An ordinary warehouse improving local business & local economy

Vancouver gift baskets - BC social enterprise

 

Our story begins on a Thursday morning at 8am. Sunlight and fresh air flow through the Starworks warehouse as pallets are received from the loading dock.  There is a calm busyness as each employee completes tasks at their work stations. Saul Good gift basket orders flow through. Projects for other local companies are completed simultaneously. It all seems quite ordinary, but there is much more to the story.

 

Starworks Packaging and Assembly is an innovative social enterprise that was started by the Developmental Disabilities Association 15 years ago. Starworks provides accessible jobs for adults with barriers to employment and scalable business solutions that help local companies to grow. This self-sustaining enterprise thrives, because they do great work. They do not receive any funding from the government. 

 

Creating Accessible Jobs 

When someone is hired at Starworks, they focus on abilities and determine what is needed for employees to succeed.  

“If someone is doing something backwards, we could take a day to teach them the ‘right’ way…or simply invert their workstation. Sue (one of the core staff members) knows how to build work stations that accommodate each individual’s skill set.” explains Kirsti Inglis, the Assistant Director of Employment Services at the Developmental Disabilities Association.

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The small talk and smell of coffee bounce around with the buzz of the work day. As we chat with Sue, she tells us about a Starworks employee named Marie (above), who is publishing a kids book. 

 

The profound qualities of this enterprise live within the ordinary. It isn’t a black tie fundraising gala. It is just hardworking folks getting the job done. 

 

It is these everyday people doing everyday jobs that build our economy. When we make jobs more accessible, we are employing a greater percentage of our local citizens. This keeps money circulating in our local economy and creates benefits for all of us.

gift baskets - social enterprise

 

Everyone deserves the opportunity to work hard, get paid properly, and feel satisfied at the end of the day.

 

Will (assembling a Saul Good gift above) is one of many awesome Starworks employees. He is one of the hardest working people we have ever met. On an average day, you will see him in shipping and receiving, bustling around and assembling some of our gift baskets. We appreciate his eye for detail, his commitment to excellence and his awesome attitude.

 

“He is one of the kindest people you will ever meet” said Sue.

Social enterprises like Starworks strengthen local business

When Saul Good Gift Co. began to grow, we were really excited to work with Starworks. It had been a dream since Saul first started this business in 2006. We appreciate the social impact that Starworks creates as our fulfillment partner. This partnership has proven to be a great fit for us as we grow our business.

 

The business model of Starworks is similar to a co-working space, because you only pay for what you need. For Saul Good Gift Co., we’re very busy during the Christmas season and this allows us to increase our capacity when required.

“We provide business solutions for companies with episodic and repetitive work. The work we do allows businesses to focus on their core competencies. An example of this is putting labels on ice cream jars for Earnest Ice Cream (below). We also have the ability to scale up for busy seasons like when we assemble Christmas gift baskets for Saul Good Gift Co.” said Kirsti

Earnest Ice Cream

Earnest Ice Cream, Saul Good Gift Co. and Starworks are all members of LOCO BC. This non-profit local business alliance is working to strengthen communities, grow the local economy and build strong, sustainable businesses. LOCO is helping to increase local purchasing in alliance with consumers, businesses, institutions and government. 

 

Our partnership with Starworks has strengthened Saul Good Gift Co. by challenging us to increase standardization. When we design gift baskets, we build step by step guides with images.

BC Social Enterprise - gift baskets

This standardized model builds quality into the assembly process while increasing accessibility for a variety of assembly workers at Starworks. By improving the clarity of our workflow, we are improving the efficiency of our entire business. This allows us to devote time and energy towards our mission to radiate happiness.