Words by Smiley Team
A London brand with the motto "It's Cool To Care" is tackling homelessness one pair of socks at a time.
Leiho was founded by friends Joey Li and Thuta Kin when they were working in Islington, Angel and Moorgate and noticed a lot of people experiencing homelessness. The pair did some digging and found out that clean socks were one of the most requested, but least donated, items of clothing at homeless shelters.
“Socks are such a simple but essential part of our lives that bring not only comfort but serve a purpose in the functionality of our feet and bodies," says co-founder Thuta.
“After a man who was once homeless said to us, ‘it's the simple things like having clean socks and toiletries that really help improve your comfort and wellbeing for that day’, we decided to begin our journey at Leiho.”
Launched in December 2019, Leiho is an online shop selling essential items such as socks, T-shirts and hats, all made from organic and eco-friendly material.
With each purchase, Leiho matches with another essential item, which they donate by partnering with local projects and charities to distribute to those who need it most.
In just over two years the team have been able to donate over 10,300 items of essentials from clean socks, to underwear, hats, gloves, thermals, sleeping bags, toiletries, hot meals, water and more.
They have worked with over 37 different charities supporting homelessness, refugees, asylum seekers, and women and children in poverty.
“We have received a tremendous amount of love and support from our community that have helped us make a difference to the lives of people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable individuals," Thuta tells Smiley News.
“We make sure to adapt the essentials that we give to what people need each season, so for example in the winter, we focus on giving more warm essentials such as thermals, blankets and sleeping bags, while in the summer we prioritise giving lots of socks, underwear, clean water, toiletries and more.”
Team Leiho also work closely with charities on projects that help improve the quality of life for those in need, such as a partnership with SPEAR charity to help teach people that have moved off the streets and into accommodation, how to cook healthy meals for themselves.
“We started as a brand that sells socks that support the local homeless community by providing basic essentials for people in need," says Thuta. "Our vision is to be able to make a bigger impact by being able to provide more than just basic essentials and offer more support such as social and wellbeing support and other forms of aid that can really help people experiencing homelessness back on their feet."
“We hope to be a small but impactful part of this process. We also want to inspire more people to make change and do better for the world through simple acts of kindness and giving back.”
GET INVOLVED: To find out how you can purchase a pair of socks for yourself and a member of the homeless community, visit here.
VOLUNTEER: Crisis UK spotlight volunteer positions across the country for homeless charities and related roles.