A niggling notion of helplessness when passing Londoners living on the streets was the spark beneath Charlotte Cramer’s latest project.
The east London entrepreneur admitted feeling like a “hypocrite” when she talked of sharing the sorrow of the homeless, yet taking no action.
Alongside business partner Scarlett Montanaro, the 24-year-old will soon launch Crack + Cider , a store where shoppers can buy items for London’s rough sleepers, under the One Good Deed Today umbrella.
Charlotte said: “Living in London you pass so many people who ask for money every day. Every time I walked past them I felt empathy and thought about how awful their situation is – and I still didn’t do anything to help.
“My friends said exactly the same - why do we say we care so much but we are not doing anything?
“I didn’t contribute to charity and I felt I was being a hypocrite by not doing anything to help.”
Crack + Cider will open for a month on Wednesday, November 4, at 73 Kingsland Road while the online outlet has already launched.
The name comes from a rough sleeper who told her: “People don’t give me money because they just think I’ll spend it on crack and cider.”
She said it was a “world first” concept store to remove the worry of direct cash donations to the homeless.
Orders are flooding in for the five chosen products, selected after discussion with representatives from charity Shelter.
These include an umbrella, a Thinsulate hat, scarf and gloves, fleece jumper, 40L backpack and military-grade waterproof jacket.
“People like buying something physical and they know what their money is being spent on,” said Charlotte. “We picked things that weren’t going to be sold on the streets.
“By working with distributors we will be making sure the products get into the hands of the people who need them most.”