Former Big Issue salesman now runs multi-million pound fashion business

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A former Big Issue salesman who now runs his own multi-million pound sustainable fashion business spoke about how his time selling the magazine helped him start his business.

Philip Waltham sold the magazine for three years to Clerkenwell and Hampstead in London after running away from his Hull home as a teenager to escape his drug addiction.

The 44-year-old, whose Bulk Vintage Wholesale company now generates over £ 9million a year, said: ‘The Big Issue has helped me put money in my back pocket and feed myself. .

“They taught me to respect myself. They taught me how to budget my money and how important a roof is.

“I had to have the money to buy big stuff so I could sell big stuff and that taught me how to budget.

“What saved my life was selling second-hand clothes and I wouldn’t be here without The Big Issue.”

After his three years as a Big Issue seller, Philip opened a market stall in Camden, London, and now oversees two street stores in Newcastle and York.

The Vintage Store will open two more branches, in Liverpool and Manchester.

Philip added: “We are fighting fast fashion. We save clothes from landfills, we go to big factories and take clothes. Last year we saved around 600 tonnes of clothing and then reused it for resale.

Big Issue Founder Lord John Bird said, “Our vendors sell The Big Issue to earn legitimate income that not only provides them with money to get back on their feet, but also helps them develop key skills. the life and business they need to thrive.

“They are then supported by our frontline teams, who are always available to help, whether it’s accessing key services like healthcare or just being there to give advice in case of need.

“Philip’s story is brilliantly inspiring and a great example of the transformative effect the Big Issue can have on people’s lives. “

The magazine is sold by the homeless, the long-term unemployed, and those who need cash to avoid debt, Big Issue says.

Sellers receive five free magazines which are then sold to the public for £ 3, with new copies purchased for £ 1.50.

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