Words by
Yu Mei

Yu Mei x The Wellington City Mission

Our recent 'Bags for All' campaign saw us partner with The Wellington City Mission to raise over $50,000 for them. Read all about this incredible project here.

By all objective measures, 2020 has been a horrendous year, and The Wellington City Mission’s work has never been more important. Over New Zealand’s first lockdown, there was a 400% increase in demand for their food parcels - just one of the myriad ways The Mission supports the community. They also provide housing, food parcels, budget advice and financial mentoring, a community lounge, and education - empowering ‘transformation of life’ for long term benefit, as opposed to only immediate relief.

This is why we decided to partner with The City Mission on the ‘Bags for All’ campaign. On Saturday 10 October, over 100 people turned up to The Mission’s Taranaki Street store for a special Yu Mei sale event, which raised $51,590 for the organisation. According to The Mission, every dollar donated becomes five dollars of impact for their clients, meaning that the Bags for All campaign provided over $250,000 value for Wellingtonians in need.

The idea for the event came about after lockdown 1.0 - as a team we were in a relatively fortunate position, but knew a lot of people weren’t so lucky. We considered making a one off donation to The Mission, but ultimately wanted to come up with a blueprint for a partnership that had more sustainable, long term potential.

The team getting a tour of The City Mission with Sharon, the Mission's Philanthropy Manager

This is where the collaborative approach to the campaign came in. We wanted to raise money through a sale, leveraging the Yu Mei brand to bring attention to The Mission’s stores (a major source of revenue for them). Over the past few months, we made 165 brand new bags to donate to The Mission. However, as a small business, we alone weren’t in a position to cover the entire cost. So we rallied fellow businesses of all sizes to sponsor the cost of the bags. This ensured that 100% of all proceeds could go directly to the commission, while also doubling the initial contribution made by each of the sponsors. Those included Westpac, Jeuneora, JMR & Co, Wall St Designs and Coffee Supreme, who not only provided a caffeine hit on the day, but also gave 100 bags of Supreme Blend coffee as a gift with purchase. Attendees could choose if they want to keep the coffee or gift it to The Mission, where it will go straight to their Community Lounge to be served to people there.

Team Yu Mei hearing about The Mission's work

In the lead up to the event, we met with Missioner Murray Edridge to get a closer hand look at what The Mission does to support people, so we could understand the tangible impact of our collaboration. We had a tour of the premises, including the foodbank where donated food is sorted for distribution. We visited their Community Lounge - a place of belonging where people can come to enjoy a free meal and share in the company of others. Murray also showed us a video of the architect’s flyover of the proposed new Whakamaru building, opening in 2022 - the ultimate goal of which is to foster community-building, and facilitate the community to care for itself and support each other.

A huge thank you to The Wellington City Mission, our wonderful sponsors, and everyone who took part in the event. It was a real privilege to work on this campaign, and we're so proud of the result. We look forward to many more similar partnerships in the future.

Read more about the Yu Mei Lounge fit out at The City Mission’s store here

Bags all ready to fly out the door

Read more about how we styled our Wellington City Mission campaign here.

Learn about how we fit out The City Mission store here.

A very on brand Youhan ready and eager to sell some bags