1880. Tom Cracknell
1881. Alice Cracknell
Tom and Alice Cracknell, from Devon, are a husband and wife team who founded the UK’s first not-for-profit clothing brand ‘ORIGIN’ where all profits from sales are used to fund social impact entrepreneurs in Africa.
Alice, formerly a business strategy consultant who worked for a variety of international charities, and Tom, a doctor in A&E, launched ‘Origin’ to offer an opportunity to local communities in low income countries and support them in building sustainable enterprises that serve to address locally defined needs. Since starting in 2019, Origin has funded 8 social businesses that have, in total, impacted 5,000 people and created over 70 sustainable jobs. These include an entrepreneur who launched a cost effective pioneering product to remotely teach individuals to learn to read and write in Bambara in Mali, an entrepreneur who launched his own energy efficient eco stoves business in The Gambia and, this year, they will be investing in an ethical supply chain for organic rain fed cotton clothing in Kenya, transparent and ethical at every step.
In a personal letter to Tom and Alice, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for your work at ‘ORIGIN’ – the UK’s first not-for-profit clothing brand. By working with partners across Africa, you have created 70 sustainable jobs and impacted on a staggering 5,000 lives.
“It is astonishing how you find the time to do this alongside your day jobs. Over the last two years, I have seen first-hand the extraordinary work of our NHS staff and so allow me to also thank you, Tom, for your service to our nation as an A&E doctor.”
Selaine Saxby, Tom and Alice’s local MP for North Devon, said:
“Fast fashion is a catastrophic contributor to global, environmental pollution. So to produce clothing that is not only environmentally conscious, but to plough the profits back into community projects in Africa, while providing vital jobs is a truly, wonderful thing. Tom and Alice are a credit to North Devon, a credit to their industry, and for leading the way in the sustainable, not for profit, fashion business they thoroughly deserve this recognition.”
Tom and Alice said:
“This is a real boost for us. As you can imagine, running a business that donates 100% of profits, there are added pressures on margins and sales so that we can achieve the purpose we set out to prove possible: Ethically produced clothing can be a force for good by generating opportunity and economic freedom in communities within Sub-Saharan Africa. Our African colleagues and partners inspire us to develop ‘Origin’ every day and this recognition as a ‘Point of Light’ is a true psychological boost for our journey. This year we are setting up a pioneering new structure of supply chain with some wonderful social enterprises in Kenya so this award comes at a perfect time to boost the brand and all the important principles that our new supply chain will stand for. Thank you very much.”