Granny's Finest

Granny's Finest

Rotterdam, NetherlandsRotterdam, Netherlands
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Granny’s Finest is a fashion label benefiting society. It offers senior citizens social interaction and involvement in a social enterprise. Grannies gather once per week and work together with young designers creating desirable craftmanship. Pride, collaboration and participation are key elements.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Out of 2.6 Million 65+’ers in the Netherlands, one million struggles with loneliness and due to the aging population more this is a growing issue. Not only in the Netherlands but also abroad. The effects of loneliness on health are as large as smoking or not having good food. Due to declining budgets less welfare and social activities can be organized and social isolation is a large tread.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The elderly in Holland used to make the clothes for the family themselves by hand. For most of them it still is a hobby and they do it many hours a week although most clothing nowadays comes from abroad. Granny's Finest invites the elderly that like to do knitting and other sorts of craftsmanship to collaborate with designers in order to make fashionable knitwear made nearby. By doing so loneliness is prevented, social cohesion is created and skills are passed on between generations. By giving participants a purpose and the feeling of being of huge value they are a proud part of Granny's Finest, since without grannies the brand does not exists. Every item gets a name tag and thank you postcards from all over the world are coming back!
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

By offering participants a weekly activity where people with the same interest come together with designers to work on a high quality product that is very desirable social cohesion is created. During this weekly meeting it is not about production but about having a good time. They take their work with them and in their own time they continue with the projects. Some participants literally ask for more work if they are worried that they do not have enough for a week. As a reward several teambuiling activities are organized. New friendships started. Outside the clubs friendships are created based on being part of one of the clubs. More and more nursing houses contact us to ask if we can offer our concept within their activity program.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several other organizations focus on the elderly but none of them does so in the way Granny's Finest does. The difference is the focus on quality, collaboration of young creative talent with the older generation and making it look nice. These aspects create a unique dynamic atmosphere where everybody can contribute in a way where he or she is good at and where age or background is irrelevant.
About You
Granny's Finest
About You
First Name


Last Name

Van Hengel

About Your Project
Organization Name

Granny's Finest

Organization Country

, Rotterdam

Country where this project is creating social impact

, ZH, Rotterdam

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

When I visited my grandfather in a nursing home I met a lady who was knitting. Being fascinated by this I asked her what she was making and for who she did it. A scarve of a blanket for the cat. No idea really. She told me that it was het way of getting true the days. My own grandma was with me and I asked my grandma about her making baby clothes for me when I was a kid and how she still had al the gear somewhere. That same day my grandma and I drove to the wool store and I asked her to make a scarve for me. After a couple of weeks she proudly gave me the first Granny's Finest scarf. My good friend Jip was looking for a topic for his thesis and he took it as starting point for his research of the concept. He graduated perfectly!

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our main audience is 55 years old and living on their own. This is the group that has the largest risk of becoming lonely and when the right network is created this can be prevented and signaling of social or health issues can be done in an early stage. Due to the aging population this group grows rapidly and is going to have a large impact on our healthcare system. By preventing people to need healthcare in an early stage lots of energy and money can be saved by creating social cohesion.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Due to the unique way of combining multiple generations we have been able to grow raher quickly from one group in 2011 to 9 to date with 150+ participants and about 40 volunteers. Due to the huge media coverage on both national and regional tv and newspapers the awareness of the issue of loneliness is given visibility in a fun and nice way. In addition to that people can actively contribute by purchasing one of the very nice high quality products and sending a postcard to the granny who made it with love and devotion. Our social concept store in the center of Rotterdam is not only a shop but also a place where once a week grannies come together and work and chat for a few hours. The products made are desirable and proudly sold in the more exclusive stores in Holland. The concept of locally made and sold is going to be applies in the future in the larger cities of Holland and abroad.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

By scaling up to other regions more people can be involved in the process of designing and creating new products. In addition to this other sorts of products will be made. In addition to fashion also interior design and kids clothing will be made. We have a large group of people surrounding us with good knowledge on the fields where we lack this. In addition to this we are always trying to collaborate with interesting companies with similar goals and ambitions to join forces and help each other.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

By creating desirable products as end result Granny's Finest is expected to be sustainable and not dependent on subsidies in the next few years. By creating an interesting offer to nursing houses they contribute by outsourcing part of their activity program to us and in return they facilitate the activity with volunteers, a room and off course coffee and tea.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

- Board member of the strategic managament master study club organizing several activities for the fellow students
- Having my own ICT company realizing several websites and related projects for very diverse companies
- Biked alp d'huez last year for KWF cancer foundation and raised 15000 with a team
- Worked for Rabo Rembrandt Mergers and Acquisitions helping entrepreneurs to purchase or sell other companies