Banksy partners with social enterprise Love Welcomes in Croydon shop venture.

Banksy has partnered with social enterprise Love Welcomes as part of his latest venture: a shop in Croydon.

While the shop, Gross Domestic Product, is not actually open, the items displayed within it are to be sold via a website. Banksy has teamed up with Love Welcomes, which supports refugees, to commission women in refugee camps to hand sew welcome mats using life vests found on Lesvos beaches, which will be sold online. The mats have the word ‘welcome’ woven into them using the bright orange material, and all proceeds from sales will be retained locally to help refugees access key services.

Love Welcomes Co-founder Abi Hewitt said:

In creating this new Welcome Mat, Banksy has helped refugees to find self worth, dignity and hope. Living in a refugee camp shouldn’t stop your dreams, this is keeping hope alive. Each time you buy a Welcome Mat you’re supporting a refugee and their family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war, one stitch at a time.

According to a post on Banksy’s Instagram account, he opened the shop in Croydon this week in response to a legal dispute with a greetings card company.

 

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World renowned artist Banksy has teamed up with Love Welcomes to create hand sewn Welcome Mats from life vests found on beaches in Greece. The mats have the word ‘welcome’ woven into them using the bright orange material and will be made by our team of amazing refugee women in Greece. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The mat has been launched today in Banksy’s new show called Gross Domestic Product in Croydon, London – and it is already hitting the news headlines. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the show Banksy describes the mat saying: “This hard wearing floor covering is hand stitched from life vests abandoned on the beaches of Lesvos by migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Customers are advised that they no longer constitute a valid buoyancy aid – although shockingly they never did – many are cheap fakes sold by people smugglers and don’t actually float. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our Co-founder Abi Hewitt said: “In creating this new Welcome Mat, Banksy has helped refugees to find self worth, dignity and hope. Living in a refugee camp shouldn’t stop your dreams, this is keeping hope alive. Each time you buy a Welcome Mat you’re supporting a refugee and their family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war, one stitch at a time.“ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Mats will be available to buy online via the GDP website when it opens, with all proceeds being retained locally to help refugees access to key services. . . . . . #banksy #welcomemats #banksyart #banksyartwork #charitablegiving #makeadifference #socialimpact #peopleoverprofits #peoplebeforeprofit #partofthesolution #businessforgood #saveourplanet #peoplenotmachines #socialenterprise #lovewelcomes

A post shared by Supporting Refugees. (@lovewelcomes) on

The company has been trying to seize legal custody of the name Banksy, with the artist advised to sell his own range of branded merchandise as a way of preventing this.

The description of Banksy’s new store says:

GDP is the homewares brand from Banksy and this is our first and only store. The showroom is for display purposes only and the doors will not open. All sales will be conducted online when the website opens soon.”

As well as the mats, the shop features a range of merchandise from Banksy’s new GDP product range including replicas of Stormzy’s Glastonbury vest, police riot helmet disco balls and smaller items. When the site shop opens, prices will start from £10 with the artist hoping this will provide affordable items for everyone. All items are handmade using existing or recycled materials where possible, and the shop will remain in situ for two weeks.

The above article by Melanie May first published on fundraising.co.uk in Oct, 2019.