Each week on Broadsheet: Around Town, we interview someone making an impact in Australia. This week, our guest is someone who is literally changing people’s lives for the better. Rob Caslick is the founder of social enterprise Two Good Co, a Sydney company that employs women at risk of homelessness, or with experience of domestic violence, illness or drug addiction.

Order team lunches from Two Good, and a women’s shelter will receive a similar meal. The same goes for its beauty products and homewares – when you buy a shampoo and conditioner, someone in need receives one too. The company has worked with some of the country’s most celebrated chefs, including Kylie Kwong and Neil Perry. This year also saw the launch of a brand new collaboration, a blanket made in collaboration with premium label Jac & Jack.

Casslick joined us to chat about how the idea for the company was born in a soup kitchen in Kings Cross, how it’s evolved over the years, and his plans for the future – including a regional farm in Australia.

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On being inspired by a King’s Cross soup kitchen

I was an engineer working in a construction industry and my Wednesday night was [working in] a soup kitchen…

It was just a magical time, where we would go there and share a meal. And the concept behind the soup kitchen wasn’t to feed hundreds of people, it was really to create this space of dignity and respect. The whole idea was, when you serve food that you’d eat yourself, you in fact share a meal, not serve a meal.

And so we [thought], let’s also invite volunteers to sit down and have the food and to learn more about each other. The idea being the more that you learn about someone, the less you can judge. It was just a really beautiful space. Being busy as an engineer, it was my happy place.

On the impact of Two Good Co’s employment program

The employment pathway is why I quit my engineering job… All we are doing is believing in that person until they believe in themselves again.

It's the incredible women that we work with who change their own course. So the secret sauce for us is, how do we create a safe space and really use our business as a pathway for someone to come in, learn to love themselves again, learn to believe in themselves again. And once that happens, it’s magic.

On the importance of making care products beautiful

When people think about domestic violence, they rarely think about what was missing in that relationship; the love, the affection, the kindness, and the care. Everything that we were doing was about creating a meal specifically for that person, packaged beautifully. It really sent a message to say that you’re worthy of love and respect…

So, we had these really beautiful, high-end toiletry sets that you’d buy one, and one would get donated to a women’s shelter. Now that’s evolved into ‘what are some of the needs of the women’s shelters?’ How do we meet that need through collaborating with a great designer in order to donate beautiful things? And hence, our friends at Jac & Jack have designed an amazing blanket that we will be donating over the winter period.

Listen to Broadsheet: Around Town here.