Audrey from France and Cara from the United States, met on an online professional women’s platform when they had both just moved to Sweden. When they decided to meet for a coffee, they noticed how much they have in common and immediately began creating a project together.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Cara was an international migration expert working for the U.N. and the Red Cross. However, her creative ideas led her on her social entrepreneurship journey. She founded a business connecting artisans living in remote refugee camps to fashion designers around the world. Cara believed in both economic and creative inclusion and that people didn’t want to be dependent on charity, but create their own income using their skills.
Audrey’s career was in the luxury fashion industry as a fabric and leather buyer. She developed an appreciation for quality-made products, while also witnessing first-hand the large-scale waste that went on behind the scenes. Her entrepreneurship journey began with her becoming a leather-craft artisan and led to collaborating with craftsmen across Africa.
Apart from being expats in Sweden and passionate about artisanal skills and sustainability, they both also share a certain outlook on life. They wanted to understand and co-create with their new environment, they saw opportunities in societal challenges.Their conversations eventually resulted in ColdBath—a start-up collecting unused Swedish wool, connecting Swedish grandmas with newly arrived women and co-creating a handknit woolen beanie.
In Sweden, 80% of all wool in the country is thrown away or burnt, due to a lack of industry. In 2020, Sweden’s National Board of Health & Welfare reported that 50% of the country’s eldery feel lonely. And while Sweden is known for having welcoming migration policies, once given residency, 4 out of 5 newly arrived women remain unemployed (for their first 4 years in Sweden). These were the challenges, or opportunities, that Cara and Audrey felt they could create positive change with.