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PR: Alternative investment offer to grow alternative to consumerism

Rebecca, March 10, 2022

After launching its seventh London high street location, Library of Things is inviting diverse investors to participate in their innovative business model through a crowdfunding campaign with Ethex.

For release 9am, 2nd March 2022

LONDON, 2nd March 2022.

After launching its seventh London high street location, Library of Things is inviting diverse investors to participate in their innovative business model through a crowdfunding campaign with Ethex.

The award-winning, women-led social enterprise Library of Things helps people save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out household items like drills, sound systems and sewing machines from local spaces like libraries. They already have 5,000 Londoners borrowing from a catalogue of about 50 household items, collectively saving 50 tonnes of waste from landfill since the service began.

Today they launch their crowdfunding campaign to raise a minimum of £300,000 to expand from seven to over 50 neighbourhoods across the country, to help reduce waste and emissions, save people money, and bring fresh energy to high streets.

Communities want hopeful alternatives to consumerism

Hundreds of UK councils and community groups have asked to work with Library of Things in their neighbourhoods, motivated to tackle the challenges of:

• the waste and climate crises – the UK is the second biggest contributor to electrical waste in the world

• the cost of living crisis – Library of Things makes about 50 household items available at 5% of the price of buying them new

• declining high streets – with 1 in 7 shops now empty, many councils and communities are looking for innovative solutions

Co-founder Rebecca Trevalyan said,

“Our high streets need fresh ideas, and communities and councils are serious about coming together around hopeful climate and waste solutions – so now’s the time to make this happen in every neighbourhood that wants it!”

Bex Trevalyan, Co-founder, Library of Things.

A fresh idea for struggling high streets

The seventh Library of Things location has just launched near Bromley high street in South East London. It’s housed within a new ‘Community Hub’, established by community network and charity Greener and Cleaner. Now local people can affordably rent from a collection of 40 high quality items like Bosch drills, Kärcher carpet cleaners and STIHL strimmers.

Clare Searle from Greener & Cleaner, said, “We started life as a Facebook group in 2019 to help ordinary people create a more sustainable Bromley. Library of Things is a practical example of exactly that – you can pop to your high street and borrow an item, rather than ordering stuff from Amazon that breaks 6 months later. Bromley Library of Things is a great addition to our Community Hub, where we will be hosting events, workshops, and repair cafes to help people reuse, repurpose, repair and borrow before buying."

“Bromley Library of Things is a great addition to our Community Hub, where we will be hosting events, workshops, and repair cafes to help people reuse, repurpose, repair and borrow before buying."

Clare Searle, Cleaner & Greener, Library of Things partner.

The service is currently housed within 6 other libraries, community venues and reuse shops across the capital, with more underway soon – including one next to IKEA in a Hammersmith shopping centre.

Library of Things’ manufacturer partners like Bosch, Kärcher and STIHL have provided the products at low or no cost, in exchange for insights into product usage and maintenance, and a new route to market.

A local solution to the climate and cost of living crises

Bromley Council has funded the launch of Bromley Library of Things through its Carbon Offset Fund.

Councillor William Harmer, Chairman of Bromley’s Environment Committee said, “There is real potential that this service changes the way that household items are used, bringing about more efficient use and less waste and associated emissions, which is why we are pleased to support this initiative, including with funding in this start-up period.”

Nine other London councils have also funded the enterprise to help tackle waste and emissions, and the rising cost of living.

The silent revolution: A better way of doing business

The company aims to generate a ‘fair return’ for investors, but investing in Library of Things is different from a traditional corporate company. Investors join Library of Things’ directors and ‘guardian shareholder’ in promoting the company’s purpose as its primary objective, rather than profit. They’re invited to participate in workshops with other stakeholders to inform strategic decisions.

Trudie Fell, Library of Things’ peer and co-founder of BelleVie social care platform, said: “The silent revolution is the way they’re doing business, not just what [they] do as a service.”

Co-founder Emma Shaw said, “We saw that the traditional start-up investment model was broken – promising growth at all costs and maximising returns to shareholders. But Library of Things had to be accountable to its wider community. We asked ourselves, ‘How do we build trust between our users, partners, team, investors and even the planet – and create dialogue to guide our direction of travel?’ What’s followed has been an experiment in democratic governance – and it’s working! We’re excited to see more and more of our peers start to follow suit.”

Companies like Cafe Direct and Ecover also use elements of this ‘steward-ownership’ model.

“The silent revolution is the way they’re doing business, not just what [they] do as a service.”

Trudie Fell, Cofounder of Bellevie social care platform, Library of Things' peer.

Please note that investing in the offers available on the Ethex platform puts your capital at risk and returns are not guaranteed. Read the full risk warning on https://www.ethex.org.uk/risk before deciding to invest.

Anyone interested in investing for social good by supporting Library of Things is encouraged to sign up to the positive investing platform https://www.ethex.org.uk/invest/library-of-things

Editors’ notes

Photo call

Journalists are invited to come to:

  • the official launch event for Bromley Library of Things on Friday 11th March – for interviews/ photos with users, partners & co-founders. Contact charlotte@libraryofthings.co.uk for details
  • the crowdfund campaign office at Hackney Wick Library of Things – for interviews and photos with users, partners & co-founders. Contact rebecca@libraryofthings.co.uk to share your availability

Videos & photos

Crowdfund video: https://vimeo.com/678074715

Photos & video files: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ulY7ScQHPx8GlzDo38VVuoLO5kT1p9Hh?usp=sharing

This recent BBC London News feature shows Library of Things in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO_G7Jfwvnw

Sources:

The UK is the second biggest contributor to electrical waste worldwide – https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/uk-the-second-largest-producer-of-weee/

1 in 7 shops are now empty: https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2021/07/empty-shops-continues-rise-brc-ldc-vacancy-rate-store-monitor/