LoveWell is a social enterprise based in the city of Bristol, UK. We offer holistic support and employment for women escaping all forms of the coerced sex trade, through the manufacture of luxurious natural skincare products. As women begin their journey with LoveWell, we empower them to discover the strengths, skills and confidence they already have. Each individual has the life-changing opportunity to learn new, transferrable skills that will enable them to secure long-term, stable employment. We believe every women, no matter her skills, background or self-belief, has the ability to aim high and reach her potential.
LoveWell's vision is to be a sustainable beauty business that works with women to provide opportunities and the support they may need to reach their potential. Women working in the indoors sex trade – often in massage parlours around the city centre – can experience a cyclical process of exiting and re-entering the work due to the lack of support, opportunities and employment. They are often prevented from leaving the industry due to the threat of homelessness, violence and further poverty. It can sometimes be the only community they know and this has the effect that they cannot, or are discouraged from, leaving. This is detrimental to both their physical health and mental wellbeing and creates re-traumatisation of their previous experiences. A lack of education or formal qualifications, work experience, outside contacts and self-worth are just some of the barriers that prevent women from finding alternative employment, as well as the stigma associated with working in the sex trade. These are just some of the barriers LoveWell aims to overcome, to support women to update their skill set and act as a stepping stone to overcome them.
LoveWell operates as a supportive community in a relaxed, person-centred environment. Our work-days consist of sit-down breakfasts and lunches, in case women may not have eaten that day, to create a sociable and supportive atmosphere. We are interested in the wholeness of our workforce, and want to support both their physical and mental health. This is why our work is not limited to regular manufacturing and production-line processes. We are interested in supporting women with all areas of their lives.
As with everyone’s journey, we have encountered challenges, successes and failures in the building of the company. We have brought on board funders to support the work we are doing, spent long hours standing in the cold at market stalls and artisan craft fayres meeting new customers, and have embraced many manufacturing lessons along the way. To date, we have had contact with over 60 women who have experience of the coerced sex trade, offering more than 200 hours of supportive workshops and contact time. In addition to this, we have accrued over 200 hours of employment for a handful of women, some of whom still work with us today. Over Christmas last year our products were so popular we had to hugely increase production to meet the demand, and we were the happy recipients of a successful Crowdfunding campaign to continue to work with more women in our holistic training programme.
As a social business, we want to continue expanding so that our reach grows bigger and we can offer more holistic support and employment to a greater number of women. We want to build the numbers of women we take onto our training programme, where we train women in all aspects of the business and provide training to build upon other important skills, such as financial stability, applying for long-term employment or to set up their own small businesses.
Currently we sell a range of soy wax massage candles, bath and body oil and bath salts. Every ingredient we use occurs naturally and is nourishing and environmentally-friendly. We take care in choosing our suppliers, using those with ethical and environmental values at their heart, and we source all our labelling and packaging materials from local independent businesses, or from companies whose cooperatives also ensure support for their workers at the source.
Our products are available to buy online through our website, and in Bristol and the surrounding area in a handful of local independent, boutique stores.