From the source: Nick Pearce, HoMie
by Heather McIlvaine, Inside Retail
Nick Pearce is one third of the founding team behind HoMie, a Melbourne-based retail business that uses the profit it generates from selling a range of contemporary streetwear to help people experiencing homelessness.
The concept evolved from an anti-child-trafficking fundraising bike ride Pearce took from Vietnam to Cambodia in 2013, where he met fellow Aussie Marcus Crook.
After returning to Melbourne, the two were inspired to make a difference in their local community and landed on homelessness as a pervasive and complex issue.
Pearce and Crook initially started a Facebook page that chronicled the stories of people experiencing homelessness, but when they stumbled across a South African initiative aimed at providing a dignified shopping experience to people living rough, they realised they wanted to do more.
Pearce’s friend Rob Gillies joined their efforts, and together the three launched Australia’s first pop-up ‘Street Store’ in Federation Square in Melbourne.
Supporters donated brand new or good quality clothing, and local homelessness services were invited to bring their clients to the store, where they could shop for free, visit a barber and enjoy food and drink.
Since then, Pearce and his fellow co-founders have turned the fledgling concept into a permanent bricks-and-mortar store. They continue to invite people living rough to shop for free, and they offer a retail training program aimed at helping young people gain work experience.