the planet. On top of that, we dedicate five per cent of our monthly revenue towards working closely with local charities that support refugees and people experiencing homelessness.

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“Making a positive difference can be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face”, says Li. Image: Supplied

What inspired you to start your company and how did it start?

We started Leiho with the intention to build a brand with purpose that would inspire people to deliver simple acts of kindness and lend a hand to those who need it most. When you do good, you feel great!

With that in mind, we found out that clean socks are one of the most requested items of clothing at homeless shelters alongside many other essentials such as clean underwear and toiletries. We decided to use our products as a way to give vulnerable individuals access to essentials that would help boost their wellbeing, confidence and hygiene. 

What is the biggest issue everyone should know about at the moment?

The major issue that’s affecting the majority of the population is the rise in the cost of living, which in turn is affecting the quality of life for most. Equally, the lack of affordable housing also creates a huge impact on someone’s ability to support themselves and build their lives. 

Within homelessness, street homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more who are hidden homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless. It’s important to look after ourselves but also check in with those around you in case anyone might be struggling. 

What is one thing anyone can do to make a positive difference?

Making a positive difference can be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face or helping someone carry their heavy bags up the stairs in the train station – all of which can be achieved through simple conversation. 

You can make a positive difference in someone’s life just by asking if they’re okay or starting a conversation to find out how you can help. That’s what we stand for at Leiho. The meaning of Leiho is also “How Are You” and we always say that sometimes that’s all we need to ask someone to show that we care. 

To see Leiho’s products, go to bigissueshop.com/vendor/leiho

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Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

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