Spending so much time with the team, I feel like I am getting to know everyone well. What I admire most is the pride that they take in telling friends and family how they are spending their day. It may also surprise you that one candidate also commented that they thought the job sounded glamorous in comparison to alternative ways in which they had earned a wage, or indeed spent time looking for employment. After all, these jobs are about providing a much-needed, quality service and moreover refining transferable customer service and interpersonal skills. Especially for people who have been unemployed and very under-employed, feeling empowered instead of useless and engaging with a wide spectrum of others instead of feeling isolated are reasons enough to celebrate that StepUp Shoeshine exists. I am becoming very attached to our team members. They are a joy to work with and I do hope that we have opportunities for them to grow within the company, or perhaps use this job as a step up into other suitable employment.
We aim to treat people as ethically as we can, and for this reason the directors voted in favour of not using “zero hours contracts” when we were recruiting. Through our volunteer work spanning many years, each one of us knows people who have queued at foodbanks. Our experience is that income predictability, not necessarily the actual amount, is probably the key to people planning ahead. However, this decision has brought huge challenges for us as an early-stage social enterprise without shareholders, without a parent company and without grants available to subsidise the wages of our shoe valeters. There was, and still is, huge enthusiasm in support of our aims, both from the public and the business community. As far as we know, no one else is carrying out a similar activity in Greater Glasgow, so the market is ours for the taking. There is a high number of companies offering this service in London, so our growth potential is huge longer term. Our sustainability makes perfect business sense once we become established. In order to reach that place, we are asking for help to continue to offer a “wage guarantee” to shoe valeters while we all work tirelessly to make our mark on Glasgow. Job stability is something that we all yearn for, and we are not in a position to offer that to our team members until we become profitable. If you can see the value in what we are trying to achieve and would like it to continue, develop towards stability and expand over the coming months, please consider making an individual donation through the website or contact us about corporate sponsorship. Thank you for your continued encouragement and support!